In November of this year, the bright eyed, excited students of Tamarac Elementary School in Holtsville started recycling water bottles to raise money for Saddle Rock Ranch. With a recycling bin in every classroom, the students quickly learned how a small amount can grow into a lump sum to aid a program or group of people in need.
"The students couldn't believe how something so small turned into something so big," said Marge Goldin, the social worker for Tamarac and the woman behind the water bottle recycling program. Goldin explained that it took some convincing to show the students how a five-cent deposit can grow by reminding how many students are in class and how much money would be made if everyone had one bottle for everyday of the week for a five day school week, every month.
The program was founded on the good values instilled from the book, "Have You Filled a Bucket Today" by Carol McCloud. McCloud teaches the bucket filling program, a self-esteem program designed to promote friendliness. A student can "fill someone's bucket" by saying something nice to them such as a complement.
The moral values from the book translated into several charity programs such as the water bottles. Every classroom, including the faculty lounge, has a blue bucket or box for recycling, in which the students sort out the bottles. There were bottles being brought from home and PTA moms even dropped off bags of bottles. Goldin herself then takes the bottles back to their respective recycling post; several manufactures will only take back their own bottle like Pathmark brand or Stop and Shop brand water bottles.
"I had a special interest in making sure the money was raised," said Goldin on returning the bottles on her own.
The program is not limited to water bottles. Any bottle with a five-cent deposit marker is fair game. With nearly 664 students in the building, Tamarac was able to raise $460 to purchase four bit-less bridles for the horses at Saddle Rock Ranch in Middle Island, which allows for proper steering of the horse without the metal bar in the horses mouth.
Several students participate in the therapeutic riding program at Saddle Rock. Tamarac Elementary School has donated metal nameplates with the school's name on them for the bit-less bridles. The is currently one bit-less bridle on display in the front entrance of Tamarac and the other three are in use at Saddle Rock.
Tamarac has also spread its charitable notions to a program called the Kids Care Club, run by Gina Mordente. The Kids Care Club ran a coat drive, collected magazines, cards and letters for the soldiers and raised money to buy flowers for the students to give for Mothers Day. The Kids Club is meant to promote good behavior, preparedness and effort. Tamarac plans on recycling bottles next year and hoes to raise even more money with a September start.