Folsom, PA – Pride, Compassion, Courage, Honor, Caring, Friendship, Patience and Effort are just a few of the life skills that students in the Ridley School District learn about during the course of the school year.
7 years ago, Jennifer Gavin, a Phys. Ed. teacher at Amosland Elementary in Morton, PA approached Principal John Theodosiades about creating an awareness campaign infusing the life skills that Ridley students were learning about in the classroom with something relevant, tangible and local such as the HEADstrong Foundation™. Her vision was to inspire and empower young students through the life of former Amosland Elementary student and HEADstrong founder Nicholas Colleluori. As someone who once sat in the same seats of her students, she believed that students would easily identify with Nick and be motivated to help the effort he began in wake of his terminal diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Gavin quickly gained the support of the administration and faculty, many whom taught Colleluori.
Since its inception the Ridley Awareness Month has been an overwhelming success. Now in its 7th year, the campaign has gained support from the six other elementary schools, middle and high school becoming a district wide effort during the month of April. This year, Gavin has taken yet another step forward in advancing the awareness campaign by soliciting the assistance of national recording artist Jesse Ruben. After hearing Rubens song, “We Can”, at the start of the year Gavin believed the powerful and inspirational song was the perfect soundtrack for HEADstrong Awareness Month.
“The song has an inspiring I Can/You Can/We Can message that has been used throughout the year at Amosland. Students have listened to the song throughout the year and even performed a lip dub to it. Students have worked on connecting an “I Can” attitude to what they do in school and beyond.” says Jen Gavin, HEADstrong Awareness Month Organizer
On Friday, April 25th, Jesse Ruben will visit Amosland Elementary School to meet the students and participate in the Amosland Awareness Walk to honor Nicholas Colleluori and the HEADstrong Foundation. That evening Ruben will put on a concert at Ridley High School, located at 901 Morton Avenue, Folsom, PA at 7:00PM (doors open at 6:15). There is limited seating for this special event and tickets are being sold in advance at Amosland Elementary School and then other schools in the district.
“It is somewhat ironic that Jesse Ruben recently performed “We Can” at the HEADstrong Foundation’s 4th Annual Lime Light Gala, because it is such an appropriate song with so many incredible relatable messages in the lyrics. The overwhelming success of HEADstrong Awareness Month and the district-wide walks to support the cause continues to inspire us as organizations as we realize that “We Can” make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancers. We take great pride in seeing the accomplishments and growth of the HEADstrong Foundation and know that the roots of the organization are deep within our community. So many students wear HEADstrong gear and do it with such pride because they have a true connection of Nick and they understand what HEADstrong is doing not only in the community but for families around the country. Our students have embraced the cause and like Nick have been inspired to make a difference. Our goal is to continue to grow the campaign with increased visibility, media support and to raise as much money as possible for the cause.” said Gavin
“On behalf of the HEADstrong Foundation, the Colleluori family and those affected by blood cancers we wish to extend our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Ridley School District and specifically Amosland Elementary for their continued commitment to advancing our mission, honoring our Nick and using his life to inspire children at such an impressionable age. The awareness campaign embodies all that our Nick stood for. He had always envisioned teaching and coaching in the Ridley School District and it means the world to us to know that his life and what he stood for is being embraced by others. While he is not here to see it, we take great comfort in knowing that his ideals and vision is being supported by students. We are truly thankful to the administrators, teachers, students and families of the Ridley School District for embracing our cause, supporting our efforts and always remembering our Nick. We also wish to thank Jesse Ruben for his commitment to helping us advance our mission. Your efforts will serve as the example for future HEADstrong educational programs and student campaigns throughout the country.” Cheryl Colleluori, HEADstrong President and Nick’s Mom