Tonawanda News


October 25, 2012

KEPPELER: From volunteerism to higher education, heed the good deeds today's kids do.


No strings attached, no purchase necessary, no thanks needed (although always appreciated). Just a little bit of help for people who need it.

Zachary El-Sharis, a senior at Tonawanda High School, returned my call to chat for a few minutes about the Rake-A-Thon. 

“It’s just to help the City of Tonawanda,” he said, “to help the seniors rake their yards and backyards as the case may be. We had a good turnout last year ... we just want to help the seniors in the community.”

This is the second year El-Sharis has been involved in the event, which he helped organize in 2011 for the school’s leadership club. 

“It’s been going on a few years,” teacher Robin D’Amato said of the Rake-A-Thon, which was first a function of the Student Council. “This year due to budget cuts, our leadership club was lost.

“He said, ‘I still want to do that.’ I said that maybe we can do it as a class activity.”

Last year, the group of students raked at about 15 houses around the city — then wound up going out again after a number of last-minute calls came through. D’Amato asks that those requesting assistance with raking call by 3 p.m. Nov. 2 so that the group can do its best to fit them in.

In return, they get not only another activity to list for volunteerism in their college-prep plans — which is how the group is linking the event to its curriculum — but the gratitude of those they’re helped.

“They gave us cookies, they brought us out sodas, one man tried to give us money,” D’Amato said of last year’s Rake-A-Thon. “One little old lady, she came out with a plate of hot chocolate chip cookies. It was like a Norman Rockwell painting.”

Yes, kids these days ... they’re no good at all.



FOR HELP The Rake-A-Thon will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 3. Residents interested in getting help raking their yards can call 694-7660, ext. 2304, and leave a message with their name, phone number and address.


Jill Keppeler is a writer for the Tonawanda News. She can be reached at

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