Vaianella Volunteers is a club that students from our classroom can sign up for. Every Wednesday, student volunteers from our class stay after school for about 40 minutes to make different creations. You make all kinds of crafts: for example, snow ornaments, snow measuring sticks, duct-tape notebooks with a pencil holder, and household items. Mrs. Linda Vaianella and the students volunteer their time and all of the crafts material is donated by our community members.

Vaianella Volunteers donates every penny of the money we get to an organization, Friends of Karen (friendsofkaren.org). What began in 1978 with one caring friend, Sheila Petersen, helping one child, Karen MacInnes, and her family, has grown significantly and now nearly 14,000 lives have been touched. Friends of Karen continues Sheila’s legacy every day, providing vital, practical and comprehensive support at no cost to families in the tristate area who are caring for a child with cancer or another life-threatening illness.

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Friends of Karen helped Mrs. Vaianella’s family when her daughter Jessica was battling cancer. We sell the items to the school store on Friday mornings and we also sell them in December at our school’s holiday craft fair.

Friends of Karen supports all ill children and families. For example, they help by giving presents to families and taking care of them. Friends of Karen gave Mrs. Vaianella’s daughter and son school supplies because they were about to start school. Vaianella Volunteers is a great club for a great cause, but most importantly it honors the memory of Jessica Vaianella.

Linda Vaianella’s fifth-grade class, Boyle Road Elementary School, Port Jefferson Station