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Volunteers make snowflakes for Sandy Hook students

Valley Stream Mom blogger Kimberly Thomas, right, chats

Valley Stream Mom blogger Kimberly Thomas, right, chats with guests while making paper snowflakes during the Snowflakes for Sandy event at Sip This coffeehouse in Valley Stream. Thomas organized the event creating crafts for children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. (Dec. 30, 2012) (Credit: Fran Berkman)

As customers of a hip Valley Stream coffeehouse sipped hot beverages and nibbled on baked goods Sunday afternoon, a pile of snowflakes accumulated on a table near the back of the building.

The snowflakes were paper, however, not precipitation. Taking part in a larger international effort called “Snowflakes for Sandy,” about 50 parents and children used scissors to carve coffee filters into small tokens of compassion.

The snowflakes will be sent to Connecticut to decorate the Chalk Hill School in Monroe, where students of the Sandy Hook Elementary School will be relocated starting in January.

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Kimberly Thomas, creator of the Valley Stream Mom website, organized the Valley Stream crafting event at Sip This coffeehouse.

“Being that my daughter is the same age and in the same grade as all those children who were killed, it deeply affected me,” Thomas said. “I wanted to do something as a community to help those children.”

On the day of the event, Thomas received assistance from another local group, the Sparkle Empowerment Program for Girls.

“That tragedy was terrible, so we’re just trying to cheer them up,” said volunteer Nicole Carter, 13, of Valley Stream and member of Sparkle.

Many in attendance, including Valley Stream resident Tamara DeSuze, learned about the program through Thomas’ blog, which she updates frequently with community events for young children and their families. DeSuze took time out of her Sunday to make snowflakes with her two young daughters.

“After the tragedy at Sandy Hook we figured we would do whatever little bit we could to help make things easier for the kids,” she said.

As for the coffeehouse, Sip This often serves as the location for Thomas’ community events. Co-owners Stephanie Pontillo, 26, and David Sabatino, 27, opened Sip This in August 2011. In addition to hosting music, poetry, comedy and trivia nights, the store also holds regular meetings of a community-focused group called “Envision Valley Stream.”

“Whatever’s going on, we like to get involved with,” Pontillo said. “We want anybody to get involved who wouldn’t normally be involved with the community.”

The small pile of snowflakes grew into a large pile by 4 p.m. While the ultimate goal of the event was to help console the grieving Connecticut community, it seemed the crafting also served to bring members of the Valley Stream community closer together. As she provided supplies and advice to crafters, Joy Pressley, 12, a volunteer from Sparkle was able to sum up the goal of the afternoon.

“It’s about coming together and having a group friendship between all of us.”

Tags: Valley Stream

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