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Blue Jeans For Babies Raises $140K

Syosset High School’s community service-based Interact Club has raised more than $140,000 over the past decade for Gift of Life International, a foundation that provides life-saving heart surgeries to children with congenital heart defects.

“It is undoubtedly the most special and most meaningful responsibility that I can pour my passion and creativity into for a phenomenal cause,” co-president Sylvie Durlacher said.

With more than 300 members, the club—led by Durlacher and fellow presidents Sydni Grossman and Ashley Keltz—the club asked for donations in return for a bracelet and the right for students and faculty alike to wear jeans prior to the Thanksgiving break.

“It is amazing how much we as a community can accomplish when we work together towards a common goal,” Grossman said. The money raised is directly used for surgeries or to help build hospitals to provide these surgeries in other countries.

On Nov. 27, the club, under the supervision of Carisa Steinberg and Debbi Hunter, unveiled its Gift of Life International Wall of Honor, featuring the pictures of children the organization has helped.

Steinberg, the club’s advisor for the past 13 years, is proud.

“It is an encapsulation of my career,” she said.

Recipients of the heart surgeries were as young as less than one year old to as old as 16.  

“The wall of honor and the hanging of these plaques will serve as a constant motivator and inspiration to the Syosset community,” said Keltz.

Grossman was able to see the results of their hard work two years ago, when she met one of the recipients and witnessed the dramatic change from before to after the surgery.

To donate to The Gift of Life International and help the Interact Club reach its goal of $5,000 for its current fundraising efforts, you can send check made payable to “Student Activity Fund”— in the memo write “Interact”— to Syosset High School, 70 South Woods Rd., Syosset, NY 11791 c/o The Interact Club.