Students donate to Harmony House

SHADYSIDE – The home economics class at Shadyside High School made items that were donated to the Harmony House.

Thirty-five students had worked since the students came back from Christmas break. The items that the three classes made were to be donated to the victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting. However, the students then learned that the school and families are asking that no more donations be sent to them due to the overwhelming response they have received. Therefore, the students decided to make their donation to the Harmony House in honor of those killed in Sandy Hook.

“We think it’s wonderful that we are a part of them honoring the victims of Newtown,” said Leslie Vassilaros, director of Harmony House. “These are special because it’s coming from kids to kids, and we hope that they also become aware that child abuse does exist, and if these kids are being abused, then we hope they could step forward.”

Vassilaros came to the school on Tuesday, Jan. 15 to talk to the students and thank them for their hard work and generosity.

This is the second year that the home economic students of Shadyside have donated homemade items to Harmony House. This year the students donated 48 pieces – 12 blankets, 28 pillows and eight stuffed animals.

While the students debated on which of their items would go first, Lee Ann Turbanic, the home economics teacher, knew that the students got the idea behind the project.

“I knew that they got the idea that you go out of yourself to do something for somebody else less fortunate,” said Turbanic.

The Harmony House, which interviews children that are possibly being abused, gives a comfort item to children after the interview. These blankets, pillows and stuffed animals can be given to the child after an interview.

“After the interviews, we like to give these kids a comfort item,” said Vassilaros. “After the interview is over, we let the child pick out a comfort item. It’s something that gives them comfort after talking about the hard things, so we really appreciate it and are really grateful that you are doing this.”

Harmony House interviews children from the ages of two and a half to 18 years old. All of the blankets and pillows are children and adult size.

Last year, the students donated 40 to 60 pieces to Harmony House.

“The whole community of Shadyside High School was involved in this year’s project,” said Turbanic, who asked the entire school for a monetary donation for materials. “We could not have done it without them.”