Teaching kids the importance of giving back during difficult times is one of the goals of a group of parents from Saint Patrick Catholic Academy’s home school association.
In the aftermath of the deaths of NYPD Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, parents decided to raise money for the families of the fallen officers by selling blue ribbon lights for residents to hang outside their homes or businesses.
“It began with just a few parents from Saint Pat’s that came up with this idea,” said one of the organizers, Shannon Ryan. “We wanted to do something to show our support for police officers in the Bay Ridge neighborhood so we came up with the idea of making blue ribbon lights.”
The group made the ribbons in their spare time at the school’s auditorium or home, charging $20 per ribbon, with the proceeds are going to the Stephen Siller Tunnels to Towers Foundation to help pay the mortgages of officers’ families.
The ribbons have been displayed all over the five boroughs, to the surprise of the parents. “We also took one of the lights to the 68th Precinct and they were so touched and emotional and they appreciated their support so much,” Ryan said
By early January, over $4,000 had been raised. “We’ve been completely overwhelmed,” Ryan said.
In addition to raising money, the project also served as a way for the children to learn about what had happened and the significance of giving back.
“We went to the kids because they have been asking questions about what’s going on. It was all over the news and they wanted to know what was happening,” Ryan said. “We wanted to show a positive side to the children to teach them how we can support the Police Department and give to a charity, and teach them the lesson that it’s important to give back and not forget the people who keep us safe.”