Last week, Henry H. Wells Middle School presented CoveCare Center with a donation raised at the annual Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser as well artwork created by the eighth-grade Makerspace class.
CoveCare Center provides mental health, substance use, and supportive services for individuals throughout the Lower Hudson Valley. Wells has been a big supporter of the organization for the last few years.
“Jean Marie Mullen initiated our partnership with CoveCare several years ago after one of our teachers passed away unexpectedly,” said Wells principal John Clark. “Over the years, we have donated several thousand dollars to CoveCare so they can continue the work they do, helping students and families who are in need. In addition, we have contributed artwork by our art Makerspace class, which Irene Othmer teaches.”
This year, Othmer’s students Kayla Edwards and Kari Smith presented CoveCare CEO Eric Toth with three paintings.
“The eighth-grade Makerspace wanted to donate and present these paintings to CoveCare Center hoping to inspire, educate, and most of all raise awareness about issues that are part of your mission,” said Othmer.
The paintings centered around important themes like depression, loneliness, and acceptance.
“So many kids today deal with mental illness,” Smith said. “This is to give them a sense of hope.”
Clark pointed out that the paintings also help to create a welcoming space for families who utilize CoveCare’s services.
“Their art is motivated by a sense of civic responsibility,” Clark said. “We value our relationship with CoveCare and we feel fortunate to have them as a partner in supporting our students and families.”
After the art was presented, Mullen, a Wells math teacher who coordinates the event each year, gave Toth a check for more than $2,400.
Assistant principal Christian Hernandez praised Mullen for her hard work. “It’s a tremendous amount of work organizing the raffle, coordinating the dinner, and pulling in our local community,” Hernandez said. “It’s a great night.”
Toth, who attended the Spaghetti Dinner, echoed Hernandez’s sentiments.
“It was a well-organized and fun event and we love seeing all of the families coming back each year,” Toth said. “The continued support of Wells makes a big difference for us. We want to thank the artists for their time and talent — the artwork will be enjoyed by all who visit CoveCare Center.”
Mullen is quick to jump out of the spotlight and spread the praise around.
“I seem to be good at organizing stuff, but everybody pitches in,” she said. “One group always does salad. The social studies teachers always do the brownies and the dessert area. We always have our bread cutter and people who manage drinks. Everyone always does their part.”
It’s clear that Mullen thoroughly enjoys the event and giving back to the community.
“The Spaghetti Dinner started about eight years ago when Barbara Gillette passed away,” she said. “We started a fund in her name and once it was financially secure, we reached out to CoveCare and started donating the profits to them. It seemed to be a perfect place to donate to and to continue the tradition of the Spaghetti Dinner in honor of Barbara.”
Mullen explained that the night of the Spaghetti Dinner is like a big family affair. The Pops Concert is also that night and there is an auction to raise money for the eighth-grade Washington, D.C. trip, and a book fair where teachers buy books to donate to CoveCare.
“We have forged a relationship in so many different ways from the start of what this was to where it is now,” Mullen said. “Barbara would be absolutely thrilled.”