By Leda Arakelian, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury – What began as a grandmother's passion for sewing cute outfits for her granddaughter ended with another successful fundraiser for the Integrated Preschool Program of the Shrewsbury Public Schools sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO).
Earlier this year, children and their families gathered at the Floral Street School cafeteria for an annual ice cream social, an event that has become a longstanding tradition for the families of the preschools at 15 Parker Road and 2 Wesleyan Terrace, and has been growing in popularity over the years, according to Lisa Robinson, director of the Parker Road Preschool.
“This year's group was the largest we have ever had attend,” Robinson said. “The venue even had to be changed to accommodate the increased crowd.”
Each year the children arrive in anticipation of? enjoying their favorite ice creams scooped by their teachers, while their older siblings cannot wait to see their former teachers. All the children are anxious to see the big and colorful raffle baskets with themes such as gardening or a day at the beach. The baskets are assembled by members of the PTO with items donated by the preschool families before the event. This year, in addition to the baskets, Shrewsbury Health and Racquet Club (SHARC), which is a community business partner to the preschools, donated a week of camp for the raffle.
The evening also featured a silent auction with one-of-a-kind handmade clothing for American Girl dolls. More than two dozen outfits and accessories were sewn by a grandmother (who wishes to remain anonymous) of a student at the Parker Road Preschool.
Catherine Dowling coordinated this year's event.
“The outfits ranged from nightgowns and robes to beautiful two- and three-piece coordinating daytime outfits,” Dowling said.? “There were also dress-up clothes including a vet and a baker, plus essential outerwear with matching hats and pocket books.”
“Many children admired the clothing for the dolls and their ensembles,” Robinson said.
The idea to include the dolls” clothing began last year. A student in the preschool would arrive each day with a beautiful outfit hand-sewn by her grandmother. Since her outfits were continually admired, the grandmother decided to make clothing to donate to the silent auction. It was such a hit last year that she thought she would change to dolls” clothing this year.
The PTO holds several fundraisers during the school year to help raise money to provide funding for enrichment programs such as a presentation on wildlife by the Audubon Society or a puppet show from Caravan Puppets as well as for various other programs and materials.