How to Raise Awareness? Escape Prison! | 123Read&Write

Rochester teacher races in Escape From Alcatraz triathlon 2013 for Retts Syndrome.

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One of the greatest challenges I look forward to every school year is getting my kids to do something special for someone in need. It's an important trait that I feel will go on in their hearts and minds long after they've left me. For going on four years, my 8th grade students have been raising money and awareness for Rett's Syndrome, which is a debilitating form of autism, which only affects girls. The students complete research projects and present them at the local Barnes and Noble. A percentage of the money made that night goes to GirlPower2Cure, which is the national foundation for Retts. Each year, it's gotten a little bigger. In fact, last year, Dena Centafonti and Fox News did a Healthworks story for us. This year, GirlPower2Cure sponsored me to race in the Escape From Alcatraz triathlon, in San Francisco, in addition to all the normal work my students were doing with their projects. Contractually, to be sponsored, I had to raise $3,000 for the foundation. Well, with the help of my students, families, and a couple wonderful businesses in the community, we raised approximately $8,000 for GirlPower2Cure! And, we did this on a time crunch; we started this process when I found out I was in the race, in November. The race was March 3rd. It's amazing what my students helped me accomplish! Some of my girls went out carroling around the holidays (without me knowing it) and raised about $150 on their own! It was the experience and race of a lifetime. If this couldn't get people's attention for these little girls suffering from Retts, I don't know what would.

The first Rochester Patch story

The Patch did another nice story before I left!

The Patch visits my students video.

Additionally, Ingrid Harding (founder of GirlPower2Cure) has been instrumental in allowing my students and I to raise awareness for this constricting disease. Her national website is the key hub for information and awareness for all things Retts related. She did a wonderful story of the week for us, as well!

The Detroit News came out and was kind enough to want a story for their Holiday Edition!

Detroit News article

Two local businesses were amazing in their efforts to open their doors and help us raise money. Noodles and Company, at the Village of Rochester Hills mall let us have a dinner night. They said they had never seen their establishment so packed with people!

The second business which was more than wonderful was Lino's Italian restaurant, in Rochester. They hosted a dinner night for all of us, as well. They were what drove it home for us. We made over $3,000 that night alone! Wonderful people!

Finally, San Francisco came and I survived, and my students were there waiting for me, clapping, at my door when I returned Monday morning (jet lagged!) That was a wonderful feeling.

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Practice swim the morning before the race. See how calm the water is that day? It was terrible the next, for the race. Six-foot swells and the current was ripping you towards the Golden Gate.

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Below is my buddy Pedro. He helped me learn how to manage the San Francisco Bay on Saturday morning, so I could make it through the race on Sunday. I owe him a great deal. By the way, he's swam from Alcatraz to shore well over 500 times!

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