• Friedlander Upstander Award Winner: Sage Gladstone

    Sage Gladstone (3rd from right), a student at South Woods Middle School was a winner of the 2018 Friedlander Upstander Award at at HMTC’s 2018 Tolerance Benefit. Her essay below demonstrates that she has acted as an Upstander against bullying and intolerance.

    Taking action, helping others, and making a difference.  Those are my values and my purpose in life.  I love constantly pushing for a better world, not just speaking about it.  I take initiative and make my ideas come to life.  My sense of responsibility to the world outside of mine is what drives me to help people.  I want to live in a world that is caring, promotes peace, and celebrates differences.  However, I know that can’t happen overnight, and maybe can’t ever happen, but I wake up every day to work towards my goal, rise above obstacles, and be an Upstander for all.

    I have been striving to fulfill that goal of mine since I was five years old.  When I was in kindergarten, I saw that there was a girl a few grades above me who didn’t have any hair.  I felt sad, confused, and worried that she may get made fun of or laughed at, so I wanted to help.  I wanted to show her that someone cared and was thinking about her, so I went home that day to ask my mom if I could cut my hair and just give it to her,  My mom said I couldn’t’ do exactly that but I could donate my hair to people just like her.  Even in my five-year-old mind, I was totally on board with the idea that I could make someone’s day or life better from just one small act.  A few months later, I cut my hair to the point where it looked like I should be dancing the Charleston with my flapper friends, and donated it to Locks of Love.  I did that two more times when I was in fourth grade and this past summer, between seventh and eighth grade.  I realized I was slowly making a change… a change that I wanted to see in our world.

    It has always been a priority of mine to acknowledge others and their feelings because it’s important to appreciate the work that everyone does.  I try to spread my appreciation to people who make our world go around but are sometimes forgotten like the bus drivers, security guards, custodians, and lunch servers.   I also think it is important to stand up to unkind behavior wherever I am.  I will not tolerate rude remarks, bullying, or peer pressure.  Even if doing the right thing is the unpopular choice to make in a situation, I will do it for the sake of the people being hurt.

    Last year, I began many new initiatives at my school to help work towards the change I want to see.  For example, I organized a welcoming committee that invited all of our new students to come and play games and talk about their experiences in our school so far.  I wanted to make sure all the students felt noticed and welcomed.

    When I was home sick with the flu last year, I watched a video online about an amazing non-profit organization called Days for Girls.  This organization assembles sustainable feminine hygiene kits to donate to girls in impoverished areas around the world such as Nepal, parts of India, Haiti and so many other places.  Without the proper materials, these girls end up missing up to five days a week each month with most girls ending up having a deprived education.  Without an education it’s hard for these girls to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.  These kits aren’t only giving them the items every girl needs, it’s giving them a future… a life to look forward to.  These girls are punished for something that is so natural in every girl’s life and are sent to huts to deal with it by themselves.  While they are in these huts, most commonly refereed to as chhaupadis, their biggest fear isn’t trying to make sure they are staying clean and healthy, it’s worrying about being raped.  These huts are in the middle of nowhere with hardly any protection from any of those vicious men.  After I watched the video, I went to their website to find the Days for Girls’ phone number so I could contact them and see what I could do to help.  When I called, they listed a bunch of volunteer opportunities for me to be apart of.  I thought hosting a drive to collect the materials needed for these kits was the best option.  Once I recovered from the flu and was back at school, I attended a meeting with my feminist club and shared what I had learned about the organization, and pitched the idea of holding a drive.  My club advisers and peers loved the idea but we couldn’t start it just yet because it was too late in the year.  So, we saved my idea for this year.  Over the summer I kept in contact with Days for Girls, collecting all the information I needed to launch a successful drive.  In the fall, I went back to school and planned logistics for this drive to work in meetings with my principal and many conversations with Days for Girls representatives.  Soon, I was ready to put boxes out and have donations roll in.  I really wanted this to be a successful drive so I contacted a representative named Kathy from a local team and asked her to come and speak at my school on behalf of Days for Girls.  We set up a date, and asked students to come listen and learn about Days for Girls at their lunch periods; we had a rather well turn our and even a boy showed up.  It was amazing to have my peers have the opportunity to be educated on an organization that its so important and amazing but yet a forgotten world issue.  After Thanksgiving break we put out donation boxes and I created posters to decorate our school with.  I loved Kathy’s presentation, but I still wanted to teach more about this wonderful organization, so I created a presentation and lectured in health classes about why it is important to donate.  After about a month of running the toiletry drive, my mom and I delivered our four overflowing boxes of donations to Dumont, New Jersey, where Kathy lives.  Throughout this whole experience, I kept in touch with Allie, a representative at the Days for Girls headquarters in Washington State.  After multiple calls and emails, Allie reached out to me and asked if she could feature my story in the Days for Girls monthly newsletter.  Of course I said yes, and Allie congratulated me for being the youngest volunteer to be featured.  My responsibility does not end with one successful drive.  I’m still committed to spreading the message of Days for Girls and will continue to raise awareness at my school.  Next month, I will hold a second drive as well as continue to educate my peers with a global awareness exhibit I’ve organized at my school’s awareness fair.

    The problems needed to be addressed in order to achieve my ideal world does not stop with menstruation.  While we have different religions, talents, hobbies, and beliefs, I know we all have the power to be kind.  I am driven to encourage kindness not only through the halls of my school, but also out in our world.  I am currently in the process of spearheading many kindness movements at my school.  The main project is the Blue Box Campaign where students receive a classmate’s name and are encouraged to write an anonymous compliment about them.  I am also setting it up for teachers.  The main purpose of this movement is to encourage people to make others feel good about themselves and to spread the idea that we can all uplift each other with a simple gesture.  I’m also launching a kindness mural project, where all students are asked to write their definition of kindness.  After everyone’s definition is collected, I will create the mural in a hallway at my school.  The process of each student writing their unique definition of kindness will make them have to consider what being kind actually means to them.  I will also kick off a Token of Kindness Project where Peer Mediators will carry around stickers that have quotes abut kindness on them.  When we see acts of kindness during the school day we will give them out.  This project is designed to let everyone know that all acts of kindness, big or small, never go unnoticed.  To tie all of the kindness projects together, I will be organizing another kindness moment called Kind Hands of South Woods for students and teachers to paint their hands and leave their hand prints on a piece of paper.  This resembles their pledge to be kind and contribute positivity to our school.  I hope I will be able to cement the value of Kindness into the minds of my peers as I launch these initiatives.

    My sense of responsibility to change our world for the better and promote kindness doesn’t just end with humans, I believe I should show the same respect to animals.  I became a vegetarian in kindergarten because I felt really bad at the thought that I was eating another living thing.  However, sticking with those eating habits got difficult especially at such a young age and I was only a vegetarian sporadically, until this past summer when I watched a few documentaries about the vegan diet.  Last month marked 6 month of being vegan, this experience proved to me that helping other human or not is something that I care strongly about and I am willing to do it and not give up.

    “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a powerful quote that I think best sums up my vision for being an Upstander.  I will always push for a better world and challenge myself on how I can make an even larger impact than the day before.  Through high school, college, adulthood, and when I’m old, I will continue to be an Upstander, someone who will never forget the importance of advocating for others and love for helping them.  I hope to spread this message of helping the people around you and thinking about lives beyond your own to all the beautiful humans on this planet we share.

    Are you an Upstander?

    If you have a story that sounds like Sage’s and you are a Middle or High School student from Nassau or Suffolk Counties, share it with us! You might be one of our 2019 Friedlander Upstander Winners.

    Apply via the link below:

    Friedlander Upstander Awards

    Or mail to:

    Helen Turner | Friedlander Upstander Award, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542

    For more information please call: (516) 571-8040 or email helenturner@hmtcli.org.

     

     

  • Hit the Trails Against Bullying 2nd Annual Walk

    BullyProof

    Hit the Trails 
    Against Bullying
    2nd Annual Walk

    Saturday, October 1, 2016 

    10 a.m. – noon walk – fun activities inside

    Rain or shine

    HMTC
    Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road
    Glen Cove, NY

    Join The Bullyproof Project, The Glen Cove Youth Bureau, and HMTC for the 2nd Annual Walk Against Bullying. Take an emotional tour through HMTC’s museum to see how important it is to be an Upstander and not a Bystander.

    Together we can help raise awareness against bullying.

    This is a free, family-friendly event. All ages are welcome. Please wear comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes for hiking the Welwyn trails.

  • Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern are Upstanders of the Month for March

    Anjelica and Ariel 2015

    Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern are Upstanders of the Month for March! It’s Women’s History Month – a great time to celebrate the achievements of stellar young women! HMTC recently had the opportunity to catch up with some of our past Upstanders, Anjelica Mantikas and Ariel Stern, founders of One is Greater than None. All eight original members of One is Greater than None are featured in HMTC’s permanent museum exhibition, in a section which highlights individuals and groups who have worked to make a positive difference in the world. Anjelica and Ariel shared how they are continuing to work for a better world:

    “It has been eight years since we co-founded One is Greater than None (1>0). We are all college graduates now and either working or in graduate school. Our mission still is to inspire individuals to realize that they can make a difference despite limited resources. We do this by taking on projects that will get our community involved and speaking to groups about our story. Our most recent projects include sponsoring the building of a library at a school in Ghana, as well as sponsoring the creation of computer labs at that same school. Currently, we are partnering with companies and a non-profit, EVCO Africa, in order to bring gently used computers from office desks on Long Island to student’s desks in West Africa.

    With each project that we work on, it is clear that so many people want to do something to make the world a better place, they just do not realized how simple it can be. As we move forward with out work, we hope to continue speaking with people and showing them that each of us has the power to make a positive impact in our communities.”

    For more information about One is Greater than None visit www.oneisgreaterthannone.org.

  • February Upstanders of the Month

    Unity Club

    This month we are celebrating the Unity Club at East Northport Middle School as HMTC’s February Upstanders of the Month! Teachers Sandy Leahy and Chris Rozmus brought 15 students to our fall student leadership conference and the students left energized and eager to bring what they learned back to their school and peers. They began brainstorming issues and projects to help make East Northport a more welcoming community.

    The Unity Club is participating in this year’s “PS I Love You Day,” begun by a Claire Friedlander Upstander scholar in West Islip. Students from the Unity Club will distribute small cards to the ENMS community as a reminder that someone cares, to hold on to or to share with another student. The Unity Club will also decorate the school with reminders everywhere: purple strings on each lock, small baskets with comforting and inspirational words in inconspicuous places and inspirational music played between classes. Ms. Leahy says, “We want this uplifting feeling of PS I Love You Day to continue beyond one single day in February.”

    The members of the Unity Club are also working on a giant photo mosaic of everyone in the school, in the shape of an American flag, inspired by Maria Cruz Lee of Define American, who spoke at the October student conference at HMTC. In addition, they are developing public service announcements to run on their school TV station, TIGER TV, focusing on labels. We look foward to seeing the finished PSAs!

    The goal of the Fall student conference is to help students recognize their ability to make a difference. The Unity Club at East Northport is a wonderful example of this idea in action, and we’re thrilled to celebrate them as our February Upstanders!

  • Tell HMTC About Young People Who Are Making a Difference!

    Tell HMTC About Young People Who Are Making a Difference!

    students2

    by Tracy Garrison- Feinberg

    This week we’ve been receiving applications for the 2016 Claire Friedlander Upstander Award, and it’s wonderful to see young people from all over Long Island working to make their communities better in so many different ways. That’s why we take the time to honor a few of these students each year with a $2,500 scholarship, why we try to feature at least one student each month in this blog as Upstander of the Month, and why I’m  thrilled that Newsday is giving us examples on a regular basis of “Students to Watch.”

    Too often we read about negative images of teenagers in our world today: they’re apathetic, they’re only concerned with themselves and their technology, they have no concept of history. The students I see in our education programs prove these stereotypes false every single day. I see young people who are connected, passionate and compassionate, and their stories inspire me daily.

    At HMTC, we teach young people that standing up for others is the best way to stand up against bigotry, hatred or intolerance of any kind. We promote the idea of the “Upstander,” which two New Jersey students felt was so important that they started a campaign to add the word “upstander” to the Oxford English Dictionary. And I know that students across Long Island, in every community, have similar stories of standing up. We want to hear them and share their examples!

    Please be in touch with us about inspiring young people, and watch this space! You’ll see their stories in this blog and later this spring we’ll announce the 2016 Friedlander Upstander Scholars. I look forward to celebrating more Long Island inspiring students!

    Tracy Garrison-Feinberg is director of the Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC. You can contact Tracy at tracygarrisonfeinberg@hmtcli.org. 

  • December Upstander of the Month

    Maddie 2

    HMTC’s December Upstander of the Month is Maddie Greenberg, an 8th grader at JHR 194 William Carr in Queens, NY. Maddie first contacted us over the summer for help with her Bat Mitzvah project. She has a deep interest in the history of World War II and the Holocaust, and she wanted to connect that interest with something that would help HMTC. She did research over the summer in our library, met with staff and volunteers, and developed a review of Holocaust literature that we can now share with teachers and students. In November, Maddie presented her research to our volunteer educators to rave reviews. She continues to look for ways to help HMTC, and just joined us at our Barnes & Noble Bookfair where she helped with giftwrapping.

    Maddie is a treasure and we look forward to working with her on future projects. Congratulations Maddie!

  • November Upstander of the Month

    Jason Beck

    Jason Beck, a senior at Syosset High School, is HMTC’s November Upstander of the Month. Jason has been interning at HMTC for the past six months. His work here involves researching political extremism in the United States and European Union. He has also studied the relationship between economic factors and the presence of xenophobia. Additionally, Jason writes for a blog which details acts of antisemitism and Islamophobia  in Europe. His passion for the issue has brought him to the attention of Nassau and Suffolk County legislators and he has spoken at general legislative sessions in both counties.

    We are proud to honor Jason as our November Upstander of the Month!

  • Ari Babaknia, Paul J. Bloom and Thomas C. Krumpter are HMTC’s September Upstanders of the Month

    Trib 2015 Honorees

    (L to R:) Steven Markowitz, Chairman of HMTC; Thomas C. Krumpter, Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department and Tribute Dinner Honoree; Paul J. Bloom, Esq., founding partner of Harras, Bloom & Archer, LLP and Honoree; Dr. Ari Babaknia, Author and Honoree; Mitra Damaghi, Tribute Dinner Co-Chair; and Peter J. Klein, CFA, Tribute Dinner Co-Chair. 

    HMTC is honored to have three incredible Upstanders for the month of September. At the 23rd annual Tribute Dinner, which took place September 10th at the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation, we had the privilege of honoring Ari Babaknia, M.D., Paul J. Bloom, Esq. and Thomas C. Krumpter.

    Ari Babaknia, M.D., received the Bruce Morrell Education and Humanity Award, is a Johns Hopkins trained physician specializing in reproductive medicine for over 30 years. He was recently appointed Professor of Health Science at Chapman University in California. Dr. Babaknia is the author of a four volume book, in Farsi, that chronicles the Holocaust. The book was awarded the Reference Book of the Year Award (2013) from the Association of Jewish Libraries. His latest book, Humanity, Not, which is available for purchase in HMTC’s bookstore, depicts the emotions experienced during the Holocaust by both victims and perpetrators.

    Paul J. Bloom, Esq., received a Community Leader Award. Mr. Bloom is a founding partner of Harras Bloom & Archer, LLP. With over forty years of experience, Mr. Bloom has represented developers, investors, as well as national and local entities relating to properties and developments on Long Island. During his career, Mr. Bloom has held many elected and appointed positions in municipal government. He has also served on the boards of numerous charitable and religious organizations.

    Thomas C. Krumpter, received a Public Service Award. Named Acting Commissioner of the Nassau County Police Department in February of 2014, Commissioner Krumpter has been a member of the department for 22 years. He is a strong proponent of HMTC sponsor training programs and through his efforts had expanded the number of officers attending Law Enforcement and Society workshops at HMTC.

  • Remembering an Upstander and Looking for Others

    JulianBond and SNCC

    By Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, Director of the Claire Friedlander Education Institute at HMTC

    The world lost a giant on August 15, 2015 with the passing of Julian Bond, a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), co-founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Georgia state legislator, former chairman of the NAACP, and tireless champion of human rights. He is best known for his civil rights activism, but he also was a strong and vocal supporter of marriage equality and protecting the environment. If you have seen any of the episodes of Eyes on the Prize, you have heard his voice narrating each episode. He was literally the voice of the movement for generations learning the long history of the Civil Rights Movement. It was a distinctive voice, and it will be sorely missed.

    I had the amazing opportunity to hear Mr. Bond in person in 2010 at the SNCC 50th anniversary conference in Raleigh, NC, and to speak with him personally. After hearing his powerful keynote on the founding of SNCC, I was walking through the lobby of the conference center and there he was, standing alone. I went up to him, introduced myself briefly and thanked him for his speech, which moved us all. He thanked me, then with a twinkle in his eye, asked me, “yes, but did I look good?” We both laughed and I assured him that he did, indeed, resplendent in his striped tan jacket and sky blue shirt. Meeting him and so many other veterans of SNCC and the larger movement was an experience I won’t ever forget. Seeing how human they were reminded me that they weren’t superheroes. They were people who put their bodies on the line in order to hold our nation true to its founding principles, who believed that real change requires commitment, and sometimes risk. And their example, especially Mr. Bond’s, continues to inspire.

    There are and will continue to be many tributes to Julian Bond, and already his own words are part of the memorialization of this giant, this gentleman, this Upstander. As HMTC celebrates and honors young people who work to make their world a better place, like this young woman, a high school student from Glen Cove, Mr. Bond’s thoughts on leadership and activism should inspire more young people to follow his example:

    Leadership can come from anywhere. You don’t have to be a certain type of person or have a certain type of education to be a leader. You just have to be willing to throw yourself into the fight. That’s all it takes.

    HMTC is looking for young people across Long Island who are throwing themselves into the fight and making a difference in large and small ways. If you know of a middle school or high school student who fits this description, contact Tracy Garrison-Feinberg, director of school programs, at tracygarrisonfeinberg@hmtcli.org. Please also encourage them to apply for our annual Upstander Award – the deadline for submissions is January 11, 2016.

  • Dave Staël Lacroix is HMTC’s July Upstander of the Month

     

    Dave Lacroix

    Dave Staël Lacroix, HMTC’s July Upstander of the Month, is a recent graduate of Westbury High School and is planning to attend Dartmouth College this fall. Like many young people, Dave found high school to be filled with challenges, especially his junior year. Having come to the United States from Haiti at the age of four and not knowing English, he had additional obstacles to overcome. But spurred on by a deep appreciation of the power of education, Dave chose to meet these challenges as opportunities, and wrote a book titled Into the Abyss: the Eleventh Grade Experience (available for purchase on Amazon) as a way to document how he faced the stress of junior year in high school. He began the book as a way to relieve his own stress and soon realized that he could help other students as well. He self-published the book in the summer of 2014, and has shared it and its lessons with younger Westbury High School students.

    Dave Staël Lacroix Book

    In a letter thanking HMTC for recognizing him as an “Upstander of the Month,” Dave said, “There is an old African proverb that I’ve always held dear to my heart: If you want to go faster, go alone. But if you want to go farther, go together.” As he prepares for the next chapter of his educational journey at Dartmouth, he carries with him the support of the Westbury community and intends to keep inspiring others to go farther, Dave Staël Lacroix as our Upstander of the Month for July.