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Boo Squad raises money for girl

Helps family purchase personalized toy car

April 27, 2017
The Town Crier

The Boo Squad gathered Saturday to raise funds for a 5-year-old Poland girl.

The nonprofit organization hosted its first Boo Squad Obstacle Challenge, at North Elementary School, where children of all ages supported incoming kindergartner Shiyu DeBow.

The Boo Squad is a volunteer group of children ages 3 to 10, under the direction of Heather Hrina Medvec. The mission of the group is to teach children about teamwork, volunteerism and compassion at an early age and get them involved in their community.

Article Photos

Town Crier photos / Mike Audi
Incoming Poland kindergartner, 5-year-old Shiyu DeBow, center, gets introduced to the crowd at Saturday’s Boo Squad Obstacle Challenge fundraiser by Kathy O’Shaughnessy, right, and Bev Lankitis, left. The event was held to help DeBow’s purchase a personalized car from the Go Baby Go program, which modifies toy cars for children with disabilities.

The Boo Squad united over the weekend to raise money for DeBow, whose family will use the funds to purchase a modified toy car from the Go Baby Go program, which personalizes the vehicles for children with disabilities. The program benefits kids with a range of diagnoses - including Down syndrome, spina bifida and cerebral palsy.

DeBow will use the vehicle to maneuver the hallways when she enters her first year of public school.

"We educate the children about the population we will be serving and usually have an activity to experience a day in that population's shoes," Hrina-Medvec said. "Then the Boo kids do the work, whether it's raising money, making cards or sending thank-yous."

She said it is all about the kids and teaching them to be understanding and accepting of differences. She said the kids love helping others.

The program also teaches the Boo Squad how to stand up for themselves or others who may be isolated or bullied because of their differences. Hrina-Medvec said the beauty is not only in the mission itself but the lightbulb moment when the Boo kids get it and are being genuine to an individual or group they may have been previously uncomfortable with.

Helping sponsor Saturday's event were DJ Anthony, Petitti Gardens, Poland Fire Department, Poland Local School District, Poland Giant Eagle, Home Depot, Community First Realty, Campbell Hardware, Mike Masucci, The Wortman Family, Betty Hrina, The Treharn Family and all of The Boo Squad parents and children.



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