Mayor Michael Newhard presents $1,000 GoFundMe award to 'Kid Hero'


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  • Photos by Roger Gavan On Wednesday, Nov. 29, after Mass at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard presented a Certificate of Recognition and a symbolic GoFundMe check of $1,000 to Ira Faraoni for his "Ira's Helping Hands" campaign. From left, Pastor Rev. Jack Arlotta, Ira Faraoni, 7 and Mayor Michael Newhard.




  • Ira's Grade 2 class will exchange letters with the poor children of Davao. From left, St. Stephen - St. Edward School Principal Bethany Negersmith, Mayor Michael Newhard, Grade 2 students with Ira Faraoni (center) and their teacher Marianne Sims (far right.)



WARWICK — The GoFundMe platform, based in California, allows people to raise money for events ranging from celebrations and graduations to challenging circumstances such as poverty, accidents and illnesses.

As a holiday initiative, GoFundMe launched a program called "Kid Heroes," which selected 100 children in the country as a "Kid Hero"- kids making a difference in the world. And two of those children were from New York State.

One is from Saratoga Springs and the other is Ira Faraoni, 7, a Grade 2 student at St. Stephen - St. Edward Elementary School in Warwick.

On Wednesday, Nov. 29, after Mass at the Church of St. Stephen, the First Martyr, Village of Warwick Mayor Michael Newhard presented a Certificate of Recognition and a symbolic GoFundMe check of $1,000 to Ira Faraoni for his "Ira's Helping Hands" campaign.

Ira, the son of Ia and Robert Faraoni, started "Ira's Helping Hands" this past January with a mission to provide backpacks, school supplies and snacks to less fortunate children in a remote mountain province in Davao, Philippines.

It all started when he visited that area in the Philippines at age five and saw children walking to school barefoot carrying plastic bags with their notebooks.

"When Ira asked if that didn't hurt their feet," said his mother, Ia Faraoni, a native of Davao, "it was then explained to him that they do not have a school bus and cannot afford flip flops and backpacks, But that doesn't stop them going to school because they believe that education is an effective route out of poverty. My son Ira then realized that he wanted to do something to help these children attend the school."

The "Ira's Helping Hands" campaign, established on the GoFundMe fund-raising platform, has been raising money to purchase hundreds of school supplies and also footwear that Ira will deliver to the children in 2018.

In addition, he will use his $1,000 prize along with an additional $200 collected to throw the children of Davao a Christmas party.

And St. Stephen - St. Edward students will donate to the "Ira's Helping Hands" campaign in exchange for a dress down day.

They will also exchange letters with the poor children of Davao.

- Roger Gavan

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