On Saturday, May 20th, 2017, beginning at 10am, there will be a walk to benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp at Assumption College in honor of longtime Worcester Public Schools teacher, Donna Quitadamo. In celebration of Donna Quitadamo’s retirement, the school administration, current and former Nelson Place students and families have come together to plan this event that is open to the public.
An elementary school teacher for 41 years, Miss Quitadamo spent the past 30 years working for the Worcester Public Schools at Nelson Place. Miss Quitadamo has shared her passion for helping the Camp with her students and their families over the years. They were then inspired to undertake many fundraising events and to collect much needed items for the Camp and the many children that it serves.
Founded in 1988 by Paul Newman, The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp provides “a different kind of healing” to more than 25,000 seriously ill children and family members annually – all completely free of charge. For many of these children and families, Hole in the Wall provides multiple Camp experiences throughout the year at the facility in Ashford, Connecticut, in more than 40 hospitals and clinics, directly in camper homes and communities, and through other outreach activities across the Northeast.
“As part of character education, I always encouraged my students to look for heroes in their everyday lives and I often shared my heroes with them,” explains Miss Quitadamo. “In the Fall of 2008, I shared with my fourth grade students that one of my heroes, Paul Newman, had passed away. I told them about Newman’s Own Foundation and The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp and how his philanthropy inspired me.”
Miss Quitadamo’s compassion for the Camp inspired many of her students and their families to get involved. Students used their persuasive writing skills to pen essays asking for Camp donations. It inspired a collaboration of poetry and two poetry collections were published and sold. All profits benefited The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. All editing, copying, and binding were donated, ensuring the Camp would receive the optimal benefit from these efforts.
In the fall of 2010, staff and parents designated The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as Nelson Place Elementary School’s charitable partner. Collection boxes regularly adorned the halls at Nelson Place where students and families could donate Camp wish list items. Students have been known to bring Miss Quitadamo to tears with even the smallest donation from a piggy bank, tooth fairy, or birthday money. Through the efforts of Miss Quitadamo and her students, monetary donations alone, have exceeded over $24,000.
Worcester’s District 1 City Councilor, Tony Economou, has two sons who attended Nelson Place Elementary School. Councilor Economou said, “My family and I had the opportunity to learn about The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp through Miss Quitadamo. We still talk about our visit to the Camp. I was amazed at the genuine care and effort that went into its construction in order to make the kids feel comfortable and at ease… to just be kids! How it inspired so many of the students at Nelson Place, on their own, to help was truly touching. I thank Miss Quitadamo for allowing my family and I to be part of this journey.”
Miss Quitadamo’s “Campquest”, A FUNraiser to Benefit The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp will take place on Saturday, May 20th from 10am to noon at Assumption College, 500 Salisbury Street in Worcester.
More information and registration can be found online at missqcampquest.com and https://www.facebook.com/MissQCampQuest/. First 200 registrants will receive a Campquest t-shirt. Teams are welcome. Sponsorship opportunities are available.