Bronxville Union Free School District

Students to Receive $1,000 Grant for ‘Open Minds, Open Arms’

Social Issues Awareness club leaders Natalia Kaminski, Liam Siegel and Martha Thomas, who represented Bronxville High School at a Social Innovation Series conference last month, were selected to receive a $1,000 grant for their school.

The three students presented to a panel of judges from AdCapYouth, an organization that awards grants to student-generated programs. Their project, “Open Minds, Open Arms,” focused on bringing awareness to social, mental and emotional health to students.

The SIA club was founded by Siegel, a junior who came up with the concept as an eighth-grader. Since its inception, group members have been working to ensure the school embraces everyone’s unique differences. The students said they plan to organize a schoolwide unity day that would bring together everyone at the high school during several lunch assemblies. With the grant money, they plan to purchase and give out “Open Minds, Open Arms” bracelets.

Teacher and SIA advisor Michael Marino said he was amazed at how well the students came together to achieve a common goal.

“They always seem to rise to the occasion and not only meet but exceed my expectations,” Marino said. “The project idea ‘Open Minds, Open Arms’ they presented will bring awareness to some of the social, mental and emotional challenges students face.”