The Relief Fund established in the name of the four United States AMI affiliates to help schools who were located in the path of the recent hurricanes officially closed Sunday, October 15th.  Since that time the fund has received checks for over $3000 more in donations.  Notably, one of those was from a school fundraising effort championed by the students that netted over $3000.  There were several other donations received as a result of student fundraising – Montessori kids know how to get it done!

The current amount in the relief fund is over $20,000.  Congratulations to your organization and its members for supporting such a worthwhile effort.  I will be able to distribute significant amounts to schools that were hit very hard by the storms.  At least one is still working to get back in their space having also lost most of their materials.  Probably the hardest hit was the school in the Virgin Islands.  Happily when I last spoke to them they were getting ready to re-open.  The remainder of the schools either lost materials and furniture or had damage to their buildings. At least one was hoping to be able to support some families so that they can remain in school.  The schools that will be receiving a check from the fund are (in no order):  Bay Colony Montessori, Nederlands Montessori, St Catherine’s Montessori, the Islamic Academy, South Florida Montessori Academy, Clearlake Montessori, and the Virgin Islands Montessori School. They are very grateful for the support.

In addition, I worked closely with Dr. Betsy Coe in Houston to help connect many schools with other schools, individuals and businesses to get them help.  Dr. Coe collected both materials and care kits (put together by schools) and distributed them as we learned about their needs.  It was so gratifying to hear from the many schools who couldn’t give a cash donation but perhaps had materials or furniture they were willing to share. We also heard from companies willing to help either with donations or discounts.  Those companies were Maitri Learning, Miss Ronda’s Readers, and Montessori Woods (furniture).  I have thanked them all for their generosity.

I have just recently received a contact from Puerto Rico who works with public schools there who are working to become Montessori programs.  Anticipating that schools there would need help, I put aside funds so that we could help when we were finally able to connect.  There are 50 public schools who are working towards implementing Montessori in their schools. I am in contact with a representative of an organization that supports these schools to work out a plan to get funds to them.

This was a great effort on so many fronts and brought together not only the US Affiliates but also both AMI and AMS.  It was a pleasure working with Dr. Coe and I appreciate all her efforts.  As we stated originally, the criteria for receiving assistance was need, not affiliation.  Thank you all for your support.

Warm Regards,

Jan Deason
on behalf of the AMI Affiliates