GROWS program launches successfully; Brings in over $600 in donations during December


AYER — What started as a casual discussion regarding how to recognize the wonderful staff members in the Ayer school district rapidly turned into a popular donation mechanism for Ayer Education Foundation (AEF) this past holiday season.

Parents and colleagues bought scores of Giving Recognition To Our Wonderful Staff (GROWS) cards for the teachers and staff they wanted to thank for teaching and supporting their children. GROWS sales exceeded $600 this past year.

“Parents and teachers kept calling us to see if we had any more GROWS cards available that they could purchase, right up until the very last day before winter vacation.” said AEF President Maura Feller. “I actually hand-made some extra cards at home to fulfill all the requests.”

Feller was chairman of the subcommittee that created the GROWS program, and included members Jackie Butler, Heidi Cowley and Julie Fay.

When a card is purchased from AEF, a five-dollar donation is made in the staff member’s name. The card also includes a raffle ticket that enters the staff member into a raffle to win $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble.

After the holidays, the AEF held the drawing. The winners of the first drawing — the next drawing will be in June 2006 — were Melanie Lombard, grade three teacher, Page Hilltop School; Mary Ford, grade six science teacher, Ayer Middle School; and Pam Reeves, grade eight French/Spanish teacher, Ayer Middle School.

All proceeds from the GROWS program go toward increasing educational enrichment programs in the Ayer schools.

Some popular occasions when people may wish to honor staff members include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, graduations/the end of school year, sports events, concerts and plays, portfolio days and retirements. Many parents this season took the GROWS opportunity to thank their child’s teacher, bus drivers, school nurses, aides and specials teachers.

For information on the GROWS Program visit