District observes first annual Beloved Community Day of Service

The kickoff meeting began at Pascack Hills where over 350 volunteers gathered in the auditorium. 


Contributed by Kaitlyn Mahaffey

Set up for Project Linus, one of the activities from Day of Service.

On Jan. 16, the Pascack Valley Regional High School District hosted the first annual Martin Luther King Jr. Beloved Community Day of Service. 

Students, counselors, teachers, and administrators were able to engage in over 20 service opportunities inspired by Dr. King’s vision for a beloved community. The kickoff meeting began at Pascack Hills where over 350 volunteers gathered in the auditorium. 

“I love the energy in here,” Superintendent Sarah Bilotti said, “What this has blossomed into is bigger than I’ve ever envisioned. It’s astounding, the breath of service that we are giving back.” 

Contributed by Kaitlyn Mahaffey
Kaitlyn Mahaffey (left), Erica Franceski (center), and Deborah Horn (right) with blankets from Project Linus.

Erica Franceski, Student & Family Resource Liaison, organized the event with District Supervisor Dr. Mark Russo. Along with Barry Bachenheimer, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, they partnered with Bergen Volunteers to secure a wide variety of sites, such as Habitat for Humanity.  

The idea for a day of service was brought to the attention of Bilotti when she became superintendent. It expanded into a larger event than originally planned over the past few months and will “hopefully become an annual tradition,” according to Franceski. 

“It’s been something that I’ve wanted to do for several years,” Franceski said, “Dr. Russo and I collaborate on the Student Equity Team and now the School Climate Team. It’s always been a conversation about how we could best honor Dr. King and really use that day for equity and inclusion.” 

“That was the real point of [the day of service], to create an experience that our community could share together for the greater good,” she said.