They Could Be Anywhere, But They Were Here

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You might think that with school beginning in a few short weeks, youngsters who have worked all summer in the county-funded Summer Youth Employment Program would jump at the chance to head home early and relax. But today was unique for the 28 South Huntington students who got the opportunity to meet the author of a book they had all just read and to spend time with the author’s special friend Maurice, who was the subject of her book.

The book is called An Invisible Thread. “An Invisible Thread is like The Blind Side, but instead of football, it’s food,” wrote Rachael Ray, chef and television personality, in her review of Laura Schroff’s book.  “These are two people who were brought together by one simple meal and it literally changed the course of both of their lives. This is a must-read. You can read it in a day because it’s impossible to put down. If you read it and find it as moving as I did, pay it forward—buy a copy and give it to a friend.” The author, Laura Schroff, is one of the 2012 inductees to the South Huntington Hall of Fame.

Laura and Maurice spent the morning talking with South Huntington’s Summer Employment Program interns and answering questions about what their individual journeys were like. Laura, a New York Times best-selling author, and Maurice, now a family man with a successful contracting business in New York City, elicited a range of emotions in their audience as they recounted heart-wrenching details about Maurice’s horrific childhood. And it was not surprising that long after many in the audience had left, and the pizza, iced tea, and cookies were gone, many of the students were still gathered around Laura and Maurice, sharing stories and anecdotes about their own young lives. The young men in particular were drawn to Maurice as he shared proof that they have the power to make a difference and that by making smart, positive decisions now, they can chart a successful future course.  

“It’s amazing to listen to Laura and Maurice tell their story” said superintendent Dr. Dave Bennardo. “You think of all the good work we’re doing in education. But then you hear a story like this, and it makes you realize that we could be doing even more to help change the lives of those in need. In Maurice’s case, his whole experience has changed not just his life, but the lives of a whole generation going forward.” 

Principal Kathie Acker was similarly moved. “To actually have the subject of this amazing book standing next to you and sharing a piece of his life with you is a very special and valuable experience,” she said.

South Huntington’s Summer Employment Coordinator Mr. David Perkins was very pleased with the morning’s outcome and the valuable message that the interns received. “It makes a difference when you can meet an author and the subject of a book such as this, said Mr. Perkins. “It makes it all real for the students and brings even more meaning to the book. All of the students were excited about reading the book and did so enthusiastically. But when they met Laura and Maurice, it brought the whole experience to life.”

Jacqueline Harris, South Huntington’s Superintendent for Student Services, was equally impressed with the overall message from Laura and Maurice. “I hope that each student here today realizes that community service, no matter how small or simple, can make a difference, and that what we do for each other matters.”

“As young people still in high school, you have time to change the course of your lives,” said Maurice.  “Laura invested her time and changed my whole life, thereby changing the lives of my family. I am able to begin a new history for a new generation.”