Horizons Rumson to Celebrate “Small” Beginnings and Big Achievements at November Gala
On Saturday, November 2nd, Horizons Rumson will celebrate 18 years of providing local at-risk students with summer academic and recreational enrichment at the Rumson Country Day School (RCDS), thanks to the vision of RCDS Headmaster Chad Small. Themed Small Beginnings…Broader Horizons, the Gala event, co-chaired by Maggie Riker and Lynn Spector, will honor Chad Small and his wife Susan for his leadership role in founding the program.
Held at the Rumson Country Club, the evening will feature dinner, dancing and a live auction run by celebrity auctioneer Nick Dawes, of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow. All proceeds will benefit the Horizons Student Enrichment Program, which strives to overcome the educational achievement gap through summer educational opportunities for low-income children, primarily from Red Bank.
According to Chad Small, it all started with a letter. Nearly 20 years ago, he received a note from his counterpart at the New Canaan Country School inviting RCDS join a group of community service-minded independent schools that provide summer learning for at-risk students living nearby. Intrigued, Small shared the idea with RCDS parent Lore MacDonald, whom he knew to be a former Horizons New Canaan volunteer and program enthusiast. Together, they reached out to the RCDS Board of Trustees, who determined that Horizons was a program the school should support.
Headmaster Small recalled, “For me, Lore and all of the members of the RCDS Board, it was simply the right thing to do. Our Community Service program was really beginning to grow and this was the perfect centerpiece for that mission. We were putting our money where our mouth was.” With the help of dedicated volunteers and staff, Horizons Rumson launched in the summer of 1995 with 15 kindergarten students. This past summer, Horizons Rumson welcomed 138 children in grades K-8 and provided math, reading, art and recreational instruction, including weekly swimming lessons at the Community YMCA.
According to Executive Director Lori Hohenleitner, Horizons is making a tangible difference. Data gathered from this past summer showed that Horizons students gained an average of 3.4 months in math and reading. Moreover, the same growth seen in the classroom was evident in the YMCA swimming pool where every student graduated to at least one level by the end of the summer and not one flotation device was needed beyond 1st grade.
In addition to celebrating Horizons’ path to success, the November Gala will kick off the “Fund for the Future,” established in honor of the Smalls to ensure the sustainability of the program for many years to come. Gala proceeds will also support Horizons’ goals of extending programming into the school year with Super Saturdays tutoring for current students, enhancing the new Family Literacy and English as a Second Language classes for Horizons’ parents, and helping Horizons graduates with college and career readiness throughout their high school years.
“Our upcoming party will be a great chance to have fun, connect and reunite with Horizons friends old and new,” says Board Member and Gala Co-Chair Maggie Riker. “We want to honor our legacy, spread the word about all of the great work we’re doing at Horizons and, more importantly, the great work the students are doing at Horizons. Our theme of Small Beginnings…Broader Horizons is not just about the growth of our program over the years; it’s about the world we’re opening up for children in our community.
Horizons is an award-winning academic and recreational summer enrichment program whose mission is to promote the potential of children primarily from Red Bank, NJ, in grades K – 8, who are living in low income circumstances. The Horizons program emphasizes math, reading, science, the arts, intramural sports and swimming, nutritious meals, as well as social growth. Horizons is committed to the development of the whole child through experiences that enhance self-esteem, foster awareness of community responsibility, build problem-solving skills and encourage a life-long interest in learning.