Members of J.S. Jenks Elementary School chorus sing “Pizza Love” at last year’s Friends of J.S. Jenks fundraiser, held at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martins Lane. (Photo by Sue Ann Rybak)

by Sue Ann Rybak

Friends of J.S. Jenks, an independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to “enhance the educational and enrichment opportunities at J.S. Jenks Elementary School in Chestnut Hill,” will host its second annual silent auction and reception to benefit the school’s art and music program from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 1, at the Church of Saint Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martins Lane.

This year’s fundraiser, entitled “Oh, the Places We’ll Go,” features a variety of auction items from area businesses and artworks created by Jenks’ students in addition to live entertainment, kid-friendly food, appetizers, desserts, and drinks. Children are welcome to participate in games and craft activities while parents bid on auction items.

Haviva Goldman, president of the Friends of J.S. Jenks (FOJSJ), said the organization was formed to build community ties because “we realized that in order for the school to be sustained you have to have community ties and build partnerships to bring in programs that the budget just can’t cover.”

“But, we can’t fight this kind of battle if they’re going to cut anyone who is there to support partnerships at the school like the dean of students, the counselor, the gym teacher and the music teacher,” said Goldman, whose son attends Jenks. “These are the people who really hope to build programs. If the school district cuts them, how are we suppose to build community partnerships? We can’t do it alone.”

She added that the success of the public school requires the support of parents, the community, the school district and public officials. Last year’s silent auction raised about $7,500. Goldman said her group hopes to raise double that this year.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will help support music, art, and enrichment programs at Jenks. A donation of $20 a person, $30 for two, or $40 a family is suggested.

This year’s event will mark the launch of a major fundraising drive to renovate Jenks’ auditorium, transforming it into a modern performance and community space, while preserving its historic charm.

Persons interested in making a donation of cash, goods, or in-kind services should contact the auction coordinator, Lauren Wiley, at laurenwiley@yahoo.com or 609-937-4860. All donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law.