Elmcrest Children's Center Staff Braves the Elements to Boost United Way's Snow Angel Challenge

Feb 9, 2018

The snow covered staff at Elmcrest finishing their snow angels.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

The Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research of a few years ago has inspired a similar chilling challenge here in Syracuse to raise money for the United Way.  The challenge combines two things Syracuse is known for, snow and the number 44. United Way board member Jim Capparelli says the reason for the challenge is actually quite serious. 

“The campaign this year is falling short by approximately $500,000. We’re in jeopardy of cutting some vital human service programs in the area. So, we came up with kind of our own challenge piggybacked off of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but instead of dumping ice over your head, we’re doing snow angels in our summer clothing.”

Theresa Golembiewski is a literacy specialist at Elmcrest Children’s Center in Syracuse, and was one of five employees nominated for the challenge.

The staff at Elmcrest getting ready to make their snow angels. From left: Program Supervisor Brandon McInerney, Employment Specialist Sue Baum, Literacy Specialist Theresa Golembiewski, another Elmcrest employee, and Staff Development Advisor Rick Johnson.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

“Jumping in snow in a dress; I was a little hesitant, but we know how important United Way is to our community and to Elmcrest.”

The organization and its programs are among the dozens supported by the United Way of Central New York.  Sue Baum is an employment specialist.

 “I want to make sure that people are on board and donating to the United Way so that we can help our kids prepare for their futures by getting them employability skills that they need to get a first job and be productive citizens of our community.”

So, how did they do?  They donned short sleeve shirts, shorts, and flip flops and headed outside into the 20 degree air. They recorded a video to post on social media…

“Good morning! We’re here today because we were nominated to participate in the Snow Angel Challenge from United Way. The Snow Angel Challenge is either to jump in the snow in your summer attire or donate $44 to United Way to help bridge the gap. We here at Elmcrest Children’s Center decided to do both.”

They each announced their next nominations, who will have one week to complete the challenge to donate $44, make a snow angel, or both.  Elmcrest Program Supervisior Brandon McInerney says you can’t

A finished snow angel.
Credit Scott Willis / WAER News

overthink it.

“It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid. You just gotta get out there and do it. I don’t think there’s any easy way of doing it. Some of us did not wear shoes and socks which was certainly the champion’s way of going. Other people needed training wheels like Rick here.”

“Some of us don’t have hair on our head, so…”

“But yeah, it was a lot of fun. Very shocking and definitely for a good cause.”

To find out more about how to support United Way, visit unitedway-cny.org.