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Making each winter day count

Dear friends: 

I f you're not the kind of person who loves winter, it can be a challenge to get out of the house on a cold day. 

But students, their families and REF volunteers have braved the cold with a vengeance this year. We're  particularly happy to have helped more than 200 attendees fill out federal financial aid forms (FAFSA) at our FAFSA Fest events this school year at night and on weekends! This is higher than last year's total - and we have another event to go. We predict that, once again, a quarter of early FAFSAs filed in Rochester will have been filed at one of our events.

Please help us spread the word about our final, free FAFSA Fest event for high school seniors and students already in college, March 3 at MCC Downtown from noon to 2 p.m. Make that winter day count! 

What makes us most pleased is the satisfaction from students and families. "It was perfect," wrote one student after our last event. How often does anyone say that about filling out a government form? Thanks to our volunteers for making it just right. 

Please look at our stories, below, with information about our Teachers' Choice books program, Music in Our Schools Month, our sneaker program, One Step Closer, and upcoming eventsFor complete information about FAFSA Fest, please go to

Wishing you warm thoughts, 

Patricia Braus
Executive Director

HighNotesHitting the High Notes

Since 2005 we've collected and donated almost 2,000 musical instruments! We're hoping to reach the milestone of 2,018 instruments in this year of 2018. And the sooner the better! The generosity of Rochester's donors has expanded music experiences and opportunities for our Rochester students immeasurably. 

We also want to give a special thanks to WXXI-FM Classical for, once again, helping us spread the word during Music in Our Schools Month beginning March 1! We will look forward to sharing information about our Spring for Music Opportunities program with radio listeners.

BooksBooks, Books, Books

What a great year for our  Teachers' Choice literacy program! This year we supported projects for 43 teachers out of 108 applications - a big increase from last school year. Another great part of the project this year? We've now given away over 40,000 new books since launching Teachers' Choice!

Through this program, teachers create engaging projects that help build a love of reading among their students and receive up to 200 new books to support the project. Many educators used our suggested theme of Planet Earth: A Wide World of Reading to create projects on a variety of topics  including global diversity, foods of the world, plants and gardening, the solar system, and so much more! 

Thanks"Thank you for the books!"

Whether it is visiting a classroom or getting "Thank You!" notes from students (like this one), we love seeing the impact that our Teachers' Choice program has on students.

Kids tell us again and again how excited they are to receive books of their own and how they plan to share them with their siblings, parents, and friends. Unfortunately, with so many applications, we were unable to fund many wonderful project proposals this year.

Please consider adopting one of these projects. Whether individually or as part of a club or organization- we can find a project that fits your budget!

Contact us to get started
StepWarm Toes and Feet with
O ne Step Closer

Just the thought of going to school in shoes that don't fit is
painful.  Particularly in winter.

So far in 2018 we have provided more than 30 pairs of new sneakers to children in need through our One Step Closer program. 

In addition to their stylish new looks, students enjoyed the wonderful feeling of clean, dry shoes that fit properly just as the winter started getting fierce.

barThe Game is Afoot! Guest Bartender Event in May

Mark your calendar for a low-key, sociable fundraiser we've got planned for May 10, from 5 to 8PM at Scotland Yard Pub, 187 St. Paul Street.

Behind the bar will be celebrity guests from the world of radio, TV, and more! Tips will go to fund REF programs so bring your ones, fives, and hundreds to decide which celebrity bartender is best.

Come enjoy a fun night out with delicious pizza and friendly bartenders to help welcome an early spring. 

Mark Your Calendars!
FAFSA Fest @ MCC Downtown
March 3, 2018
Noon to 2 p.m.
321 State Street
Free of charge, free parking in MCC marked lot.

Guest Bartender Event
May 10, 2018 
5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Scotland Yard Pub
187 St. Paul St.
Free of charge, contributions welcome.
About Rochester Education Foundation

Founded in 2005, REF is an independent not-for-profit organization providing resources and programs to support the success of Rochester students through partnerships with educators, businesses, and the community. For more information,  visit our website .

Please consider supporting REF to ensure that every child has access to a great education. Donate now through  Network for Good  or make a contribution through the United Way of Greater Rochester donor option number #2529. 
Pass It On!

We'd appreciate your help in spreading the word about REF and the successes of Rochester students and teachers. Please consider forwarding this e-newsletter to a friend or suggest that they visit our website or connect with us on social media!

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