When Patty Kotora graduated from West Morris Central High School in Chester, New Jersey in 1992, she would never have guessed that she’d be invited back in 2018 to tell students about her work as a visiting nurse with the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Students in the school’s International Baccalaureate Career Program engaged in a unit of study about philanthropy, in which they chose organizations to research and held fundraisers for them.

WMCHS Junior Emily Hoskin, daughter of Patty’s high school friend Karen Hoskin, decided to focus on a veteran-serving organization for her project. In her research of different organizations, Emily remembered that her mom’s friend Patty was a visiting nurse for the Society and that she covered New Jersey. Because of the personal connection, Emily and her classmates chose NMCRS as their nonprofit organization.

In addition to delivering a presentation about the Society, Emily and her classmates created red, white, and blue bracelets with NMCRS embossed on them and sold them to students and staff for $1. Overall they raised $208 to contribute to the Society.

The culminating event of the philanthropic study unit was a panel discussion in which Patty and representatives from several other nonprofit organizations told students about their organizations and different opportunities available for students to participate. “I explained that you don’t have to be a veteran or the family member of a veteran to volunteer for the Society, and that you don’t have to go out and solicit money,” Patty said. “You can support an organization with marketing, or helping with the website, or greeting people in the office. The students had discovered there were so many opportunities within each organization where they could make a difference, even if it was a limited time opportunity or it wasn’t hands-on. To foster that excitement about giving back to these young students was great.”

Patty appreciated the chance to broaden students’ understanding of potential career options. “Emily herself is interested in pursuing a career in healthcare,” Patty said. “She is considering some of the military academies and her interest was heightened by the possibility of combining a medical profession and a career in the military.”


By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso

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