You’ve never met a NICEr group

By C.T. Liotta

NICE, Neighbors Investing in Childs Elementary, helps support excellent education for all children in the George W. Childs Elementary School catchment area. This Sunday, May 20th, NICE will host the first of what it hopes will become an annual fundraiser, A NICE Night. Billed as an elegant evening to gather, socialize and support public education, the event will take place at On Point Bistro, 1200 Point Breeze Ave. Chef Juan Lopez will provide heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Founded by Megan Rosenbach in 2012, the group works closely with the principal, teachers, students, parents and volunteers at Childs to fund after school programming, library projects and student activities.

In April 2012, NICE teamed up with GW Childs art teacher Maria Pandolfi and school parent Kim Smith to host its inaugural fundraiser – a student art show that raised $1,000 for art supplies. The momentum dovetailed into a library revitalization project, and NICE began meetings to get more community members involved.
“The neighborhood is a mix of long-term neighbors and new people moving in, with a high percentage of homeownership,” says Jennifer Devor, the organization’s past president whose five-year-old will attend Childs in the fall. “There is diversity and a strong sense of community. NICE believes that at the heart of any vibrant neighborhood is a thriving school.”
Proceeds from this Sunday’s fundraiser will go to Project Recess, an effort to create play spaces for the school. “We have big plans to redesign the rooftop, create shading, add new equipment, have different play and learning stations and so we’re looking to raise about $250,000 for this project.” said Devor. “We were presented with $100,000 from Councilman Johnson and are hoping to raise another $6,000+ from this event. We still have a way to go, but we’re off to a great start!”
Dr. Eileen Coutts, the school’s principal, says, “The Childs School Community places great importance on the physical health of our young people. We want to keep kids safe and happy at recess with organized play on equipment on our roof. We hope to create a magical place for our children to play each day; a place where they can climb, jump, stretch, and use their wonderful imaginations. We encourage the greater community to join us in making this wonderful project come true.”
Current board President Diana Liefer agrees. “The current Childs Building was formerly Barratt Middle School. There is no play equipment for young children. It’s a K-8 school without a single swing, slide or seesaw. Childs has made great strides in improving academics, and was named a high growth school last year. While we’re proud of that progress, we know there are other important features besides test scores that make a great school. Recess is part of a positive school experience. The kids should have a fun, beautiful space to play!”
Tickets for a NICE night are $65 and must be purchased in advance here.
To become a sponsor of A NICE Night or to donate a raffle item please contact NICE at