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8 Beachwood Buzz
July 2016
8 Beachwood Buzz
July 2016
July 2016
Beachwood Buzz
Many phone calls had to be made to
secure volunteers. The Beachwood North
gym was only available for 10 days; 5
days for set up, 4 days for donation drop
off, organizing and pricing and one day
for clean up. Unsold merchandise, donat-
ed to Dress for Success, Aids Task Force,
National Council of Jewish Women
(NCJW), Providence House and Salvation
Army, was gratefully accepted. Kirschen-
baum recalled that the Beachwood High
School custodial staff was invaluable in
this endeavor, remembering that a custo-
dian would go outside daily to manually
change the letters on the old-fashioned
tiny marquee that advertised the sale.
This gave her the idea to acquire the
digital marquee that now stands in
front of BHS, which was purchased with
proceeds from the Garage Sale's first two
years, along with matching funds from
the Beachwood school board.
Following Kirschenbaum's retirement
as chairperson, Gayle Hochheiser, PTO
president at the time assumed respon-
sibility for heading up this enormous
fundraiser from 2004-2011. Just like her
predecessors, Hochheiser was confront-
ed with the challenge of setting up for
the sale, holding it, and closing down all
within 10 days. With the advancement
of technology, emails were used to help
market the event, but the benefits of the
now-popular social media sites were not
yet available to her. But thanks to Gayle's
stellar leadership, tremendous persever-
ance, and a hard-working group of devot-
ed volunteers, the PTO always managed
to come through and maintain the sale's
tremendous history of success.
In 2012, Brenda Shapiro, then Com-
munity PTO president, stepped in and
took over as chairperson. She said, "This
fundraiser is of massive proportions and
can suck the life out of you, but then you
recuperate and do it again next year."
Under her leadership, the garage sale
was a monumental success.
Due to the leadership of these strong
women and the efforts of countless vol-
unteers, significant funds were amassed
and all the profits continued to benefit
our schools and students. Additional
gifts presented to the school district
included furniture in Beachwood High
School's atrium and the seating area
outside the Middle School. It was a very
proud moment for Hochheiser and the
PTO when garage sale profits were used
to endow a scholarship through the
Beachwood Schools Foundation.
Unfortunately, when the Beachwood
High School renovation project began,
the PTO lost its sale site. With nowhere
to go, the garage sale went into hiatus,
with no idea if or when it would return.
In spite of this, all was not lost. Jodi
Zawatsky, a young, passionate PTO
member who possesses remarkable en-
ergy and enthusiasm, vowed to bring it
back. To Jodi, no challenge is too big to
overcome. She was able to secure a new
location, thanks to the help of Council
member Justin Berns, Mayor Merle S.
Gorden and the City of Beachwood.
With that obstacle resolved, nothing
was going to stop her. In short order,
she managed to gather together a small
group of diligent volunteers to form an
executive committee that shared her vi-
sion. Her ability to motivate, inspire and
lead generated excitement and the Ga-
rage Sale returned in the spring of 2015
and again this year. Following a massive
effort by a small committee of eight and
about 100 additional volunteers, the
renewed Garage Sale was a triumphant
success. Former shoppers came back
and new ones appeared; merchandise
was flowing and profits soared. Mission
The rewards that stem from this effort
are significant. Obviously, the financial
profit is a primary goal, but the spirit of
volunteerism, cooperation and "giving
back" that is generated throughout the
sale is priceless.
Interestingly, when former Garage
Sale chairpersons were asked to share
their memories about the project,
many referred to the relationships
forged with all the volunteers, the
spirit and warmth of yearly returning
customers and the profound sense of
community they experienced. Hochhe-
iser said it best, "It started out as a way
to raise funds, but we quickly found
that it turned into a tremendous way
to build a sense of community within
Beachwood and beyond."
Kirschenbaum stated, "It brought the
community together to volunteer not
just the parents, but people of all ages."
Hochheiser related a story about a
west side church that took some of the
garage sale "leftovers" to West Virginia
following a major disaster. A thank you
note was sent to the PTO by the pastor
who expressed his profound gratitude.
In this sense, it is realized that the work
is hard, but the rewards are many.
The PTO continues to follow the
tradition of donating leftover merchan-
dise at the close of the garage sale every
year. Recipients this year included NCJW,
Habitat for Humanity, Kids Book Bank,
Fatima Family Center and Med Wish. In
an effort to recognize and acknowledge
this same spirit of giving in our students,
the PTO, under Hochheiser's leadership,
funded the Beachwood Community
PTO Garage Sale Scholarship through
the Beachwood Schools Foundation.
With the exception of 2012, it has been
awarded annually to a deserving high
school senior since 2009.
A world of gratitude is extended to
the many who have helped to support
the 2016 fundraiser. Thanks to Mayor
Gorden and the City of Beachwood
for providing a new home for the
Garage Sale in 2015. An incredible
15,000 sq. ft. of city-owned space at
23550 Commerce Park in Beachwood
has been provided to the PTO for an
extended period of time to show-
case and sell the merchandise. City
employees always made themselves
available to tend to all maintenance
issues. A special thanks to Joe Arrietta,
Beachwood superintendent of build-
ing maintenance, who ensured that
every need was met. Justin Berns and
Alec Isaacson, Beachwood City Council
members, contributed valuable time
to many aspects of this endeavor,
particularly in participating in several
donation pick-ups of heavy furniture
items. In addition, the administra-
tion and Beachwood City School
District staff went above and beyond
to show their support by providing
and delivering tables, picking up all
heavy donations from private homes,
advertising via emails, and helping
to procure volunteers. Beachwood
Board of Education Vice President
Michael Zawatsky and his entire family
participated in the back-breaking
clean-up job. The Beachwood High
School football team, under the
direction of Coach Damien Creel,
and a host of students devoted free
time to volunteer with set-up as well
as assisting customers on sale days.
Community members came in droves
with wonderful donations. PTO mem-
bers gave countless hours of time to
organizing, pricing, cleaning, moving
merchandise, cashiering and assisting
customers. Former PTO members and
all past Garage Sale chairpersons also
returned to help out and contribute to
this worthwhile project.
Through the collaboration of PTO and
Diversity Matters, under the direction of
president Pam Rhodes, a team of dynamic
volunteers bagged all remaining apparel
that PTO shared with them as a part of a
fundraising drive for their organization.
Bob Reiner, Beachwood resident and own-
er of Joshen Paper and Supply, generously
donated paper products and supplies
to be sold and has done so since the in-
ception of the sale. Beachwood Place got
into the game by generously providing
hundreds of shopping bags. In all, over
110 dedicated volunteers stepped up to
help out. You see, it does take a village.
Will the Beachwood PTO Garage Sale
make a return appearance in 2017? Only
time will tell but organizers encourage
you to start saving items to be donated.
It is certain, however, that although all
volunteers walk away feeling very tired,
most are consumed by an overwhelming
feeling of extreme satisfaction. No price
tag can be put on that.
"It brought the community
together to volunteer
not just the parents,
but people of all ages."
Gayle Hochheiser
Brenda Shapiro
Jodi Zawatsky
Paula Rollins &
Jan Kirschenbaum