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NJHS Fundraiser Leads to Scholarship

When Oyster Bay High School freshman Matthew Carlinsky led a fundraiser through the school’s chapter of National Junior Honor Society (NJHS) last year, his choice was personal. Having lost his mother to cancer at age 4, Matthew wanted to help others who suffered a similar loss by raising funds and awareness for the Family Lives On Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps support the emotional well-being of children who have lost a parent.  


Through his efforts, which included hanging posters, making morning announcements, sharing the Foundation’s website and raffling off several beautifully arranged gift baskets, he and a committee comprised of NJHS peers raised $4,425, the highest raised by the school’s chapter in 17 years. Now, the Family Lives On Foundation is honoring Matthew by presenting him with its annual “1997 Scholarship Award,” a $500 award established last year in honor of the Foundation’s 20th anniversary. The scholarship is given to a child or teen in the Foundation’s Traditions Program who exemplifies its goal of post traumatic growth and resilience and can be used for academic pursuits, such as SAT preparation, computer equipment, or college or trade school applications.   


 “The Traditions Program definitely helped me cope with the loss,’ Matthew said, “so I ran this fundraiser because I wanted everyone to know about this organization and how valuable it is.” 


Through the Traditions Program, children get to relive an activity or tradition that was special to their parent. For Matthew, the tradition of baking for holidays and birthdays was important to his mother. So each year, the Foundation provides Matthew with baking supplies so he and his dad can bake cookies or cupcakes and decorate them with different themes to celebrate her birthday and honor her memory.


Matthew will accept the scholarship at the Foundation’s annual Traditions Ball on Saturday, Dec. 1 in the Grand Ballroom of the Valley Forge Casino Resort in King of Prussia, PA and will speak to the audience about the impact the Traditions Program has had on his life and on the highlights of his fundraising project.


Matthew said, “I take the scholarship as a sign of gratitude. I’m definitely happy that not only me, but everyone else who donated toward the fundraiser, was able to help out a lot.”


Matthew hopes to continue assisting families on Long Island through the Traditions Program and is working with his contacts there to see how he can help. For more information about the Family Lives On Foundation, visit or call 610-458-1960.