It is an investment that has been reaping big rewards among students on the Hamden High School Dance Team and they are looking beyond their classroom for help. Lynsey Teulings, a sophomore at the high school, initiated “Dancing for a Difference,” a program that helps to collect “Cartridges For A Cure” to benefit leukemia, lymphoma and Alzheimer’s disease.
As of April 2, Teulings, 16, has collected 721 cartridges and received almost $872 for charities with the help of 12 schools in the town of Hamden, the Miller Library, Yale and Quinnipiac University. Teulings, with the help of her mother, Cathy, sends the cartridges they receive to a unique local consortium.
Green School Project is a membership of schools, libraries, non-profit organizations and businesses committed to reducing waste and helping the environment. They provide all of the necessary materials to collect and send in empty cartridges, and then they pay $1.50 for every cartridge they’re able to recycle. The cartridges cannot be broken, generic or already recycled.
“Our goal is to collect as many cartridges as we can to give back to the community,” Teulings said. “Our long range goal is to collect over 5,000 over a three-year period.”
Gerri Mauhs, the textbook coordinator for the eFollet Bookstore, has been helping out with the project ever since her fifth grade son, Connor, came home with the flyer. Since November, she has collected over 70 cartridges.
“Recycling in general is important,” she said. “But when you can do it for someone else, it’s more beneficial. It’s something that I did for my son. He brought it home from school and I decided to get involved.”
Teulings started “Dancing for a Difference” because she wanted to combine her love and passion of dance with her desire to make a difference in people’s lives. “I think that giving back to the community is something we all love to do,” Teulings said. “We want to give back to community, help charities, clean up the environment and help out a good cause.”
Last September, Teulings took her thoughts of dancing at charitable events and elderly homes to her coaches of the Hamden High School Dance Team. After scheduling dance events, she came across an article about a young boy from Baltimore, Maryland named Eli Kahn, a cancer survivor, in a “Young Hero” article in the Land’s End catalog. He was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common form of childhood cancer, in 1993. Teulings was able to contact Kahn and promised that half the money “Dancing for a Difference” raises from the cartridges this year would go to his leukemia fund.
As a reward for collecting the most cartridges, the dance team, consisting of 31 girls, will perform in the spring at schools that donated over 100 cartridges. The group already plans to dance for the March of Dimes, American Heart Association and the Relay for Life in Cheshire in the spring.
For more information, email Lynsey Teulings at [email protected] or bring your cartridges down to the bookstore and drop them in the cardboard box by the door.
(Editor’s Note: One of Quinnipiac University’s “unofficial” recycling projects are helping to fund research for several major diseases. It involves a partnership between a University bookstore employee and a Hamden High School student.)
FACT: More than 400 million cartridges go into our landfill each year.