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The Community Foundation’s Blanche Beerman Holocaust Museum Fund has had another successful school year of providing an all-expenses paid trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. The fund has provided trips to 34 schools during the 2023-2024 school year in Cambria, Bedford, Somerset, Westmoreland, and Indiana counties, sending over 1,500 students to the museum.

Everett Area High School Musuem Trip

Founded by the late Abe and Janet Beerman, the Blanche Beerman Fund was created to give students a first-hand educational experience about the Holocaust. The fund has been able to send over 20,000 students to the museum since its inception in 2005. Nearly two decades later, the annual trips are still going strong, and many of our local students are grateful for the opportunity.

“Please know that these students appreciated this trip for so many reasons,” wrote Kimberly Shrift, Ferndale Area High School English teacher, in a thank you letter to the Community Foundation. “Many of our students have never visited Washington D.C. before, and although they could not take the time to walk around many monuments, they did drive past many and made their way on foot to the Washington Monument. The students were truly excited to see these monuments in person.”

“More importantly,” Shrift continued, “the USHMM’s artifacts, photographs, and videos made more real and more meaningful the horrors of the Holocaust. Much of what they read about in Wiesel’s Night or in Eva Fogelman’s Conscience and Courage: Rescuer of the Jews during the Holocaust became real and indisputable.”

Teachers are not the only ones who have expressed their appreciation for the trip. In exchange for the trip, the Beermans’ only request was that the students submit reflection projects to share what they learned at the museum. Every year the foundation receives essays, poems, artwork, and videos from hundreds of students that express not only how much they have learned but also how deeply the experience affects them.

“Doors of Death” by Emily Holsopple, a Ferndale Area High School Senior

“The Holocaust Museum was an eye opener for me,” wrote Ian Jeffreys, a Senior at Ferndale Area High School. “It showed me what humans are capable of, and seeing the model for Auschwitz at the museum really showed me how badly the Jews were mistreated. This experience is good for students because it shows the world how inhumanely humans can act.”

Our staff look forward to receiving the reflection projects because they are a testament to the Beermans’ wishes coming to life. The Community Foundation is always committed to meeting our donors’ intentions. The reflections are a reminder of why we do what we do. The projects are archived at Beth Sholom Congregation where the Beermans were once members.

Thanks to the generosity of the Beermans, students across our region will get to experience this life-changing trip for years to come. To donate to the Blanche Beerman Holocaust Museum Fund, click here. If you are interested in scheduling a trip for your school district, contact our office.

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