Volume 75, Number 23 | Oct. 26 - Nov. 01, 2005

Villager photo by Lorenzo Ciniglio

Big effort from Little Red/Elisabeth Irwin

An LREI school Katrina-recovery benefit on Oct. 17, organized by junior Javier Picayo — seen above at the benefit with actor Richard Gere — raised over $16,000 for Habitat for Humanity’s hurricane relief effort. It is the second successful benefit organized by Picayo, who has attended LREI — which has schools on Bleecker and Charlton Streets in Greenwich Village — for 14 years. Earlier this year, he organized a Southeast Asian tsunami-relief benefit with equal success. Following the Gulf disaster, Phil Kassen, director of LREI, said he was repeatedly asked, “Is Javier going to do another benefit?” Both efforts were the brainchild of the 11th-grader, who contacted Broadway performers to headline the benefit concerts. His classmates pitched in to make the event a success. “It’s the outcome of a great progressive education,” Kassen said. “To have a can-do attitude.” Kassen said Gere is a friend of the school.

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