Jane Cosco is the pioneer and architect of Operation Goody Bag. After the tragedy of September 11th, Jane organized school activities that raised thousands of dollars for the Paramus Fire Department, Ambulance Corps, Police Department, Rescue Squad, and K-9 Rescue Dogs. On the 1st anniversary of September 11th, and every anniversary that has followed, Jane has organized the students to perform a “Night of Remembrance & Hope”. Community officials and town organizations, along with students and their families take this night to share the memories and emotions of September 11th, and honor those who serve to keep us safe and free. For 36 years, Jane’s work has embodied the mission of Paramus Public Schools to “create life-long learners who pursue their dreams and add value to the world.” Under her extraordinary vision and leadership, she has established a wonderful working relationship with the United States Navy. Each year, Operation Goody Bag students are invited to sail on an Aircraft Carrier from Norfolk, VA to New York City for the annual Fleet Week celebration. During these voyages the children mingle with active duty sailors and marines, personally distribute thousands of goody bags throughout the ship, and perform their “Night of Remembrance & Hope” for these true American heroes.
Alongside Jane, 5 East Brook Middle School graduates worked tirelessly for more than 11 years to take Operation Goody Bag where it is today. In 2011, founding students Matt Kaplan, Stephen Zisa, Max Benat, Olivia Gorman, and Kristen Rayner were awarded the LIFETIME PRESIDENTIAL VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARD upon completing 4,000 hours of volunteer service. While most community volunteers take a lifetime to attain this status, these 5 amazing students, through their diligence and their sacrifice have attained this level of achievement before graduating High School.
Operation Goody Bag owes these students a debt of gratitude for their sustained commitment to recognizing and honoring First Responders, Troops, and Veterans. Through their example of selfless service, these 5 students inspire a commitment to service in others.