, Newburyport, MA

January 17, 2014

Relay for Life, AHS Grad Night need your support

The Amesbury Beat
Officer Tom Hanshaw

---- — As I mentioned in the inaugural edition of “The Amesbury Beat,” I will often change hats and write about community service instead of policing in my column. So this week I would like to share some information about a couple causes that are near to my heart.

If your home is like mine, there is no shortage of requests for donations. Although many are worthy causes, no one can support them all and scams are too frequent. In fact, I encourage residents to donate locally, because the needs in our own communities have never been greater.

This is the 12th year of the American Cancer Society Relay For Life and plans are well underway for the event, scheduled for Aug. 16. The ACS just celebrated a milestone: a 20 percent decline in the cancer death rate since 1991. At this point, we need teams to sign up and help raise money, which provides patient services, promotes prevention and funds research. Families, groups of friends, businesses, civic groups and others are welcome and truly needed. There’s no restriction on team size and no minimum donation needed; every dollar brings us a step closer to a cure. Teams do as much as they can but together make a huge difference in the fight against cancer. Visit the website at or call Shannon Archer at 781-314-2678 for more details. Although called the Relay For Life of Amesbury, our efforts serve residents throughout the area.

The Class of 2014 graduation is still a few months away, but the AHS Grad Night Committee is already marching. In the next few weeks, the annual business appeal will be mailed and your support is truly needed. The program provides a safe, supervised, substance-free and secret night of activities for graduates after their ceremony. They are bused to various locations and treated to food, fun, fellowship and fond memories. No two Grad Nights are exactly the same and past classes have embarked on boat cruises, an indoor carnival, roller-skated, attended comedy shows and even checked out a video game paradise. It’s an opportunity for the young adults to spend their last night as a class together before they venture into the world.

Various fundraisers are held throughout the year to support the program and reduce costs for participants. It’s truly a community effort, combining resources to keep them safe at a time when we too often hear about a tragedy. The cost for a Grad Night averages between $12,000-$15,000 and leftover funds help start efforts for future classes. Donations may be made to the AHS Grad Night Program, P.O. Box 57, Amesbury 01913 or left at the high school office. If you have questions about the program, please contact the committee secretary, Linda Lynch, at and no donation is too small. I have been a part of the committee for five years and it’s great to see the commitment and dedication toward keeping graduates safe; they are the future of our community.


Tom Hanshaw is the crime prevention officer for the Amesbury Police Department.