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Budd Lake’s Mancho is a Hero To School for Special Students

From left: Matheny president Steve Proctor,
Francis' father Joseph and mother Maureen,
Francis, Matheny volunteer coordinator Gail
Cunningham and Matheny School vice principal
Sean Murphy.

By PHIL GARBER, Managing Editor

Soft spoken Francis Mancho is the kind of budding entrepreneur the world could use more of.  A senior at Mount Olive High School, Mancho, 18, will be studying business in the fall at LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA.

But this is no self-centered capitalist.  For the past four summers, Mancho has been volunteering to improve the lives of students with severe disabilities at the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack-Gladstone.  The young businessman said he’s gotten more than he’s given from working with the students at the center.  "I feel touched to be working with them," he said.  "They show me a lot about appreciating what you have and working with people who are less fortunate."

Mancho was surprised to learn last Thursday (June 16) that he had been recognized for his efforts by the Jenny Jones Foundation, founded by the syndicated television talk show host.  Mancho had applied for funding to buy special computers for the school.  As one of "Jenny’s Heroes", Mancho will receive a $3,000 grant to buy the computers for use by the students.

Students will use the two new HP Touchsmart 610 xt series computers to sell organic produce grown by Mancho at a garden at his church in Flanders.  The students sell the produce to Matheny staff members at their Tea Time Café, but they cannot ring up sales on the cash register because of their physical limitations.  Instead they rely on teachers to handle a cash register with a keyboard.

“It was an eye opening experience for me to learn that there people with serious life long challenges like this in our society,” said Mancho, who has volunteered at Matheny since the summer of his eighth grade year.


(Adapted from an article that appeared on the front page of the June 23, 2011, issue of the Mount Olive Chronicle).

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