EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – The entire village of Tuckahoe is coming together to help an enterprising teenager reach the highest level of the Boy Scouts of America while beautifying the local library.
Sebastian Maroun, 14, has begun his Eagle Scout project, a requirement to earn the illustrious distinction in the Scouts. He will be working with the community and local officials to construct a reading garden in front of the Tuckahoe Public Library.
The Eastchester High School sophomore helped design the reading garden, and it will be constructed by his Boy Scout troop and volunteers from the community. Frank DiMarco has agreed to work closely with the children and will oversee the project.
“The library has been a big part of my life, so for my Eagle Project, I knew I wanted to give back to them,” Maroun said. “It’s going to be fully built by the community, and by children who live in Tuckahoe. A lot of people get architects to do this type of thing, and this is a handmade project from the community.”
The outdoor garden will be erected near the walkway leading to the library. It will include a horseshoe seating area, trees, plants, flowers, lattice to obscure the view from the train tracks, sculptures and a place for art submitted by the community.
Work is expected to take until the summer, as Maroun and the library begin funding for the $5,000 project this week.
“It’s an elaborate project for a sophomore, but that’s the good thing about the Boy Scouts. You throw them in the water at an early age, watch and help them swim,” Sebastian’s father, Al, said. “Giving back to your community is one of the best things you can do with your life.”
In order to get the necessary approval for the project from the village, Sebastian had to present his plan to the Friends of the Tuckahoe Public Library and the Board of Trustees, all of whom were emphatically on board with the plan.
“Sebastian’s Eagle Scout project is a well thought out endeavor that involves project management, administration, fundraising, execution and his project creates a benefit to the entire community,” Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond said. “His project will provide many years of enjoyment to our residents that use the library.”
In order to ascertain the necessary funds for his Eagle Scout project, Maroun has been busy planning his first fundraiser, which again will benefit the community. He - along with the library staff – is hosting a Halloween costume party from 3 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at the Community Center. Students in grades three through six are invited to dress up, play games, enjoy contests and cupcake decorating once they’ve paid ($7 for children; $5 for adults) at the door.
According to his father, this isn’t the first time Sebastian has undertaken a massive fundraising effort. Last year, he raised more than $6,000 to benefit cancer research.
“It’s going to take some money to do this. He doesn’t have to raise every penny, but he has to do as much as he can,” he said. “The whole town has been really supportive. Everyone we’ve spoken to has already offered to help out, it’s a full community project.”
Sebastian has been coming to the library for more than a decade, since he was a boy. Librarian Ellen Tannenbaum even landed him a summer job working as a "library ambassador."
"We've been very lucky to watch Sebastian grow up in our library. He has gone from a children's room participant, to spending last summer in the Westchester Library System's Learning Ambassador program working with kids, to working on his Eagle Scout project," she said.."His loyalty to his community is outstanding. This project, which will benefit library users, is a reflection of that."