We sat down with Liz Reinemo and Adriene Lombardi, two local teachers who head up The Harvey Foundation, an Island organization focused on creating programs to enhance the experiences of youth of Nantucket. We covered everything from working with the kids to what is at the top of their Christmas list this year. Adriene, a Nantucket native, always knew she wanted to be a teacher and cherish those moments where she can connect her students to the Nantucket community. Liz arrived on Island over 13 years ago and realized while in school that her time was best spent with teenagers so her career as a teacher and involvement in the Harvey Foundation was a natural fit. Both women have had a profound impact on the community through their work with the organization and their dedication to teaching and enriching the lives of kids.
How long have you lived on Nantucket?
Liz: I have been on Nantucket for 13 years.
Adriene: My whole life.
Have you always wanted to work with kids?
Liz: Yes. I majored in social work, but then switched to English, and realized my time was best spent among teenagers.
Adriene: I have always known I wanted to be a teacher. Yes.
What is the most rewarding moment you have had working with Nantucket’s youth?
Adriene: Any time I have the opportunity to connect my students with our community. One example that I am very proud of is We Are Nantucket. I have been working with the Nantucket Dreamland the past couple of years along with Nancy Newhouse and NCTV18 to present a film called “We Are Nantucket”, where 7th graders interview members of our community. The underlying theme is featuring the lure of Nantucket and how we all came to call this island our home.
What is the Harvey Foundation?
Liz: The Harvey Foundation is a local nonprofit that works with the pathfinders to empower and assist the pathfinders of education, athletics and community service.
How did you get involved?
Adriene: When my mother was killed we started up a scholarship in her name. I knew that I wanted to do something more than a scholarship and quickly looked into how to start a non-profit. I reached out to some close friends/family to help me and started the Harvey Foundation in 2015. It was important to me to create a broader reach. Something organic that could meet some island needs that weren’t being met, while having a sustainability that could survive the many non-profits already established here on Nantucket.
Liz: Robin Harvey was an inspiration and mentor to me. In the face of tremendous adversity, Mrs. Harvey handled herself with such grace and poise. She consistently sought out ways to help others. I admired and aspired to emulate her service to the community. Adriene approached me to ask me to be on the board of the Harvey Foundation at its inception. I am incredibly grateful to be part of this team, as it has been the most meaningful volunteer work I have done.
What is the most embarrassing moment you have had as a teacher?
Liz: Probably every time I challenge someone to 3 point knockout in the gym. I hustle my whole class down there, talk a big game, and then immediately remember, I am twice their age, and my shot doesn’t quite drop how I remember!
Adriene: I am such a cry baby when I read. I can not tell you the last time I made it through a book or movie for that matter without crying. When I am reading in class with my students (typically an independent Young Adult Fiction book) I cry. I try and keep it cool and casually grab a tissue and pretend it’s not happening. Usually, someone notices and I announce how sad the book that I am reading is and grab more tissues. The only good part is they warn me of what movies/books I should avoid because they are too sad.
Is it a challenge raising kids on Nantucket?
Liz: Raising kids on Nantucket can be challenging, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! There is something about small town life. When you walk into the grocery store in February or March and you know everyone, or have taught their niece, or son and they know your children by name. The homecoming parade up Main Street, local theater productions highlighting our kids in a big way, trivia nights, fundraisers to help one another in the community out, this is small town America at its best. I am proud to call Nantucket home.
Adriene: I love living on Nantucket. It bums me out to hear people complain about it losing its charm, beauty or character, that it’s not like it used to be. The network of our year round community is powerful and beautifully supportive. I feel so blessed to live here and proud to be able to raise my children here.
Liz, Your husband owns Nantucket Tackle, who is a better fisherman, you or your husband?
Liz: Probably, Matt, he did “catch” me ; )
What do you hope Santa brings you for Christmas?
Adriene: A beautiful machine that makes the perfect cup of coffee.