Earlier this fall, 7-year-old Martin “MJ” Gusky Jr. came up with an idea to help other kids during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gusky is homeschooled but has several friends who attend public school. He wanted to make sure they had supplies to stay healthy while learning. To accomplish this, Gusky launched Project Good Shepherd.
Using his own money and donations received from family friends, Gusky secured 70 bottles of hand sanitizer and face masks. When Bill and Julie Dotson, friends of the Gusky family, heard MJ used his own money to buy supplies, they gave Gusky face masks to donate.
On Friday, Oct. 30, Gusky donated the items to the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center. Gusky chose to make his donation to the Gwynn Center because one of his close friends once attended a program there. His family also knew Principal Daphne Burns from her time as an administrator at Mary B. Neal Elementary School.
“He wanted to make sure other kids were safe at school. Mrs. Burns was so supportive to our family when our daughter was in school and we are thankful for that,” Gusky’s mom, Dawn, said.
Gusky was excited to present Burns with the donations. “I wanted to help others. This was fun to do,” he said. As Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) moves to Phase 2 of in-person learning on Nov. 9, Burns said the donation will support both teachers and students. “My teachers are excited for the supplies to help support them as they support students back at school,” Burns said.
Burns presented Gusky with several thank you cards created by teachers. “We all appreciate what you have done. Thank you for your generous donation and for thinking of our students and staff,” Burns told Gusky.
Outside of being a role model for other youth, Gusky said he likes to play hockey, baseball and the piano. His favorite subject is math and he loves to read the popular book series “Goosebumps.”
Gusky presented his donation to Burns outside of the Gwynn Center to follow CCPS safety guidelines. Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kimberly Hill, Board of Education Chairperson Virginia McGraw, Vice-Chairperson Latina Wilson, and Member Elizabeth Brown took part in the donation presentation. “This is a great thing for a 7-year-old to do… thinking about others during a pandemic. He certainly is a role model for other children,” Hill said.
Also joining Gusky for the donation were Charles County Commissioner President Reuben Collins and Commissioner Gilbert Bowling. “Thank you for your work as a young leader in our community,” Collins said as he presented Gusky with a proclamation from the Board of County Commissioners. Gusky said he will continue to help the community and has plans to participate in a mentorship program with Bowling.