Last week we asked you to help Cayla Clarke, a 20-year-old Community Steps Transition Program student, who was holding a bake sale to raise money for a memorial scholarship in memory of a cousin she lost one year ago. The bake sale, at the Wilton Family Y this past Saturday, was a success, says Cayla’s mom, Theresa Clarke–thanks to the response from Wilton residents and GMW readers.

“It was amazing,” Theresa emailed. “The town baked the most wonderful cookies, muffins, cupcakes–I baked but they are master bakers! And Cayla made $319 for Alex’s Memorial Scholarship!”

The scholarship Cayla is helping to fund is an endowed scholarship for SUNY Geneseo communication majors. Cayla’s cousin, Alexandra Ciarcia (pictured, far left, with Cayla), was a student at SUNY Geneseo who would have graduated this past May, but she died tragically and unexpectedly from a seizure condition. According to a website about Ciarcia, “Alex experienced learning and college with unbridled passion and full commitment. Her first and greatest love was reading and writing. When she won a national award for Harry Potter Fan Fare, she knew her future [was] in communications and literary.”

Cayla has autism, and wanted to do something entrepreneurial to support the effort in honor of her cousin. She had help from two friends and former classmates, Darden Livesay (pictured with her above, at the sale) and Stephan Nobles, who volunteered to work alongside Cayla.

One thing Cayla took away from the experience was how much of a difference it makes when the community comes together to support not just her efforts, but a worthy cause. A similar effort in June only netted $49, so when the community stepped up this time to so generously support Cayla’s bake sale efforts meant so much.

“It felt like a lot of people cared about me, giving us all the goodies. It meant that a lot of people cared about Alex,” she said, adding, “Thanks so much!”

While Cayla has no additional bake sales scheduled, Wilton is still welcome to support the Alexandra Ciarcia Memorial Scholarship. Donations by check (with “Alexandra Ciarcia” written in the memo line) can be sent to SUNY Geneseo at the following address:

Ms. Miglena Charpied
Director of Development (Student & Campus Life)
SUNY at Geneseo
Doty Hall 239
1 College Circle
Geneseo, NY 14454