Our children have been hard at work all year, not just on academics but on a long and impressive list of philanthropic endeavors, too.
By Annette McLoughlin
Our children have been hard at work all year, not just on academics but on a long and impressive list of philanthropic endeavors, too. Some of those charitable efforts are supported by the PTOs; some are managed by a school department, others by individual teachers; some are student clubs; and several are created by big-hearted students. Much of their work benefits local agencies and some contributes to national organizations. The list of these acts of love is long and the beneficiaries of it are many.
Midland and Osborn schools both held holiday toy drives this month. The hundreds of toys collected by Midland will be shared between the Port Chester Housing Authority and the Andrus Children’s Home in Yonkers. The Osborn’s sleigh-full of toys will land at the Thomas Edison Elementary School in Port Chester.
In the fall, the kind souls at both schools helped to stuff a bus full of pajamas and books for the Pajama Program, which is a national initiative to supply these very basic and important elements of bedtime comfort to children who wouldn’t otherwise have them and who live in group homes, shelters, and temporary housing facilities.
Throughout the holiday season, the fifth graders from Midland, Milton, and Osborn used their angelic voices to fill the hearts and raise the spirits of a group of seniors at Rye Recreation; the residents of The Osborn; and the young patients of the Blythedale Children’s Hospital.
Since school started this year, Milton children showed their generous collective spirit by donating school supplies that were distributed to programs supported by Helping Hands for the Homeless & Hungry. They collected Halloween candy for our troops and holiday food items for the Port Chester Carver Center’s Thanksgiving drive. And they also took part in two national campaigns: They used their heads to raise money for the annual, national Math-A-Thon for St Jude’s Children’s Hospital and they used their feet in a jump rope campaign to promote heart health (American Heart Association).
The busy little humanitarians at Osborn recently collected gently used clothing for the Sharing Shelf of Westchester, located in Port Chester. In November, they collected Thanksgiving turkeys for the Carver Center. And the school’s business-savvy students held a T-shirt sale to benefit Breast Cancer Awareness and a bake sale to benefit the Bread of Life food pantry.
In anticipation of winter, all of the elementary schools helped to provide warmth to those neediest in and around Westchester and New York City by participating in The Children’s Collective’s 25th annual coat drive. With the help of our schools, the organization managed to collect thousands of coats for adults and children who would otherwise have none this winter.
Our Middle School art students worked diligently for months this fall — both during and after school — to create and sell a beautiful body of artwork at a fundraising art show. Proceeds of the show benefit an organization that assists children who are victims of war. The work was on display at the Rye Art Center. Additionally, our gracious middle schoolers participated in literacy-related events and book sales to benefit breast cancer awareness and to contribute to local literacy programs.
At Rye High, our bigger students had bigger projects with an inspiring array of school-wide, club-based, and individual community outreach efforts. Throughout the year and around the school it is a hive of altruistic activity. Since September, students have collected and distributed bikes, Halloween costumes, winter coats, clothing, and food for those in our community who are in greatest need. They have adopted soldiers and raised funds for national causes.
They work in afterschool clubs to help raise awareness of serious issues, diseases, and adverse social conditions. They have a club to promote a better understanding of mental illness with the goal of removing the stigma associated with it. A new club this year promotes gender empowerment for a more inclusive society. They have clubs that work with food pantries and a new one that is knitting scarves for the homeless.
On one of the few cold Saturdays this fall, many of the sports teams joined together and jumped into a frigid LI Sound to raise money for the Special Olympics. This month, the drama troupe, the Parsons Street Players, is holding a month-long food and clothing drive to support the Bronx-based organization, Part of the Solution (POTS.) POTS is an outreach program that provides warm meals, clothing and social services for families in need. Also going on during the holidays is a Toys for Tots drive sponsored by the Principal’s Leadership Council; and many students have volunteered to answer letters to Santa.
It is a long list and probably not an exhaustive one. And though it goes without saying, it needs to be noted, that nearly all of the children’s efforts helping others are done with the support of teachers and administrators, volunteers, and, of course, parents.
Joy to all our children who are better people for the love and care they give back to the community and the world.