BRONXVILLE STUDENTS GIVE BACK
The Bronxville Community has a long standing tradition of volunteerism, a strong willingness of the community to work on behalf of others without the expectation of pay or other tangible gain.
That spirit and tradition is nurtured within the Bronxville School. As early as Elementary School the students are encouraged to be involved in making their school community a better place.
In Middle School, a Community Service Club exists, enabling our students to help those less fortunate than ourselves. Serving others builds our sense of community and strengthens the bond between us. The club’s motto is “we can all lend a helping hand to those in need”.
In High School there are an overwhelming number of examples of the way our Students Give Back. One example is the Bronxville Youth Council, Inc., which is the primary vehicle for High School students to get involved in a wide variety of community service activities. The BYC is sponsored by several organizations in the community and is steered by an Executive Council made up of parent advisors, a teacher liaison and elected student representatives from the 10th. 11th and 12th grades. The BYC’s purpose is to promote and enhance the life experiences of Bronxville’s young people by providing a vehicle for interaction and communication with the community and for channeling their energies, ideas and contributions. There are also many avenues for helping others through the numerous clubs in the High School.
Here is a list of just some of the ways in which our students give back. Please note that this is not a comprehensive list. As we continue to learn more we will add to this impressive collection of ways our children are giving back and it will be posted under the voluntarism tab in the left hand banner of the website. If you have information on an activity that should be added, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Halloween Candy Drive – The Elementary School’s annual post-Halloween candy drive provided 780 pounds of candy to Food Patch, a local food pantry.
• Unicef Collection – $3,863.82 was collected by Bronxville students on Halloween night for the Trick or Treat Unicef Program.
• Student Council – Last year ES Student Council members, in conjunction with the PTA Elementary Council, planned an event to help raise money for Smile Train (a non-profit that provides free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries). The Council will again raise money for a cause this year, however, they are still in the planning stages and specifics have not yet been finalized. The Council is also working working on an ES food drive and visiting the younger ES classes to talk to them about checking expiration dates on the food they plan to donate.
• Recycling Program – In conjunction with researching environmental issues, our 5th graders are working with their 1st grade buddies to jumpstart the recycling program in the school building. The buddies will work together on advertising and promoting recycling by making posters and giving short presentations to classes in the ES.
• Relationship with Elementary School in Ecuador - The fifth graders are also connecting with students in the El Triunfo School in Ecuador. Bronxville 5th graders worked to raise money for El Triunfo’s internet service by completing laps around the track. Representatives from each class have also been working with Senora Guzman on a short book which will be sent over to El Triunfo. All students created holiday cards in Spanish that were sent over as well. We hope to hear back from our e-pals very soon to learn more about their country and culture.
• LitWorld – Some of our Elementary School classes are corresponding with the Red Rose School in Kenya in connection with our school-wide global awareness initiative and our work with LitWorld’s School to School Project. LitWorld is a non-profit organization that supports literacy education for students and teachers around the world. This School-to-School program aims to connect schools in the US with schools in Africa. The hope is that it will raise awareness among our students, spurring them to change the world for the better. For the holiday season, the participating Elementary School classes held a book drive in order to send books to their buddies in Kenya. For more info on LitWorld, please visit their website www.litworld.org.
• Jeans Drive – A group of 8th grade boys spearheaded a “Help the Jeanless” Collection for donations of men’s jeans to be given out during one of Bronxville’s Midnight Runs (organized runs taking food, clothing and conversation to people living on the streets of New York City).
• Shoe Collection for Kabul – The Middle Schoolers helped spread the word and collected winter shoes for children (ages 5-12 years old) in Kabul, Afghanistan. This effort was spearheaded by a MS mom, Shaun O’Neil, in connection with soldiers at the U.S. army base in Kabul.
• Reformed Church Nursery School’s Harvest Moon Festival– The Middle Schoolers helped staff booths with games, arts and crafts, hair, nails and tattoos for the Reformed Church Nursery School’s Harvest Moon Festival fundraiser.
• Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen –About one evening every month, approximately 10 students volunteer at the Community Service Associates Soup Kitchen in Mount Vernon, serving a hot dinner to over 70 of their clients.
• Cooking for Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen – In December, a group of students made chili and cornbread which was donated to the Sacred Heart Soup Kitchen to be served at one of their dinner sessions. We will be having other cooking nights throughout the school year. Donations of canned beans and tomatoes and cornbread mix will be collected at Teen Centers and Grade level parties.
• Breakfast Run – On a bright but chilly Sunday morning in November, students met at the Reformed Church at 6:30am to prepare for a Breakfast Run. They helped pack up the hot and cold breakfast items as well as clothing and packs of toiletries that would be distributed. They then went set up tables on the corner of 28th and 9th in Manhattan and served breakfast and handed out the clothing and toiletry items to over 70 homeless people. We hope to do another Breakfast Run in the late spring.
• Westhab Playgroups – About one Saturday every month, students go to the Reformed Church to host a playgroup with crafts and lunch for the mother and children from the Yonkers Westhab shelter, an organization that gives abused women and children a safe haven while they try to start a new life.
• MS Global Ambassador Program – The Middle Schoolers are also doing their part globally by raising money to help fight world hunger and support other programs. For more information, click here
• Andrus Children’s Center – The 9th graders hosted a Holiday Party for students living at the Andrus Children’s Center.
• Breakfast Club – A group of HS students meets weekly at 7AM to sew together sleeping bags for the homeless. They collect old blankets and coats for the construction of the sleeping bags.
• Bronxville Youth Council Activities – The Bronxville Youth Council students are involved in numerous community service activities including Meals on Wheels, City Squash, basketball with handicapped, organizing holiday parties, field trips and other events for the children resident at Graham-Windham (a residential treatment center), Midnight and Breakfast Runs, programs with Life Skills students, hosting the annual Family Talent Night and the annual Community Halloween Parade, and planning and sponsoring multi-grade HS parties at various times during the school year to give Bronxville students a chance to get together in a safe and fun environment.
• Food Pantries – The Football Team spent a couple weekend days collecting food for food pantries in Westchester County.
• Graham-Windham - For the holiday season, the Bronxville Youth Council (BYC) sponsored Christmas Stockings for the 32 children who remained on the Graham-Windham campus for the Christmas Holiday. The Youth Council parent sponsors purchased the stockings and some of the "goodies" for the stockings and the members of the BYC (as well as an overwhelming number of other Bronxville students) purchased additional items so the stockings were full and FUN.
• Hearts to Home – The Youth Council continues its support of our overseas troops by sending calling cards to Iraq and Afghanistan. They have raised over $51,000 since January 2008 and have sent over 3,000 cards to Camp Bucca in Iraq and Camp Phoenix in Afghanistan for calls home. The program has grown from a school event to a full community effort with the support of The Rotary Club, Houlihan Lawrence, Meals on Wheels, The Firemen’s Union, The American Legion of Westchester, The Service Station Dealers of Westchester, The Boy Scouts and the Senior Citizens. The students hope this program will make holidays much easier for the soldiers, as well as their families, to be able to phone home. They will be sending another batch of cards for Valentines Day with donations that they receive prior to February 2nd.
• Human Rights Coalition – The Human Rights Coalition works to educate the student body and community about what is happening around the world and ways in which we can give back globally. Currently they are working on an educational debate regarding Guantanamo Bay, a film festival which will show human rights films and include speakers and panels to discuss current human rights issues such as refugee rights, Guantanamo Bay, child labor laws and fair trade practices.
• 9thGraders – A number of our 9th grade students sold Christmas Cards and held Bake Sales as fundraisers for Blythedale and sent care packages to the US troops (three of whom are BHS graduates). The student Lunch Club meets every other week during their lunch period to make crafts, etc. to send to the troops.
• NicaraguaClub- The Nicaragua Club is in full swing, with an eye on its April Spring Break trip to build homes with the parent organization, Bridges to Community. The twenty-two member club is busy brainstorming ideas for fund-raising to offset the costs of the trip. Eight members are returning to Nicaragua for their second time! Teacher/Moderators Jim Agnello, Anthony Vaglica, and Beth Agarabi are impressed with the group's spirit and altruism.
• Spanish Club – Through the Spanish Club, a group of students are offering weekly Spanish lessons to Georgianne Stewart’s Life Skills classes. In addition, the student members of the club are donating $150 of club money to Heifer International for the purchase of a llama that will be given in their name to a poor family in Bolivia. The money will be replenished through bake sale fundraisers.
I think we will all agree after reading this impressive array of contributions, that our students do understand and value the importance of Giving Back to those less fortunate in our local and global community. We should all be very proud of them and also thank all of our teachers for nurturing, advising, facilitating and supporting this community spirit. Most of these activities are faculty sponsored and would not be possible to the same degree without the generous donation of their time.