This year the RSS Second Grade Read-A-Thon provided students with not only a chance to read a few good books, but also to execute a community service project for a Staten Island school affected by Superstorm Sandy. Second graders participated in the project from start to finish: they collected pledges, set reading goals, read independently, collected donations, shopped for books at the 82nd Street Barnes & Noble, and finally, saw the results of their hard work.
The students ended up collecting about $8,600 in donations from their sponsors while engaging in purposeful and meaningful lessons across the RSS curriculum and mission. After the Second Graders picked out books at Barnes & Noble with Elementary Librarian Elizabeth Shaw, RSS Second Grade teachers and developers of the project, Nina Levi and Emily Karen, hand-delivered their book selections and a large number of American Express gift cards to the storm–damaged PS 38 George Cromwell School in Midland Beach.
Midland Beach was hard hit by the storm and the ocean’s waters flooded every home from the shoreline to the PS 38 school building a half a mile inland. Principal Everlidys Robles explained that the water damaged the school’s playground, a small annex for support staff and the flooring in most of the school building, as well as countless instructional materials and computers.
In the face of the recovery, her greatest worry is for the families who are still displaced and are accruing heavy debt to rebuild. When asked what kinds of donations would be most useful to the school, Ms. Robles suggested gift cards that would help continue to support PS 38 students and their families. According to Mercedes Chow, the PS 38 Parent Coordinator, the donated funds and books will help about 100 families. Our new friends at PS 38 noted that the recovery is slow, but that the children are resilient and celebrate the bittersweet fortunes of individual students as each family “gets to go home.”
Second graders at RSS were excited to hear about their teachers’ trip to Staten Island and liked that they were able to help kids who had “classrooms just like ours!”. Their philanthropic and literary efforts show how the curriculum at RSS interacts intimately with our mission to create students who are “socially responsible leaders.” Many thanks to our Second Grade students and faculty for setting a terrific example for all of us.
Located in New York City, Rodeph Sholom School is a coeducational nursery through eighth grade Reform Jewish independent school.
10 West 84th Street and 168 West 79th Street · New York, NY 10024