Fulmar Road Elementary and Lakeview Elementary School, along with schools throughout the nation, participated in the Great Kindness Challenge, January 28-February 1. Organized by the school’s Building Coordinator, Leigh Galione, and Assistant Principal, Elizabeth Blessing, this challenge was devoted to performing as many acts of kindness as possible in and out of the classroom. “From generously donating to a local food drive, to creating a kindness checklist at home, to reading kindness-focused literature, the students, teachers and staff all participated. You could really feel the kindness spirit throughout the schools,” said, Blessing.
Evidence of this kindness spirit was found in Jacqueline DiRusso’s third grade Lakeview class. During a group discussion, one of her students asked DiRusso if the class could do something to help other children. This immediately sparked enthusiasm from the entire class and they were on board.
DiRusso turned the idea into a teachable moment. She worked with the class on selecting a cause that benefited children. Collectively, the students discussed charity options and agreed to fundraise for the Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone in New York City. The hospital serves the tristate area, including Putnam County, for children with serious diseases, and those whom need surgery.
The students decided to host a “Valentine’s Day boutique” on February 13 to sell items to the Lakeview student body during their lunchtimes. Students spent their recess time creating items for sale, such as rainbow loom bracelets, student made books, and “slime”. A few of the student’s parent also donated small-gift items. Card Smart in Mahopac also donated items for the sale. DiRusso and her students also practiced their “sales pitch.” “We wanted our Lakeview peers to know that we were inspired by the Great Kindness Challenge and are raising money to help the lives of children who are very ill,” said DiRusso.
A total of $656.00 was raised. The check was delivered to Hassenfeld, along with hand-written stories and cards for the patients.
“Throughout the whole journey leading up to our fundraiser, the students and I had meaningful discussions about being aware of the needs of others, how to care for one another, and the true meaning of kindness. The students mindset was the idea of creating a little miracle - that is bigger than them to make a difference” said DiRusso.
For more information and to donate to Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital, go to https://nyulangone.org/locations/hassenfeld-childrens-hospital-34th-street