Riverside School recently held its second annual school-wide community service event, “Holidays for Haiti.”
Originally developed as a joint effort between the school and the PTA, the school’s community service initiative aims to connect students to communities in need and encourage a culture of giving back with its student population throughout the year.
Last year’s inaugural community service event partnered Riverside school with “Danita’s Children,” a local elementary school in Haiti that educates over 300 students in grades K-13. Approximately seventy of the students at Danita’s Children are orphans who live on campus, with another 250 children living in neighboring communities.
Last year, Riverside students assembled over 300 packets and raised over $5,500 in gifts and necessities through the event.
Encouraged by last year’s success, Riverside will once again partnered with Danita’s Children for this year’s community service effort.
“Last year’s event was met with enormous enthusiasm and participation,” said Christopher Weiss, Principal, Riverside School, “Our goal is to choose projects that allow our students to give
back in tangible ways, and partnering with Danita’s Children again will give our students the opportunity to engage more deeply with that particular community that is in need.”
Leading up to the event, Riverside’s Student Council and Riverside Rangers helped build excitement for the event. Lunchtime presentations, poster-making and classroom visits took leading up to the after-school event.
All Riverside students are invited to come at that time with their parents or caregivers to select a child to support, decorate a card and send them a card along with the gift.
Gift choices include a range of necessity options such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, socks and clothes.
Additionally, this year one of Danita’s Children’s orphans, Donken Christopher Andre, aged 23, spoke about Danita’s Children, what the conditions in Haiti are like, and the increasing need for events like the one at Riverside School.
“The living conditions for children in Haiti is one that is unimaginable for many children in America to understand,” said Safiya Key, Assistant Principal, Riverside School, “Having someone who can describe first-hand what the conditions in Haiti are like, and what their own personal journey has been is an invaluable lesson for our students; one that will resonate in meaningful and lasting ways.”