By Lorraine DiSano
With the holidays right around the corner, the mentor classes are getting prepared to do their part, whether it be through gifts or charitable donations.
In past years, mentor classes have celebrated the upcoming holiday season with a party and gift exchange between the classes. Mr. Andriello explained that “It was a nice way to celebrate the season, but teachers and students began asking if there was a more meaningful way for our classes to get involved in ‘the spirit of giving’.” This longing for an opportunity to give back to neighboring communities is what led to a partnership with the Ronald McDonald House in Valhalla, NY.
The Ronald McDonald House is a place for families to stay while their child is in a nearby hospital. Many families have to travel to obtain adequate treatment for their child and end up having to spend countless days and nights in the hospital. The Ronald McDonald House allows families to focus on making sure that their child receives the best care possible, without having to worry about a place to stay. In addition, parents are able to better communicate with their child’s doctors. At every house, there are home-cooked meals, private bedrooms, internet access, playrooms for children, and laundry and shower facilities. The best part of the house is that the costs to stay are little to none.
This year, the mentor program decided to raise money to spread some much needed holiday cheer to these families in need! In every mentor class, each child can make a donation up to $20 from December 1st to the 15th. Each mentor class will be assigned a family that is staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and then with the money that is raised, they will buy gifts for the family.
On December 18, the mentors will go to target to buy the presents, which will be suited to the needs of each family. Then on December 21, the freshmen will get a chance to become involved with the gift exchange! They will get to wrap the presents, and afterward, they will have an opportunity to make gingerbread houses, and ‘do it yourself’ crafts like candy vases and lollipop trees. This is a fun and exciting way to get the freshman involved in the process. Later that night, the senior mentors will travel to the Ronald McDonald House and deliver the gifts.
After all of the giving, on the 22nd, the mentor classes will have a holiday party. They will not only be celebrating the upcoming winter break but the fact that they had a part in helping families to make their holiday seasons a bit merrier.
The freshman are especially excited to give back! Anika Kumar, a freshman, stated, “I think it’s a great idea for the mentors and mentees to spread some holiday joy, and take the time to think about others who are going through a hard time.” The mentors are also happy to do their part in giving back. Jillian Morley, a mentor, says, “I think it’s an amazing way to remind students that not everyone has the same happy holidays as them and that there are others close by in the community who are struggling to cope with having a sick loved one, let alone worry about what presents they have to get.” This gift-giving program is a great opportunity to bring everyone together and give back. Even though it is always fun to receive gifts, the feeling of giving back is truly priceless!