Brooklyn Students Get Into The Thanksgiving Spirit With Community Outreach Programs
Students at the Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented are giving back to their community this week by donating items to families in need and banding together with first graders from Staten Island. NY1’s Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.
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Coney Island resident Ben Baker carried home his package of Thanksgiving food Tuesday. He picked it up in the lobby of nearby Intermediate School 239, known as the Mark Twain School for the Gifted and Talented. Students donated the items and wrapped them for dozens of neighborhood families.
"I appreciate it. We don't much help out here as it is. I highly appreciate the opportunity to go somewhere when you need a little help," said Baker.
There was another community outreach effort in the school's library. Seventh grade students partnered with elementary school kids as reading mentors.
"So we started this partnership in an effort to bridge the gap from elementary school to middle school, and the common ground, of course, being the love of books, and what better time than now in the Thanksgiving season, where we could give back to our community and our neighbors?" said assistant principal Rosanna Conenna.
Seventy-five first graders from PS 3 on Staten Island traveled to Brooklyn to work with the middle school students as part of the leadership program.
"Everyone took a vote and then the vote was that we would read to kids in PS 3 and the principal approved it and we were able to make it happen," said seventh grader Ayana Merritt.
The seventh graders made blank bound books and then worked with the elementary students to write and illustrate a Thanksgiving Day story.
"It was really fun making this book," said first grader David Falzone.
"I would say it was more like a teamwork project, because it was us and the younger people working together," said seventh grader Bhajhan Williams.
New principal Karen Ditolla created the program this year.
"What I hope they take away from this is that's it's very important to give back and to use your skills," said Ditolla.
And her students are learning to give with their skills, their time and their donations.