Admiral Byrd Students Making a Difference at Hope Center
“The mission of this project is to bring hope to people who have cancer, to say to them that we care. We are doing this project because we want to make a difference in this school and to bring hope to other people.” -Eddie Prieto, Admiral Byrd Fifth Grade Student
During the season of giving, Admiral Byrd students and staff are focusing their efforts to help with a need of significant importance over the holidays – helping others who have a serious illness.
Starting in October and continuing through March of next year, the students, staff, and community at Admiral Byrd are donating supplies, money, and time in abundance to help Phil’s Friends, a not-for-profit organization that helps provide support and hope for those affected by cancer.
The Byrd community donated activity books, journals, tissues, and more to make the lives of those with cancer a little more comfortable. Teachers at Byrd also donated money and supplies so that each classroom could make homemade blankets to donate something specially crafted by hand.
The students’ altruism will be highlighted throughout the year by their experience of visiting one of Phil’s Hope Centers in Roselle where they not only deliver the supplies but help pack them for transportation. During their visit, students will also have the opportunity to create messages of hope with homemade cards, letters, and decorated boxes.
“It’s nice they get to see what happens to their donations,” said Eliana Esparza, who teaches 5th grade dual language at Byrd and helps coordinate the project. “It takes it a step further than just collecting. By going to the Hope Center, it really gives it a purpose.”
A former CCSD59 teacher, Shannon Anderson, helped establish a meaningful connection between the school and Phil’s Friends, which resulted in this service project. The students are extremely passionate about it and are keeping a running log of their donations. To date, the school has collected almost $350 in donations and donated over 600 items, and they still have months to go before it will be complete.
Paula Czajkowski, who teaches 4th and 5th grade dual language at Byrd and also helps coordinate the project, said the enthusiasm the students continue to show is quite touching, especially once they had the experience of visiting the Hope Center. “They were very excited about it. They wanted to stay longer.”