Across both our Lower and Upper School campuses this November, the Wellness month theme was gratitude. Students and faculty explored what it means to be grateful in class and recognize the self-awareness it involves. Our students were challenged to see what they are grateful for and take it a step further—to express their gratitude in ways that would help develop a culture of service.
Today we want to feature how our school community has come together in so many wonderful ways this fall to be of service to the Red Hook community through the following programs:
- Day of Gratitude and Service
- Giving Tree Project
- Lunch Redistribution Program
- National Honor Society Weekend Volunteering
1. FIRST ANNUAL DAY OF GRATITUDE AND SERVICE
The day before Thanksgiving Break this year, our high school organized a Day of Gratitude and Service—engaging teachers and students in an effort bigger than our individual selves, working together with members of our community in the service of others. Dean Goldman and Director Forde of our High School Program worked closely with Ms. Das, who has connected our school with many organizations in Red Hook, to find ways for the school to contribute in meaningful ways. We look forward to keeping the Day of Gratitude and Service as an annual BASIS Independent Brooklyn tradition and instilling a culture of service across the school.
Our first Day of Service and Gratitude with the High School Program was only possible with the incredible partnership of Portside, Red Hook Art Project, Redemption Church, Red Hook Mutual Aid, and Summit Academy.
Below you can see a glimpse of the service work students in our High School performed in photos taken that day.
Students Volunteered to Help Construct A Penguin Pop-Up Park at Portside
Students Cleaned and Stocked the Red Hook Community Refrigerators
Thanksgiving Drive for Red Hook Mutual Aid
Our Thanksgiving Drive to benefit the Red Hook Mutual Aid Society was a huge success. We stocked up their free store for the NYCHA Houses in Red Hook right in time for the holidays.
Red Hook Art Project
Our Gr. 11 students worked with the Red Hook Art Project and Redemption Church on sorting items for their food and clothing drives. They enjoyed helping out at Summit Academy, currently the base for RHAP.
2. GIVING TREE
Our Giving Tree Program helps many kids and families that participate in the Good Shepherd Service's Red Hook Family Counseling program (free counseling for those in need) get much-needed support during the holiday season. The theme is to provide gifts that encourage family engagement. The program gives us many teachable moments. Kindness. Compassion. Empathy. Love. Helpfulness. Giving.
Ms. Bocchino placed our tree in the main lobby for all to see, and it contains paper ornaments to take home with a QR code to scan which will take you to the Amazon wish list of gift items. We included games, crafts, and other toys as well as wrapping paper Good Shepherd requested for families to use. Note: You do not need to buy from Amazon, but we just wanted to show you the items requested. If you bring in the items, please drop off unwrapped donations in room 313.
GIVING TREE WISH LIST ON AMAZON
Deadline for donations: December 6th for delivery before holidays.
3. LUNCH REDISTRIBUTION PROGRAM
In an effort to ensure the leftover, untouched ButterBeans lunches are put to good use every day, Ms. Das worked diligently to set up a redistribution system to send the food to Red Hook Art Project (RHAP) and the community fridges RHAP set up in the neighborhood. RHAP is in real need of snacks and lunches for students participating in their afterschool program, so this works out well on all fronts.
How much food is available varies from day to day based on many factors, primarily the number of students who are absent from school and not eating lunch that day. We have benefitted greatly from parents stepping up to volunteer to take the lunches to RHAP and the community fridges. It is wonderful and touching to see the outpouring of support, and we are truly grateful.
4. NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY WEEKEND VOLUNTEERING
Our high school students have recently been very active volunteering at the Red Hook Initiative's Community Farm with tending to the plants and composting. Students have also volunteered at many other local organizations, including the Red Hook Conservancy in planting, weeding, and learning how to be tree stewards in the neighborhood.
Celebrating the many ways teachers, students, and parents are giving back is an important part of establishing a culture of service in our community. We hope this blog is the first of many as our commitment grows within the school and reaches farther within Red Hook and Brooklyn for years to come.