Although Service Learning is a valuable part of the RA experience throughout the school year, the holiday season offers many opportunities for our students and families to share their time, money, and talents to help others. Food and toy drives as well as raising funds through gift wrapping have become much anticipated holiday traditions at RA.
This past November, Grade 4 rallied the RA community to help them stock the shelves of the Ridgefield Food Pantry through a Thanksgiving Day Food Drive. This service learning project challenged the students to understand the issues surrounding food insecurity in their local town, as well as pinpoint a solution. During the drive, students brought in paper grocery bags filled with non-perishable items, as well as gift cards to local grocery stores. The bags were collected in red wagons located in the Summit and Annex buildings until the wagons overflowed. On the day of the big delivery to the Food Pantry, students created an assembly line to bring the boxes from the van to the donation center. Much to the amazement of Director of Social Services Tony Phillips, the food not only filled the shelves, but the tables, chairs and floor!
As the gift-giving season is upon us, RA students under the guidance of Service Learning Coordinator Jessica Brooks, launched a new and unwrapped Holiday Toy Drive on December 2. Toys collected will benefit the families served by Family & Children’s Aid in Danbury, CT, as well as Toys for Tots in Ridgefield. The goal is to once again fill the red wagons to overflowing so that children in our local communities can experience the magic, joy, and love of the holiday season. There are only a few days left to donate gifts and help RA meet this goal as the drive has been extended to December 16.
In addition to managing the Holiday Toy Drive at school, RA volunteers will be on site at Family & Children’s Aid to help collect and sort toys the practice has received from their Danbury toy drive.
Another favored service learning tradition for RA volunteers is raising money for Habitat for Humanity by wrapping gifts for holiday shoppers at the Danbury Fair Mall.
Service learning opportunities like these teach civic responsibility, strengthens our school and neighboring communities, and enriches the academic learning experience. Students build character as they learn the value of good student citizenship by helping others.