Hiawatha Second-Graders Making a Difference With Community Service

Hiawatha Second-Graders Making a Difference With Community Service photo
Over the past few years Hiawatha Elementary School has been encouraging its second-graders to be more active participants in the community. Each month they participate in a different community service project.

This year a student in Tiffany Cioffi’s class, who is in remission from pediatric cancer, inspired a food donation drive. 

“When I found out that Athena was a cancer survivor, I wanted to find a way to incorporate this into our community service learning,” said Ms. Cioffi.

Athena was featured in ads for Burlington Coat Factory promoting pediatric cancer awareness, and her family participated in a video for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Ms. Cioffi reached out to Athena’s mom at the beginning of the year, and they worked together to think of a way “to make a small difference and to put some smiles on [patients’] faces.” 

“She shared with me that a majority of the children undergoing treatment are on steroids and have compromised immune systems,” said Ms. Cioffi. 

Since many patients and their families spend long hours at the clinic during their treatments, to make their visits a little more comfortable they collected individual pre-packaged snacks, K-cups and tea bags for them.
 
“Even though it’s a second-grade, yearlong project, we also try to get our staff and the rest of the building involved by putting it on our Hiawatha website to keep everyone informed of how they can help,” she said.
 
“I feel like the kids are really starting to understand how their actions are making a positive impact on others, and I think that having that connection with Athena made the drive even more important and personal,” added Cioffi. 

Next up, in the spirit of giving back to the community, they are sending holiday cards to the residents at the Long Island State Veterans Home in Stony Brook and in January they are hosting a coat drive for the Federation of Organizations.