Dartmouth’s DeMello Elementary School 4th and 5th Grade Student Council
take New Bedford by storm!
Last Tuesday, sixty-four, 4th and 5th Grade, DeMello Elementary School, Student Council members and 10 adults, spent three hours volunteering with us at the mill, processing thousands of donated toys and articles of clothing.
Their gift? … 200 hours of inspecting, cleaning, sorting and processing power. Talk about giving and service!
Through their combined efforts, we were able to process enough great stuff to help 64 homeless and at-risk, local children.
One of the students, sent us this recap of their visit- “On Tuesday, June 18th, sixty-four, 4th and 5th grade student council members from the DeMello School in Dartmouth, gave of their time to Gifts to Give. We were provided with a bit of background information and a tour, and then we got down to work. Some students cleaned the various toys donated while others separated clothing. We learned that our time was vital in helping the countless families in need.
Many of the students have been to Gifts to Give before and vowed to continue to return. Our members understand the importance of community service. One student reported, “It feels great to make a difference!” Providing the students with this experience is important in the future of our children and families! We will be back soon!!!”
Jim Stevens, CEO and Founder of GiftsToGive said: ” With over 30,000 SouthCoast children living in poverty and with more than 3,000 of these children homeless – the need is overwhelming.
We’re grateful to Superintendent Anna Riley, Principal Cathy Maccini, the teachers, staff and volunteer parents for supporting DeMello students in this service learning initiative.”
Jim also said:” When I asked the DeMello students ‘who here is NOT going to graduate from high school?’ – they all looked at me as if I was a little off. When I explained to them that less than half of New Bedford 9th graders graduate – the silence was palpable. Just three miles away from the mill was a school called The Joseph DeMello Elementary School, where students were supported, nurtured and held to high expectations. Where almost every student would go on to high school and graduate and where most would go off to college!!”
For lots of children living in poverty; their birthdays are just another day, they don’t have much choice about the clothes that they wear, most are on free or reduced lunch and for many, food is difficult for them on week-ends and over the summer – because they are not in school! Many of these children have severe difficulty reading and most don’t have many books in their house.
Jim asked the students: “Raise your hand if you picked your parents …. now keep your hands up, if you’ve heard ‘you have no idea how lucky you are’ – more than twice this week”. When almost every hand stayed up in the air for both questions – there was a sense of realization that was tangible!