Normandin Middle School’s Finest Make A Huge Difference!
Every Monday and Wednesday, students from grades 6-8 at Normandin Middle School have chosen to take part in the 21st Century grant program – “Community Service Group.” The purpose of the 21st Century program is to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours and provide students with academic enrichment opportunities along with other activities designed to complement academic programming. Teacher John Martins oversees the programming and facilitates all the different after-school group’s needs.
Seventh grade teachers Lisa Simmons and Ashley Barry facilitate the Community Service Group; they told us how proud they were of these students and how enthusiastic and eager they are to creatively work towards finding ways to reach out and help their community.
Teacher Lisa Simmons said – “Students decided they wanted to find a way to help New Bedford children in-need, especially during the holiday season. After brainstorming, they decided to run a drive called, “Every Child Deserves a Good Nights Sleep.” They advertised in school and collected new and gently used pajamas, new underwear and socks, tooth pastes and tooth brushes, books, and stuffed animals. The students all agreed that they were fortunate to not have to worry about simple things such as pajamas and tooth paste. They all strongly believed that they wanted to work towards ensuring that every child in their community has the same comfortable, good night’s sleep as they do. They created posters, newsletters, emails, blog posts, donation boxes, and posters for the school bulletin board in an effort to get teachers, students, and parents to donate to their drive. The drive turned out to be a huge success! The students even went through their stuffed animals, books, and pajamas and felt the joy of giving someone something they no longer needed or used. The teachers at our school also made many donations and helped support our kids. The families of Normandin were extremely supportive as well.”
Teacher Ashley Barry told us – “Our students decided the best way to distribute these items to the children who needed them was to donate them to GiftsToGive and on Saturday, the students went on a field trip to the mill to hand deliver all of their donations. They spent four hours at the mill sorting clothes and cleaning toys. They were so proud and happy to be a part of helping their community. They kept asking “when they could come back again” or stating that “they had to bring their parents to see this place.” The Normandin teachers are so proud of the empathetic and hard working students at our school that truly understand how amazing it feels to give back! We saw first hand the joy they got out of organizing the drive, working hard to pursue it, and then getting to see the result of their donations going to directly to GiftsToGive! What a rewarding way to spend a Saturday!”
Jim Stevens, GiftsToGive’s CEO said – “What these Normandin students did was extraordinary, they collected enough “gently-used” things for us to re-purpose and gift to over one-hundred kids who need them … talk about Tangible Philanthropy!”
“We think that Normandin Principal, Bill Burkhead and these amazing teachers, John, Ashley and Lisa are bright and shining lights and help to define for us the best of what teaching is about. For them to connect their students to a tangible service learning opportunity and then support them throughout the process – is more than important, it defines the start of a life-long connection to giving and service.”
Stevens went on to say – “We’re big fans of the work going on at the Normandin Middle School and for us – they represent the great hope we have for the entire district.”