Second-grade students from PS 55, Eltingville, make Christmas cards for pediatric patients at Staten Island University Hospital. (Photo Courtesy of PS 55)
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -
- Veteran teacher
and her colleagues at PS 55 believe it's never too early to get children in the habit of thinking about others.
To help second-grade students at PS 55
to understand the idea of giving and sharing, several years ago, Mrs. Trabulsy decided to launch an annual "giving" project that would involve "children helping and giving to children" in the community.
"We have so much to be grateful for, but there are others in our community who are not as fortunate. They will not be able to celebrate the holidays with their families," she said. "The children in our school are, for the most part, fortunate enough, thank heaven, to be healthy, happy, and be able to celebrate birthdays and holidays, and receive many treats. But it's important for them to learn that through giving, we can receive so much more."
Mrs. Trabulsy shared the idea with her colleagues, who also got their second-grade classes involved in the giving project. Altogether, more than 100 students participated. Students started the year learning about ethnic and family traditions. They discussed ways they could help each other, as well as family members, friends and the community. Each child was encouraged to do one or more "acts of kindness" during the day.
With the help of Vivian Alestra
, a children's social worker at Staten Island University Hospital, Mrs. Trabulsy arranged to have her class create Christmas cards to be delivered to patients in the pediatrics unit. Students cut and pasted to make and decorate their own cards and wrote their own messages inside. The cards will be delivered next week.
The handmade creations may be simple when stacked against today's shiny toys and zip-zap technology, but each was made with love and care. And more importantly, the children seem to have grasped the greater lesson of giving and service.
"It makes me feel happy because my letter might make the child who is sick be happy and not sad or scared," said Daniel Burzumato
His classmate, Evelize Jaimes
agreed. "It makes me happy to make letters for all the kids in the hospital because I remember when I was in the hospital. I was sad being away from my family at Christmas."
had mixed feelings about the card she was busy making.
"It makes me feel happy that I can cheer up a sick child, but sad to know so many kids are ill," she said.
wanted to reassure kids who are spending Christmas in the hospital.
"I want them to know that even if they are not home for Christmas, Santa knows where to find everyone to give them presents."