Student Council Wins TWO awards


    SUNRISE DRIVE STUDENT COUNCIL’S Service-Learning Project

    Merits A Surprising Second Award

    “One good turn deserves another,” and in this case, the Sunrise Drive Student Council members not only took a turn fulfilling the service-learning criteria with a “Blankets and Books” project for homeless children, they also garnered acclaim with two awards from the LI Regional Service-Learning Network for their wonderful work.

    Sunrise Drive’s student council, like all the student councils in our school district, provides great service to our community and charities through volunteer work. However, to be recognized as a “service-learning” project, the process must meet the standards within the educational curriculum, such as math, writing, reading, current events, etc., and be officially filed with a detailed application to the LI Regional Network.

    For many months, the Sunrise Drive students fund raised for materials, prepared for, and worked on their service-learning project—to provide comfort for homeless children in shelters by giving them blankets and books. “The students assembled, by hand, fleece blankets with fringe work, choosing materials, patterns, and designs that would appeal to different age groups and genders,” Sunrise Drive Social Worker Toni Fabian explained.  “They also selected books that would appropriately complement the ages of the children. Through the generous donation of books by the Sunrise Drive PTA, the Student Council project amassed 190 blankets and books for the children in shelters.”

    The service-learning project continued with the delivery of the blankets and books. Forty Fifth-graders and their Student Council Advisors went to the Bellport Homeless Shelter where they met the shelter personnel and participated in a question-and-answer session. They learned about food stamps and the social services provided to the homeless families. They realized how much those families depended on donations from the community, and later, under the supervision of the councilors, visited the common room in the facility where the shelter’s children shared toys and games.

    The Sunrise Drive group set up tables outside for the gifts of blankets and books and watched as the residents came and picked out what they liked. Some of the students were allowed to spend recreational time outdoors with the children, while others went indoors to participate in arts and crafts.

    This interaction was perhaps the best lesson of all for the Sunrise Drive students. The Fifth-graders were most impacted by the challenges these children faced just going to school. Some children had extremely long commutes from the shelter to their home districts, a trip they were required to take daily. With the realization that life was quite different for the families living at the shelter, many of the Sunrise Drive students no longer took their own for granted. “It was also an extremely rewarding experience for our students,” Principal Rose Castello said. “They were impressed by how appreciative the children in the shelter were of the blankets and the books.”

    Upon the full completion of the project, the Student Council submitted their application for consideration for this year’s Annual Expo, “an interactive ‘share-fair’” held at Nassau Community College by the LI Regional Service-Learning Network. At the Expo, the participating students were required to present their projects to several judges who used a rigorous rubric in the evaluation process.

    The Sunrise Drive Student Council received two awards for their service-learning project: the first for the best Elementary School Service-Learning Project, and the second, the Joan Imof Award, for having the “heart of community service learning” which was opened to all levels—colleges, high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools were eligible for this award.

    While it may have been a pleasant surprise to the Sunrise Drive Student Council because the students already felt rewarded by the children in the shelter who enjoyed their gifts, receiving this Joan Imof Award was definitely merited according to the judges.

    “As LIRSLN believes in paying it forward,” Principal Castello added, “the two awards of $100 each will be donated in our name to the charity of our choice.  Sunrise Drive Student Council will be deciding upon a charity at their next meeting.”

    Congratulations, Sunrise Drive Student Council and to last year's advisors Jeannette Ainslie, Susan Burton, Mary Beth Dieterle, Sharon Donnelly, Christine Engelbert, Toni Fabian, Maureen Foster, Merrilleen Heidrich, Bridget Norman, and Nancy Prior,