From the Community Service Office: Gearing Up
A group of dedicated parents and faculty have been working every day on the logistical details of our future all school service day, "Common Fire", planned for April 14. Some of the most interesting work has been walking the sites we are collecting to see what might be good experiences for our young people, or at the very least, extremely helpful for the agency itself.
Parent Lisa Pisano has found some outdoor and building work at the Dimock Center, which "provides the residents of Boston with convenient access to high quality, low-cost healthcare and human services that might not otherwise be available" to the people they serve. Parent Holly Bonomo has secured a place for us at the Walker School, where we will help to beautify and clean areas of the grounds of this wonderful school for kids who are struggling with emotional issues.
At Reach Out and Read, former Nobles parent Allison Corning-Clarke took us to a waiting area at the Harvard Street Health Center where Nobles groups will paint murals and build bookshelves. Faculty member Liz Benjamin and I walked a site called "Gaining Ground" which educates youngsters about the importance of the Farm to Table organic food movement, which we think will be enlightening.
Parents Cindy Trull and Kristen Welo have found many sites which promise to be productive and teachable moments for our students that day, including the Joslin Diabetes Center where we will be working with some of the children as they wait for treatment, and Steppingstone/ McKay School of East Boston, where we will be helping with painting and landscaping. The Lemuel Shattuck Hospital was procured by parent Alison Graham, which "delivers compassionate medical and psychiatric care to patients requiring multi-disciplinary treatment and support which promotes their health, well-being, rehabilitation and recovery."
At a recent Halloween party, I met a woman named Ann Miranda who had started a not- for-profit organization called "Fruitful Offerings" through the Dedham Food Pantry. This group provides fresh fruits and vegetables along with the staples that are standard fare at food pantries. Her hope is that we will be able to build platforms around donated terra cotta cisterns to hold mini gardens that clients can have for their own.
Linda Hurley is planning a "Dedham Elder Lunch" for the senior residents of our town, held at the local American Legion Hall. In all, we will be hosted by a wealth of agencies, over 90 in all, who have opened their doors and let us know what they need. Thanks to the hard work of many great adults who have been calling and making arrangements, a great day of service and effort will be ready and waiting for the over 900 Nobles people who will be heading out the morning of "Common Fire." Now Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek and Amy McBrien will be assigning advisor groups and staff to pertinent sites as leaders and participants.
One last site must be noted, since it will take both planning and collecting to make it work. Parent Betsy Edie has connected with an agency called "Heading Home." Over the winter, (with your help!) we will collect donated items from your homes to set up a house for a currently shelter-housed family. We need everything that a family is going to need to set up a house: tables, chairs, a couch, pots and pans--the works. A Nobles family, John and Natalie Wright, have donated their garage to keep all the items safe over the winter months. By the time "Common Fire" day arrives, we will have collected an entire household of family items. That day, we move the family in!
I know you will want to help--simply email Betsy. Just let her know what you have to donate, and we will arrange to come and get it. Help us help other people by staying tuned over the next months to the parent emails each week, and this part of the parent newsletter. Your support will help your child to look forward to the day and the part they will play in contributing to their community. Thank you for making your family a part of "Common Fire." This year long endeavor is one of those events that truly "takes a village."