Thoreau Community Service Project- Join Us to Help Families in Need
Greetings Thoreau Families! We hope you are all enjoying your summer despite the many challenges the pandemic has created and the adjustments it has forced us to make.
We are excited to invite you to join together in an effort to unite our community through service. Although we are not together in person, we are still #ThoreauStrong.
What is involved in this Community Service project?
We are partnering with Friends of the Children-Boston to help meet the needs of the children they serve. These youth in Boston are significantly impacted by COVID and are in need of basic educational and enrichment materials at home. These materials would help families who are both managing a summer without access to many programs and activities in which the children would typically engage and also preparing for a school year with so many uncertainties.
Who is Friends of the Children-Boston?
Friends-Boston is a non-profit whose mission is to impact generational change by empowering youth who are facing the greatest obstacles through relationships with professional mentors — 12+ years no matter what. Children are selected for the program during their kindergarten year and remain in the program through high school graduation. Mentors work closely with youth, families and schools to help these children navigate the challenges that threaten their ability to reach their full potential.
To learn more about the model, check out this short 3 minute video:
Who does Friends-Boston serve?
Friends-Boston is currently serving 144 children living primarily in Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan. The newest program participants will enter 1st grade this fall while the 2020 graduating class is venturing out to the workforce and to various local colleges and universities. The first youth in the program to be accepted to an Ivy League School will begin her studies at Columbia! While the primary program participant is the youth, the siblings and caregivers also receive supports in various ways that have obvious ripple effects.
What is the need?
COVID-19 has had a significant and negative impact on the youth and families at Friends-Boston. As studies have indicated, people of color are more significantly impacted by COVID. In addition to health risks and lack of access to quality medical care, a large majority of these families have also experienced job loss, unstable housing and a general lack of access to needed resources including food, cleaning supplies and the technology needed to support remote learning. Friends-Boston has worked relentlessly since the beginning of the pandemic to provide necessary support to ensure the families are safe and have what they need, but as the pandemic continues, so does the need. We are looking for Thoreau families to provide educational and enrichment supplies to these families to help alleviate some of the stress these families are experiencing.
How do I participate?
Just click on the Amazon Wish List below. It will take you to a list of needed supplies, compiled by Friends-Boston. You simply complete the check-out process and the item will ship directly to the organization. So easy!
How to make this a meaningful experience – and not just a click of a button.
We had hoped to roll out a school supply drive last spring, in conjunction with participating classrooms that would allow for conversation with students around who would receive these supplies, why they were needed and how they would help. Then families would have the chance to take their child(ren) shopping for a hands-on experience in purchasing the requested items. Unfortunately, like so many other things, we have had to change our approach in light of the pandemic. We hope this email provides you with some language and information you can use to share with your Thoreau students to explain what we are doing, why we are doing it and the impact it will have on the youth at Friends-Boston. We believe that while we are not able to roll out this initiative as originally planned, there is still opportunity to make this meaningful and to work together as a school community to help provide for others.
Please know that we understand this entire experience over the last 5 months has been incredibly stressful and difficult for everyone. We recognize that right now is particularly stressful as we are all navigating the decisions before us for the upcoming school year at Thoreau. This service project is completely optional and no family is in any way required or expected to participate if it is not a good fit for your family at this time.
Please let us know if you have any questions!
Rachael Hollander, 5th Grade Teacher
Rachel Levesque, School Social Counselor
Julie Lynch, PTG Service Learning Chair