Helping homeless families have a birthday

Mrs. Marian Harmount, the district's Destination Imagination teacher, applauds the Westerly students' duct-taping prowess in the community service project fundraiser. Photo by Robin Chilton

Everyone has a birthday, but some people don’t get to celebrate it. Have you ever taken the time to think about that? Our third-grade Destination Imagination team was shocked that some kids don’t get to celebrate their birthdays and we decided we wanted to help everyone have a birthday party as our DI community service project.

We contacted the Cleveland Family Promise Organization that works with homeless families. They are based at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Tremont. They agreed to let us provide birthday parties at their daytime shelter once a month.

The first birthday party we celebrated a three-year old boy’s birthday and his mom’s birthday. We were surprised because he didn’t know how to open up the presents we gave him. We were sad that the mom couldn’t be there because her car broke down.

The next party we had was a caroling party with the families who are homeless and our friends and families. The last party we had was a winter wonderland party because there were no birthdays in January.

Our parents told us they couldn’t keep paying for our parties so we decided to have a fundraiser. We met with our principal, Ms. Sanfilippo, and she said we could do a fundraiser. We decided to do a fundraiser where you buy a strip of duct tape for $1 and you get to stick teachers to the wall. Our music, physical education and art teachers volunteered to be taped to the wall and our principal did too. We asked Duck Tape in Avon to donate the tape, and they did.

The event was great! The whole school came into the cafeteria to watch as we removed the chairs the teachers and principal had been standing on and saw that they really were stuck to the wall! Kids started clapping and yelling. It was awesome! Mrs. Derby-Lovell from Bay Schools came and put a cool PowerPoint story on Westerly’s website.

The best part was we raised a ton of money! We raised $421 for our monthly birthday parties and we can afford to keep doing the parties until our money runs out.

We have a lot of people to thank: the students at Westerly for helping us raise all that money – that was amazing! Ms. Sanfilippo, Mrs. Engelbrecht, Mrs. Sanson and Mr. Topolski for agreeing to be duct-taped to the wall, and Mr. Glasmire for helping us set up and clean up! Mrs. Harmount for helping our DI team! Duck Tape in Avon for donating the tape! Finally, thank you to our homeroom teachers and all of Westerly’s teachers for supporting our cause. Westerly is the best school ever!

James Chilton, Annie Davenport, James Fowles, Patrick Lehane, Finn Meadows, Maeve Ransom and Iain Ray

Third-grade Destination Team from Westerly Elementary

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Volume 6, Issue 4, Posted 9:15 AM, 02.18.2014