Junior Council and Student Ambassadors
Save The Children Long Island Junior Council is a community-based club, grades 7-12, which meets monthly at Cold Spring Harbor Junior/Senior High School in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. Additionally, Student Ambassadors from neighboring districts and private schools volunteer to support the mission of Save The Children. Our club focuses on the needs of children both locally and around the world with an emphasis on the importance of reading and early childhood education to break the cycle of poverty.
Recent projects have included the bookmark challenge in which students created bookmarks to be sent to literacy programs around the world. For each bookmark the students created, the Bezos Family Foundation promised to donate $1 to Save the Children’s Literacy Boost Programs in Latin America, Africa and Asia. With the cooperation of the principals in Cold Spring Harbor School District, kindergarten through high school age students created 1,020 bookmarks and raised over $2,000!
Save The Children Long Island Junior Council also holds food drives for families in need on Long Island, volunteers at a local preschool and organizes presentations and educational experiences for their peers. A highlight in 2014 was meeting two teenage girls from Latin America who have benefited from Save The Children programs in their countries. Anielka, 15, from Nicaragua and Liseth, 17 from Bolivia, were among nine girls from around the world who were honored for their struggle and determination to obtain an education. In November 2014 they came to NYC to receive Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards as “The Bravest Girls in the World.” They also came to Cold Spring Harbor to share their inspirational stories with our members, family and friends.
On November 11, 2014 Save the Children’s Long Island Junior Council at Cold Spring Harbor High School hosted a visit from 2 girls who have been helped by Save the Children programs. A room full of students, parents, teachers, administrators, and Save the Children members were riveted by the stories told by Anielka Martinez and Liseth Ticona Mamani.
Anielka is 15 and lives with her parents and 2 younger sisters in the rural town of San Francisco de Penas Blanca in Nicaragua. She wakes up at 5:45 a.m. every day to help her mother with the housework and to help her family harvest and sell coffee to generate income. She is only able to attend school on Sundays. However, through the Center for Education in Health and Environment, an organization supported and financed by Save the Children that promotes dance, theater, and literature, Anielka is able to foster her love of reading and writing. She loves reading books to other children and takes great pleasure in the enjoyment they show as she reads. She wants to be a writer someday and hopes to motivate other children.
Seventeen-year-old Liseth lives in El Alto, Bolivia – a city poor in resources but rich in tradition and culture. Her mother passed away three years ago and she misses her terribly. She lives with her father and younger brother and sister. She gets up at 4:30 a.m. to care for them, do household chores, and get her siblings ready for school. She attends school only in the afternoons. However, on Tuesdays she participates in a program sponsored by Save the Children that uses sports to empower girls, develops self-esteem and leadership skills, and teaches girls how to enforce their rights. In order to attend she travels one hour on public transportation but feels it is well worth it since it enables her to play soccer, a game she loves and one that is normally practiced by only boys. Liseth wants to continue studying and become an accountant when she grows up.
Also present at the event were Ana Mercedes Morataya, Director of Operations, Nicaragua; Melissa Rios Palacios, Sponsorship Communications Officer, Bolivia; and Megan McElwee and Iasabella Linares from Save the Children.
This is a sample of letters/photos from Save The Children Long Island Junior Council. So far we have 1,000 pictures created by children in the Cold Spring Harbor School District; Kindergarten- grade 12. Special thanks to the Bezos Family Foundation who will donate $1.00 for each picture to Save The Children’s educational work to help children in the Philippines. The drawings and pictures will be given to children in the Philippines who survived the devastating Typhoon Haiyan in November 2013. Thank you to Students Rebuild for promoting this opportunity to help.
A Day of Voluntering at a Preschool
Once again 22 students from Save The Children Junior Council, grades 7-12, volunteered at a preschool in Huntington. The preschool teachers and nursery school directors were extremely welcoming and we thank them for their hospitality and guidance. “Save The Children Junior Council students really showed growth, maturity and confidence as they worked with the children this year,” said Lisa Jamison from Family Service League who has been the lead coordinator for the preschool visit for the past 3 years. Our visits began when our students wanted to help local families in addition to helping children around the world. Junior Council leader, Victoria Buri and her mother Barbara Page introduced us to Lisa Jamison and the programs provided by Family Service League. This endeavor is a highlight for Junior Council students. Our club presidents this year are Lexie Viklund, Palmer Sealy and KB Knapp. Save the Children Junior Council works under the guidelines of Save The Children Long Island Council and is advised by volunteer advisors Lori and Chris Homer and Maggie Viklund.
The preschool theme for the week was hibernation so the students chose a storybook; “Who goes there?” by Karma Wilson about a mouse setting up his house for the winter. Save The Children Junior Council students prepared activities and a craft around the mouse theme. They also assisted the teachers with their daily lessons. When it came time to leave, there were hugs shared by all. “This was an awesome day!” said many students. Everyone- teachers, students and children want to know when we can go back!”
Waldbaums Food Drive
Students from the Cold Spring Harbor community Save The Children Junior Council organized a Food/Fund Drive on November 16. Special thanks to Waldbaums for allowing us the opportunity. The students were impressed with the kindness and generosity of the shoppers who were equally impressed with the sincere efforts and knowledge of the student volunteers.
We collected LOTS OF FOOD including: baby food, baby wipes, baby formula, diapers, fruit drinks, boxed milk, water, goldfish crackers, graham crackers, canned food, cereal, fruit snacks, granola bars, pasta, soup and more! The snack items will be given to a local preschool in Huntington serving families in need under the direction of the Family Service League. Other items will be given to the Action Center in the Rockaways which assists families still struggling after Hurricane Sandy.
Shoppers also generously donated $509 for Save The Children typhoon relief efforts. In return, the students handed out literature about Typhoon Haiyan, disaster preparedness and Save The Children bracelets and drinking cups.
Our adult volunteers included Mary Jo Balkind, Lori Homer, Maggie Viklund, Robin Vermylen, Karen Wadkovsky and Marissa Wadkovsky. Our students included: Will, Elijah, Justin, Mache, Raffi, Max, KB, Allegra, Bianca, Alanna, Luca, Victoria, Ashley, Darby, Allison, Gracie, Bella, and Claire.
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