The Holidays are upon us – with Thanksgiving and Black Friday now a memory and Christmas just around the corner. Over the past few weeks, just about everyone in town has seen, read about, and/or participated in, one type of fundraiser, charitable event, benefit or another.
We have followed many of these events around Dedham, and sung the praise of countless people involved. Every so often though, a story is presented to us, that just stands out amongst the others – making you want to share it with as many folks as possible. “This” is one of those stories…
Not too long ago, we received an e-mail from Oakdale Elementary Second Grade teacher Kerrin O'Brien. It seems that she, and fellow teacher Christine O'Leary, had come up with a plan for the Holidays “with” their class.
The teachers, both Mothers themselves, (Dylan-8, Corey-5, Caroline-13, Cameron-11) have always believed that their classroom is more than just a place to learn reading, writing, and math.
Along with Principal Holli Armstrong, this class has been involved in many of the school's community-based efforts.
Right from the beginning of the school year though, this group of second grade students has wanted to take on a project to call their own.
Bright and early one morning recently, as their day was about to begin, we had the opportunity to sit with these eighteen, 7 and 8 year-old boys and girls, their teacher's aide, Andrea Larson, and Ms. O'Brien and Ms. O'Leary. It seems the group had caught wind of the Home for Little Wanderers “Big Wishes” Toy Drive.
Now, the Home has been in operation for over 200 years (founded in 1799) and with the help of corporations, organizations, and local groups, they make a positive impact on over 7,000 local families each year.
The Home for Little Wanderers promotes the well-being, health, and education of children in need. The Oakdale students and their teachers made up flyers, and on their own free time, went from class to class throughout the school and spoke to over 300 students in grades One through Five.
They presented their “plan”… to collect toys, puzzles, games and books, for those children not as fortunate as they are. One second grader told us “we're all in this together … every kid should be happy at Christmas.”
So now, we are presenting their “plan” to you. Please stop by the Oakdale Elementary School at 147 Cedar St. in Dedham and drop off a new, unwrapped present for a boy or girl, before Tuesday Dec. 11.
Ms. O'Brien reminds us that there are plenty of good, inexpensive stores available around town (ie: Five Below in the Dedham Mall) or you can check around your own home, making room for the new things that Santa will be bringing in a couple of weeks.
Government funding provides most of the “essentials” for these children, but it's the generosity of people, like these Oakdale students, Allison, Charlie, Shannon, Monica, Bobby, Rory, Brendan, Benjamin, Ryan, Lily, Kevin, TJ, Chris, Sean, Emily, Elizabeth, Luke and Jonah, that provide the “extras” that most of us take for granted!