In the fall of 2005, some Ray School PTO members and a couple of Ray School teachers met to discuss the possibility of doing some community service work with the Haven. The Upper Valley Haven provides shelter, food and educational services to individuals and families in need. We decided the school would organize a community service program, a partnership which would benefit both the Haven and the school children.
To help our students have a greater understanding of giving, a group of Hanover High School students wrote and presented a skit on being homeless and hungry to our Ray School students. At that assembly the Ray Students sang, “We Can Make a Difference,” a song generated by Ms. Luce, music teacher, which has become the Haven Helper’s, “theme song.”
Currently, each grade is assigned a month to collect food for the Haven. It is done in a very quiet manner but definitely makes a difference for the people at the Haven. Collecting and delivering is done by PTO volunteers and their children. Some teachers have truly incorporated the Haven collection into their curriculums by charting items, weights, etc. Many teachers and students have come to realize how easy it is to help out.
Haven Helpers also holds one-day collections at dances and concerts. One year, the children sang the song, “Socks for Christmas,” and the audience was asked to donate socks for the Haven. Over 13 bins filled with socks of all colors and sizes were delivered to the Haven that holiday season, a time of year when socks are really appreciated! This past holiday concert we collected new and gently used books. Again, the community was very generous with their donations.
Haven Helpers also enlists the help of 5th Graders as student leaders. They help to update the current needs at the Haven and talk about the program with younger students, make posters, etc.
People involved: Caroline Levy (chair) , Michele Sacerdote, Liz Hackett, Laura Rice, Hatsy McGraw, Robin Henry.
Robin Henry Art teacher, June, 2008