Tappan Hill Students Recognized for Volunteerism
Volunteer New York! Celebration
RISE Thanks Tappan Hill Students for their Service
Three Southern Westchester BOCES students at Tappan Hill School were among more than 100 people who received recognition for their service at a RISE – Readiness thru Integrated Service Engagement – Volunteer Recognition Celebration April 26.
Chris, Steve and Jesus, who are in Erroll Rivera’s class of students with multiple disabilities, received certificates for their work with RISE, a program of Volunteer New York! Mentors Antoine, Christal, Destiny and Nicole, mentors from Arc of Westchester who assist Tappan Hill students, were also recognized.
In 2018-19, RISE’s 136 volunteers spent a total of 1,622 hours serving the community. Their work had a positive impact on nearly 4,700 people in the region, said Patti Colombo, RISE program manager. Many volunteers spent time with senior citizens to engage them in activities and prevent isolation. Others created cards for military troops, made gifts or created educational materials.
Tappan Hill’s affiliation with RISE began when Mr. Rivera contacted Ms. Colombo about a food drive the organization sponsored. Students collected about 50 bags of food, and the school wanted to provide students with more volunteer opportunities.
Because of their disabilities, it is hard for the Tappan Hill students to work outside of the school, so Ms. Colombo arranged for mentors from Arc to work with them at the school. Students in the multiply disabled program are often medically fragile and rely on assistive devices for communication and mobility.
Since then, the students and mentors have completed several projects. They put together bags of candy for police officers and firefighters with a note that said, “Thank you for: Being a Lifesaver! Your commitMINT to keeping our community safe! Being JOLLY and keeping a smile as you do your job! Handling all those STICKY situations.”
“I like it when we make things,” Nicole said at the ceremony, which took place at the Greenburgh Public Library.
Students and their mentors also put together academic kits for families with preschool-age children who are learning their letters and numbers.
“This group has been here all school year and they’re making neck wraps, they’re making floral arrangements and doing all kinds of projects there,” Ms. Colombo said. “They’re really dedicated to wanting to help their community. So it’s really great to have this new relationship with Tappan Hill School.”
RISE and SWBOCES want to develop a pre-vocational program that takes an in-school initiative of creating floral arrangements for birthdays and other occasions and shares it with the community, Ms. Columbo said during the recognition ceremony.
“We’re trying to play around with this design,” she said said as she displayed a floral prototype. “And with the help of their mentors, they can help deliver them out to different nursing homes, organizations that do Meals on Wheels and other organizations. So when someone has a birthday or they’re having a bad day, it’s like a little flower-gram that is going to go out into the community.”