Tappan Hill, Volunteer New York! Give Gift Bags to Police, Firefighters
School Partners with Volunteer New York! on Project
First Collaboration between School, Volunteer New York! a Success
After six weeks working together to decorate bags and fill them with candy, a group of SWBOCES students and Volunteer New York! mentors invited Tarrytown first responders to Tappan Hill School to thank them for their service.
The police officers and firefighters received Lifesavers, mints, Jolly Ranchers, gum (for the sticky situations they find themselves in), and lollipops (for being superheroes). Each gift bag included 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!”
The Volunteer New York! mentors are adults with developmental disabilities in the RISE program, which stands for Readiness for Integrated Service Engagement. “Our goal is to connect young adults with different abilities who have already been in school to volunteer out in the community,” said Patti Colombo, RISE manager.
The collaboration was a pilot project whose purpose was for the volunteers, who are in their 20s, to serve as role models for some Tappan Hill students who are approaching graduation. Those who participated are in the school’s multiply disabled program, which educates young adults who have developmental disabilities and are often medically fragile.
“We at Volunteer New York! believe that everybody has the ability to volunteer and contribute to their community, and we often do projects that show appreciation to those in the community that give service to us,” Ms. Colombo said.
Tappan Hill Principal Phyllis Rizzi thanked the first responders for their dedication to the community.
“The work opportunity gave our students and mentors a chance to say thank you to our Tarrytown police officers and fire department,” she said. “These men and women every day put their lives on the line in the name of public safety. They’ve helped us at Tappan Hill and always come very quickly.”
Tarrytown Police Department Lt. John Daly said the department welcomes the encouraging notes and candy from the students and mentors. He left armed with dozens of candy bags to distribute to staff. Recipients are encouraged to take a selfie and tweet it to @volunteernynow with the hashtag #RISE.
“We really appreciate it because it’s nice to get a positive word every now and then. It’s a good morale booster,” he said. “It’s also nice to visit the school when they don’t need our help just to be with them.”
Lt. Daly and a group of officers stayed after the ceremony to shake hands with and give high-fives to students. Another lieutenant even let a student try on his uniform hat.
Each year, the first responders help at Tappan Hill with emergency drills, safety events and a fire department open house.
Will, a RISE mentor from Larchmont, said he enjoyed the project and catching up with some of the teachers he had when he was in school.
“I loved it because it made me feel good,” he said of the volunteer work. “It gave me a good feeling.”
Gabby, a RISE mentor from Scarsdale, said she liked assembling the candy bags. “The project was good,” she said. “I said hi to police. They were nice.”
After the ceremony, the Tappan Hill students and RISE mentors said that they want to work together again. Ms. Colombo suggested compiling academic kits for families with preschool-age children, and making cards for senior citizens.
Ms. Colombo thanked everyone for their efforts. “You helped the police officers by saying thank you and giving support,” she said.
“Did you guys work as a team?” she asked, and students and mentors said yes. “So you helped each other and that’s part of the mentorship.”