South Middle students join in on Global Youth Service Day

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South Middle sixth graders assemble chemo care kits for pediatric cancer patients through the charity Golden Heroes. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)
South Middle sixth graders assemble chemo care kits for pediatric cancer patients through the charity Golden Heroes. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)

Great Neck South Middle School students joined an international humanitarian effort known as “Global Youth Service Day” on April 12, participating in three grade-level projects that offered an opportunity to make a potentially life-long impact on a stranger the students may never meet.

Seventh graders decorate superhero capes and masks with designs that feature messages of inspiration, hope, and courage. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)
Seventh graders decorate superhero capes and masks with designs that feature messages of inspiration, hope, and courage. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)

Sixth and seventh graders prepared items for pediatric cancer patients in collaboration with the charity Golden Heroes. Sixth graders assembled chemo care kits that included blankets, fuzzy socks, pencils, coloring books, and stress balls to help make patients feel more comfortable during treatment. Seventh graders decorated golden superhero capes and masks for these same young patients, with designs that featured messages of inspiration, hope, and courage.

Eighth-grade students created picture frames and prepared small bags of comfort items for the families of premature babies at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Cohen Children’s Hospital.

All of these items were accompanied by hand-written cards from students.

South Middle Principal Gina Cartolano meets with eighth graders as they decorate picture frames and prepare care packages for families at Cohen Children’s Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)
South Middle Principal Gina Cartolano meets with eighth graders as they decorate picture frames and prepare care packages for families at Cohen Children’s Hospital. (Photo courtesy of Great Neck Public Schools)

Both of these causes have connections to South Middle: Annie Cohen, a South Middle graduate now in her senior year at South High School, is an executive board member of Golden Heroes; and the spouse of a South Middle teacher is a NICU nurse at Cohen Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park.

Before the South Middle students started their projects for Global Youth Service Day, they learned about the organizations they would be helping through morning announcements on Homeroom Television (HTV). The announcements included recorded messages from Annie Cohen, executive board member for Golden Heroes, and Michael Dowling, the president and CEO of Northwell Health.

“Service is a special commitment,” Dowling said. “It’s an extraordinary thing you’re doing; be thankful for the people around you, and be proud. We are proud of you.”

Only a few days after Global Youth Service Day, South Middle received a message on the school’s Facebook page from a parent at Cohen Children’s Hospital who had received the picture frame, care package, and handwritten note from a South Middle eighth grader: “I’m a mother with a baby at Cohen’s Children’s Medical Center NICU and I just got your package and beautiful card. I just wanted to say thank you! I know I’m anonymous to you, but your gesture really did make a difference in my day!… Keep up the great work!”

Submitted by Great Neck Public Schools

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