Student Giving: by Rebecca O‘Callaghan & Layne Smith ’16

Courage and compassion. These two attributes are deeply woven into all that Kennedy Catholic does, especially when it comes to serving the community. Kennedy’s giving spirit is felt by many different organizations and people, both locally and overseas.

IMG_8536This past Christmas season, the Student Council ran two collection drives for local charities. The first was for United for the Troops, a community organization based out of Shrub Oak, NY that sends care packages to troops stationed overseas with the goal of “bringing a little comfort to our troops.” It is a Kennedy Catholic tradition to assist this organization each winter and this year the drive collected over 750 clothing, toiletry and food items to support the soldiers. The second drive ran by the Student Council was a food drive for Our Lady of the Assumption in Peekskill, NY. Our Lady of the Assumption then donated our food to nearby food pantries. As a community, our school collected over 1,000 food items. By working in conjunction with the Peekskill parish, Kennedy was able to bring a little more joy to the Christmas season.

Play Ball Club YouTubeThe Play Ball club at Kennedy Catholic also hosted a drive this past December. The club was created by seniors Alexander Morgante and Esteban Ramirez with the goal of collecting slightly used sports equipment to donate to unprivileged children in Connecticut. The two seniors spearheaded the club because of the large role that athletics has played in their own childhoods. They wanted to give the same opportunities which they had, to less fortunate children. With the help of the Kennedy Catholic student body, they were able to complete their first equipment drive and look forward to future collections.

IMG_0817The second annual children’s hospital toy drive was also ran this past winter. Seniors Jennifer Goldfarb, Rebecca O’Callaghan and Christina Rowland started the first toy drive last year and with the Kennedy Catholic community’s overwhelming support, they were able to successfully complete another drive. What started off as a 300 toy goal for one hospital turned into over 700 toys which were able to be shared between both Maria Ferari and Blythedale Children’s Hospitals as well as the Mustard Seed Migrant Ministry in Goshen, NY. The representatives at the hospitals were pleasantly surprised and very appreciative of the generous donations. The hospitals could not fit the numerous amount of toys into their collection bins which allowed the remaining toys to be donated to Mustard Seed, with Sister Barbara’s assistance. Kennedy Catholic’s overwhelming response to the toy drive makes the three senior girls confident that the toy drive will continue for many years.

JAB_7822For the ninth year in a row, Kennedy Catholic hosted the annual Hoops for Hope basketball tournament, held in honor of Maureen McAvoy, a member of the class of 2006 who passed away in 2007 after a brave battle with brain cancer. Championed by her sister and class of 2007 graduate Siobhan McAvoy, a myriad of participators, including two teams of current Kennedy seniors, as well as many alumni, faculty, family, and friends, took part in a 5-on-5 tournament to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. All of the proceeds from the afternoon went to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Brain Cancer Research Center. While 2015 was a culmination of a nine year run for Maureen’s Hoops for Hope, it was a tremendous celebration of Maureen’s life and the legacy she has left with her friends, family, and the Kennedy Catholic community.

Also during the month of December was our annual blood drive, one of Kennedy’s most successful charitable events to date. Organized by the Student Council, Mrs. Normile, and the New York Blood Center, there was a fantastic turnout of 70 participants, comprised of not only Kennedy Catholic students, but all aspects of the community from faculty to parents. While one of the concerns for any potential donor, especially students, is the risk associated with giving blood, Kennedy Catholic senior and first time donor, Valerie Sedano, said “The thought that my donation could truly help someone allowed me to move past the initial anxiety of giving blood. In my opinion, donating blood made a difference in my life. I overcame a fear, and now I’m currently waiting to be place on a bone marrow donor list”. One of the proponents of the drive, Mrs. Normile talked of how beneficial it is “to get the Kennedy juniors and seniors comfortable and happy to donate at such a young age, allowing them to become lifelong blood donors well into their later years of life”. So many people need blood, whether it be cancer patients, new mothers, victims of car accidents, just to name a few. Giving blood is one of the most unique and wondrous types of service and charity, in that it can be the gift of life.

If there is one thing that is prided above all else at Kennedy Catholic, especially during this paramount Golden Jubilee year, it is a commitment to service. The many drives, events, and widespread passion and participation for this service is something that sets Kennedy apart and is most certainly a legacy to be proud of. Such service spans not only within Kennedy, but how we, as students and a collective school, can affect the greater community and the world.

To learn more about these and other works of Courage and Compassion by our students, visit our “Student Giving” page.

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