Wrap Artists Help with Toys for Hospitalized Children

The Honor Society students get organized

Members of Haldane’s National Honor Society lend a hand

By Alison Rooney

Members of Haldane’s National Honor Society stopped studying and doing the many other things they do last week to lend a hand in wrapping and labeling the toys donated through their Toy Drive for the Sound Shore Medical Center (SSMC), located in New Rochelle.  The SSMC Toy Drive is an annual event co-founded by Haldane parent Kathy Curto.

Now in its 17th year, and growing by leaps and bounds every year, the Toy Drive’s mission is to collect new toys for infants through 8-year-olds, all of which will be distributed to Pediatric Outpatient children in need, at a party which this year takes place on Dec. 15. The Drive began in 1994 in grateful appreciation for the excellent care Curto received at SSMC during her first, high-risk pregnancy. Their number of children benefiting has grown from 60 in 1994 to over 1,700 last year.

Honor Society students Tess Dul, Alex Schaefer and Max Smith at work

The students organized the drive itself, which was publicized to all parents and the community, and resulted in a large donation of toys.  Last Friday, Dec.10, the students, along with Kathy Curto and Honor Society advisor Mr. Sassano, got to work wrapping all of the donations.  Curto advised them to “Pick a toy – – little ones can be attached to another – – err on the side of generous, because we have a lot of great donors.”  After wrapping the students labeled each toy with the age and gender it was best suited for. This was not always a clear choice, given this back and forth between the students:

“If you were a three-year-old girl, would you like to play with a plane?”

“Yes, definitely.”

“You were not a typical three-year-old.”

Mr. Sassano said, with obvious pride, “This is a great opportunity for them to do something for the community.  All Honor Society students are required to do 20 hours of service per year, 10 of which are requested by the school or community.  It’s usually not a problem to get the kids to do this.  Many of them do 80 to 100 hours.  The kids here at Haldane are so involved in the community; it’s part of who they are.”

Eduardo Cerquiera wraps a gift for a hospitalized child

Kathy Curto was pleased to involve Haldane students in the Toy Drive. “I know how giving people of Philipstown can be.  I just wanted to bring this experience to the students at Haldane.  One of the things I didn’t realize, as my kids have gotten older, is that to watch kids develop the capacity to actually do the work – it doesn’t get better than that.”

The wrap artists involved were Laura Campbell, Eduardo Cerquiera, Tess Dul, Jackie Eschenberg, John Kearns, Emily Knapp, Alex Schaefer, and Max Smith, all of them seniors.
Photos by A.Rooney

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