SARASOTA, Fla. – Fifteen first and second grade students from Temple Beth Sholom Schools (www.tbsschools.org), a Sarasota preschool to eighth grade private school, recently took a learning expedition to The Salvation Army, where the children loaded and unloaded their donations and adorned the dining hall with handmade decorations by all grades.
On November 25, the students along with their parents came together for this service-learning project. For over 20 years, the students from Temple Beth Sholom School (TBS Schools), ranging from preschool to eighth grade, have donated items used directly at the 10th Street location. The donations, which almost filled an entire room, included everything from a giant stuffed tiger and children’s bike to clothing and toys.
The students transformed The Salvation Army dining room, which provides almost 1,000 dinners on Thanksgiving Day, into a festive and cheerful atmosphere with centerpieces and plants. The students also crafted murals, including a tree of hope with leaves painted with messages of encouragement and a cornucopia of love.
“This project really seems to plant a seed for community service at a young age,” said Barbara O’Brien, a teacher at TBS Schools and the coordinator for The Salvation Army project. “It truly leaves an indelible memory and spirals into a lesson of compassion. I have past students return who still talk about this amazing experience.”
In addition to the donations and decorating, the children shopped for much-need necessities, collected items for 50 hygiene packets for men, women and children and compiled goodie bags for less fortunate children. Students prepared the goodie bags, to be handed out Thanksgiving Day, with donated Halloween candy, crayons, coloring books and a toy for less fortunate children.
The students collected 250 tubes of toothpaste and toothbrushes for the hygiene packets from local dentists, including Dr. Gennady Gekht and Melissa Schindel-Kaplan, and Gina Harper, an oral care Colgate consultant. Area hotels, such as Hotel Indigo, Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota and Hyatt Regency, donated samples of shampoo and conditioner after the children personally called to secure them.
“The children bring so much joy – brightening the day of many at The Salvation Army,” said Sharna Rozin, the assistant director of development and volunteer services at The Salvation Army. “The donations will be used throughout the year, but more importantly, it tells the people needing our services that their community cares about them – giving them hope to get their lives back on track.”
Thanks to a generous service-learning grant from the Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, the students purchased 989 diapers, wipes and boxes of socks. This funding provides opportunities like this one for the TBS Schools’ students to participate in projects throughout the community.
About TBS Schools
Temple Beth Sholom (TBS), a Sarasota preschool to eighth grade private school, is open to all faiths and established its preschool program in 1974. TBS Schools has been in its current building located at 1050 S. Tuttle Avenue, Sarasota, Fla. since January 1988. The Justin Lee Wiesner preschool program consists of classes for baby play and children up to 4 years of age. The Goldie Feldman Academy (GFA) was founded in 1992 as an expansion of the Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool. It has continued to grow and flourish under the careful guidance of the administration, dedicated teachers, volunteer leadership, staff and the demand for excellence from its parents. At GFA, TBS Schools nurtures the whole child as one who is capable of an infinite amount of possibilities. The caring and qualified staff is committed to helping each student reach his/her full potential. The Goldie Feldman Academy at Temple Beth Sholom is the only private Jewish school in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Justin Lee Wiesner Preschool is accredited by Florida Kindergarten Council. Goldie Feldman Academy is accredited by the Florida Kindergarten Council and the Florida Council of Independent Schools. For more information, visit www.tbsschools.org.