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Fox Lane High School Holds First Annual Community Volunteer Day

 Fox Lane volunteers paint mosaic tiles with BVES student

Last month, in partnership with the Suzanne Grant Foundation, Fox Lane High School held its very first annual Fox Lane Community Volunteer Day. The entire junior class — more than 200 students — spent the day volunteering for the district and for 20 community organizations.

"The event was inspired by Suzanne,” said Dave Grant, Suzanne’s husband. “She did so much for both our school district and our community that we wanted to identify something that would positively impact both.”

Students began the day out at the stadium where they enjoyed breakfast and an opening ceremony before moving on to different locations around the community. After working for three hours, student volunteers were picked up and brought back to school to enjoy lunch together.

“Community service and volunteerism is something that you don’t need a college degree for,” Fox Lane High School Principal Dr. Brett Miller told students to kick off the day. “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, everyone has the capacity to do good and give back.”

During the course of the day, students assisted in physical education classes at their former elementary schools, prepared food deliveries at Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, cleared invasive plants at Westmoreland Sanctuary, gave temporary tattoos to preschoolers at Neighbors Link and so much more.

Carla Ruiz and Keydy Cardona were two of the students who volunteered at Neighbors Link. The pair was already familiar with volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club, providing one-on-one homework help. Community Volunteer Day opened their eyes to other volunteer work.

“I put temporary tattoos on the kids and then went to the playroom,” Carla said. “We did the parachute and were dancing and singing with kids. Tattooing them was my favorite part of the day. Their reactions were so cute.”

Keydy agreed, noting that they were able to get more involved with kids than they had in their previous volunteer experience.

“We were doing arm paintings on the kids and they were obsessed with it,” Keydy said. “There were some that wanted a lot. I also did tattooing. Their reactions when they saw the end result were the cutest. They were like ‘more, more!’”

Reactions like Carla and Keydy’s are exactly what the organizers of Community Volunteer Day hoped for: engaged, enthusiastic students who would love to come back and offer more of their time.

“Our hope is that students got a taste of volunteering — a taste of what it means to do something for others, to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Grant said. “Longer term, it is our hope that some of these students will make volunteering a part of their lives. Maybe that's over the summer, maybe that's during their senior year, maybe it's after high school, or maybe it's in the communities in which they ultimately settle. We'd love nothing more than to have a future school board or town council or community organization member look back at this day as the spark that started it for them.”

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Fox Lane volunteers dig in a garden bed

photos by Art Nelson