Students help refugees enjoy first holiday in U.S.by jmaloni
Niagara-Wheatfield teachers Lori Pruyn and Nicole Pasceri decided to give their students a lesson on the true meaning of the holidays. They told them about some new residents in the Buffalo area, many who had to flee their country with little more than the clothes on their backs to escape to a safer country.
"My son is an English as a Second Language teacher and works with some of these people," said Pruyn. "He was telling me that many of them were not prepared for the harsh Western New York winter and did not have many possessions at all. When I told him about how generous our third-graders and their families are, he put me in touch with the Jewish Family Services who gave us names, ages and genders so we could put together care packages for them."
The students brought in new and gently used clothing and toys for the children and Barker Victory Dental donated toothbrushes and toothpaste for each refugee. The students then spent a day wrapping and decorating boxes for the refugees to open over the holidays.
"We are glad to help them because they have nothing," said student Elisa Dixon. "We are going to do our best work decorating the boxes and color and do cutouts of winter scenes," said Reilly Coleman.
"We are so proud of the compassion these children are showing those less fortunate," said Pruyn. "We have many gifts to give these people to make their holiday and winter brighter."
Shown from left are Elisa Dixon, Reilly Coleman, Hayden Geibel and Derek Onelevo.