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P.S. 108 teaches students about civic duty

Bronx Times

Pupils at this Morris Park elementary school now have a first-hand lesson in civic duty.

The children at P.S. 108 spent the school’s first-ever Community Day engaged in caring for the elderly, the disenfranchised and the patriotic.

“They become better citizens in the end,” said new assistant principal Caren Shapiro, who introduced the Community Day in February.

She asked the student council to find ways to help their Bronx neighbors.

The council set up eight stations in the school playground on Monday, May 7.

Kids then taught kids to make birthday cards for the elderly at a nearby nursing home, write letters to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan and create placemats for the soup kitchen at nearby St. Lucy’s Catholic Church.

Students also painted a mural on a wall of the school, at 1166 Neill Avenue.

The goal, said Shapiro, was building self-esteem -. “They become better citizens.”

She learned about the power of Community Day after working with the nonprofit Children for Children, which trains kids to become leaders, helping them learn about volunteerism at a young age.

“Their early involvement is like a basement to the top of the world.”

Among the students involved in Community Day was third-grader Uroj Bajwa, who prepared “Bracelets of Hope” for children hospitalized at Montefiore Medical Center.

“We’re going to send it to them to give them hope and courage,” said the sprightly child.

“We worked on them for many weeks,” added Isabella McClary. “We want the kids to be happy when they get them.”

At the start of the semester, the nonprofit Penny Harvest asked the school to collect pennies.

A portion - $750 - was given back to the school to pay for the supplies needed to make the items for Community Day.

Local businesses, including the Van Nest Tru Value Hardware store, Anthony’s Flower Shop and Bagel Den on Williamsbridge, also helped support the effort.

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or email dcruz@cnglocal.com.

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