There are an awful lot of important lessons to learn when you’re a Flower Hill Primary School first grader. Understanding what it means to be grateful and realizing why “giving back” can make a difference in the lives of those on both ends of the exchange are just two of them.
Teachers Doreen Ellis and Megan Scannevin and classroom aide Alison Burns worked with Flower Hill first graders to reach out and help those in a very needy community in Philadelphia.
Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. Scannevin have been working collaboratively for the past three years, looping successfully with the K/1 integrated program at Flower Hill Primary School.
“There is a section in Philadelphia where more than 26 percent of residents live in deep poverty,” states a letter the teachers sent to parents. “Your children will participate in a project with an organization called Face to Face. It is a multi-service organization that offers human services to more than 3,000 low income and homeless individuals each year.”
Ms. Burns’ parents, Tom and Jody O’Rourke have been involved in Face to Face for many years. She told Mrs. Ellis and Mrs. Scannevin about the organization and they saw a valuable opportunity for their students. Founded in 1972, Face to Face is focused on helping young people between the ages of 11-24.
The letter to parents and a series of classroom lessons and discussions kicked off the initiative that saw the first graders assembling individual shower bags filled with soap, shampoo, toothpaste, mouthwash and assorted personal hygiene items that were sent off to Face to Face during Thanksgiving week. The class managed to put together more than 30 such bags.
The class worked together as a team while learning the importance of “giving back” and helping others in need. The initiative made the youngsters and the teachers feel really good inside.
Born and raised in Brentwood, Mrs. Ellis has been a Huntington UFSD elementary grade level teacher since 2004. Prior to coming to the district she worked in private schools dating back to 1997. She holds an undergraduate degree from St. Joseph’s College and a master’s degree from LIU Post.
Born and raised in Hauppauge, Mrs. Scannevin has been a Huntington UFSD special education teacher since 1999. She obtained a bachelor’s degree at SUNY New Paltz in speech and hearing and then earned a master’s degree at Dowling College in special education and reading.