The Birchwood Elementary School community recently demonstrated how
social media, when used correctly and responsibly, can be a vehicle for
greater good reaching around the world. It started when one Birchwood parent
posted on her Facebook page how she planned to prepare a care package for a
Marine troop stationed in Afghanistan. Friends of Amy Farrigan and fellow
fifth grade parents saw her post and quickly and enthusiastically offered to
assist. In a short time, the effort swelled to both of Birchwood's fifth
grade classes participating in this effort.
Students of Mrs. Lynne Johnston and Mrs. Ellen DiRienzo's classes wrote letters, made friendship bracelets and drew beautiful pictures for 20 service men and women. But it didn't stop there. Families of the students got wind of this effort and also voluntarily participated by bringing in needed supplies, such as microwavable foods, K-cups, winter clothing, baby wipes, and more for the platoon.
Amy felt compelled to organize this effort in honor of Veteran's Day and to have just the daycare she runs participate. However, after making mention on Facebook, it took on a positive life of its own.
"I'm amazed and so very grateful as well as impressed by the efforts of the Birchwood fifth grade students," said Amy, adding, "I also thank both Mrs. Johnston and Mrs. DiRienzo, as well as the parents who rallied to support this humanitarian project."
Amy initially used the website, www.anysoldier.com to get the troop's general information. This particular troop was stationed out of North Carolina and is currently serving in Afghanistan. Thanks to the combined efforts indicated, Amy was able to pack up and ship off four large care packages to this grateful group of 15 men and 5 women bravely serving our country.
"This is the type of community we have not only here in Niskayuna, but most especially within our close-knit Birchwood Elementary School community," explain both David Apkarian and Deb Foley, PTO Co-Chairs. "We are very proud of our fifth graders and their unselfish acts of kindness. And also a special thanks to Amy for her initiative."
Birchwood Elementary is the home of close to 300 students grades kindergarten to fifth grade and is one of five elementary schools within the Niskayuna School District.