The Center School

RIGOROUS EDUCATION FOR DEEP THINKERS AND CREATIVE SPIRITS. PRESCHOOL-8TH GRADE. EST. 1981

Students Help Warm the Children

By PATRICK O’CONNOR, Recorder Staff
The Recorder
Greenfield, MA
October 29, 2005, pp. 1 and 7.

GREENFIELD — Lee Oldenburg gave her third- and fourth-grade students a challenge: they needed to make the most beautiful pocket scarves and then give them away.

As students from Greenfield Center School began to complete their multi-colored and multi-use pocket scarves, they began to feel more attached.

“It’s really hard to give away your best work,” said Renna Snow-Earp, a third-grade student who was focusing on pushing embroidery floss through the eye of a needle to continue sewing in her classroom Tuesday.

“But,” she added, “it makes you feel even better when you are giving it to people who need it more.”

The center school’s students are making the pocket scarves for Warm the Children.

The Recorder, which sponsors Warm the Children, has a goal to serve 1,500 children. Each child, 12 and under, receives $100 worth of clothes. Wilson’s Department Store, a co-sponsor, has already ordered clothes for 1,500 children.

Volunteers create a store in the Second Congregational Church’s function hall. Social agencies refer families, who then shop at the store on Nov. 16, 17 and 18, before the extreme cold of winter begins.

Two classrooms of third- and fourth-grade students are making 36 scarves, one per child.

Photo: Donna Elwell, October, 2005

Each scarf has two pockets on its ends.

“So we’re not just warming their necks, but we gave them a place for their hands,” said Snow-Earp, as she continued to work on her green, red and orange polar fleece scarf.

In the second-floor classroom, students sat around tables, where they stitched cutout designs of cats, trees, a Halloween bat, flowers, an arrow and other patterns onto the pockets.

Seamus Hawks, a third-grader, stood in the center of the classroom with her classmates, Kai Sweitzer and Sophie Letcher. They all had their scarves hanging around their necks.

It’s been a challenging project, Hawks said. To make the pockets and the sewn-on designs, they needed to learn to do a running stitch, a whip stitch and a chain stitch.

“It feels good to make stuff for people who cannot afford it,” Hawks said.

Oldenburg organized the classroom project with three other teachers, Terry Kane, Emily Cross and Grace Bianciardi.

The project is part of the socialization component of the curriculum at Greenfield Center School, which is a private non-profit school that has 140 students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

All the material was donated.

“I think they’re really proud of their work. They worked really hard,” Oldenburg said about students. “I just wish we could have made hundreds of scarves because I know the need is huge.”

Since September 2004, the community has raised $130,000 for Warm the Children.

So far this month, $28,528 has been donated. The First Baptist Church of Bernardston, which closed, contributed $11,225 on Oct. 12.

The United Way of Franklin County’s Women’s Way group gathered 100 pairs of boots at an event at the Brandt House Thursday. People who want to donate boots can still drop them off at the United Way at 51 Davis St.

Each student wrote a note to the recipient child and put it in the pocket of the scarf before the teachers delivered them to Warm the Children! – Photo: Donna Elwell, October, 2005

Upcoming events include a spaghetti dinner and raffle Nov. 5 at the Greenfield Elks Club at 2 Church St. Local businesses are providing food and DJ Bobby C. will be playing music.

Tickets cost $6 for adults and $3 for children. Children 6 and under get in for free. Tickets are available at the front desk of The Recorder. For more information, call Norma Lovett at 774-4014 Ext. 151.

The Recorder and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office are sponsoring the event.

The Greenfield Tae Kwon Do Center at 102 Federal St. is hosting the third annual Warm the Children Break-A-Thon Dec. 3.

David Johnson, owner and master instructor, said center members receive donation pledges for each board they break in two hours.

Last year, they raised $3,625.

If people want to pledge a donation or make a straight donation, call Johnson at 774-5395.

The public is welcome to attend the Break-A-Thon.

People interested in hosting a fundraiser can contact Jane Kane at the Recorder at 772-0261 Ext. 204.

Those who want to volunteer at the store may contact Pat Maleno at The Recorder at 772-0261 Ext. 241.

People who want to publicize fund-raisers or if you have a story to tell, contact Patrick O’Connor at 772-0261 Ext. 280 or write poconnor@recorder.com.

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