Middle School Students Learn About Making a Difference

As Elena Olivieri, associate dean of purposeful engagement, sees it, “No one is too young to be a power for good.”

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And just like that, the Middle School Service Fair was born.

Hosted by the middle school MISH (Masters Interested in Sharing and Helping) team, students in grades 5-8 gathered in Doc Wilson Hall on April 26 to meet with six nonprofit organizations: the United Nations Development Programme, Kendal on Hudson, The Sharing Shelf, Feeding Westchester, Alzheimer’s Association and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Representatives set up tables with activities and explanations of their organization’s mission.

“The fair is a way to engage middle school students in their local community’s needs,” Olivieri explained. “Through this model, the middle school MISH students have researched organizations and invited representatives to share their work and engage students in activities to support their mission. Students will also reflect and share their experiences.”

Trey Gelman ’28 and Brielle Broomes ’28 are the middle school MISH co-chairs who helped to organize the event.

“It's really important to raise awareness for these organizations. They don't have a lot of representation in our community because there are just so many organizations out there,” said Gelman, who also volunteers in Ardsley with children with mental disabilities. “So it's good to shine the spotlight on some of them and show everyone what they do, their causes and how they help the community.”

From combating food and clothing insecurity to learning about senior citizen issues and global inequities, Broomes felt strongly about sharing this information in person with her classmates. 

“I feel like they're learning a lot, and I see everyone is engaged and going around and really taking interest in every single organization that is here,” said Broomes, who also volunteers with Luv Michael, a program that supports the autistic community. “Events like this show middle schoolers that there are things going on in the world outside of the Masters community, and we need to help.” 

“I was very proud of our middle school MISH group for helping to pull together this event with Ms. Olivieri and Mr. Vu (MS MISH advisor),” said Tasha Elsbach, head of middle school, who attended the fair. “It not only provided our students with valuable insights into various local and global needs but also gave them a small taste of what it is like to take action and make a difference.”

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