Caring for the Community at HS

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Students in Paula Behrens’ child psychology and development class at the high school are providing caring support for teens, moms and babies at the local Madonna Heights center in Dix Hills as part of a dedicated community service project. They coordinated a baby product drive, and made welcome bags for newcomers to the residential school, which provides struggling adolescent and teen girls with opportunity for growth in a therapeutic educational environment.

The five-week drive resulted in the donation of hundreds of donated diapers, wipes and even baby formula packages, collected by Deer Park students and staff. The students also hand-wrote letters containing personalized messages of caring and support to other teens to encourage healing and strength, which were included in the packages to Madonna Heights.

“It’s important to reach out to help people in our own community,” said senior Kallie Ohanian, who volunteers at Madonna Heights. “It’s exciting to know that our small acts of caring – like putting together welcome bags containing writing journals, gel pens and a soft stuffed animal – will make a big difference to someone who is struggling to transition to a new school or new place to live.

“We are proud that students jumped at the opportunity to become a resource in their own community,” said Behrens. “After all, without a sense of caring, there can be no community.”