Communicate 58
News from Downers Grove Grade School District 58

Vol. 7 Issue 8                Special "58 Doing Good" edition          Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016
Dear District 58 families,

I hope your 2016 is off to a wonderful start!  Throughout the holiday season, the District 58 community once again generously gave of their time and money through a wide variety of service initiatives. In the  December issue  of Communicate 58, we shared how the Downers Grove Roadrunners Soccer Club and the Downers Grove Junior Woman's Club kindly volunteered to purchase gifts and necessities for many local families in need. Thank you again for your donations. I know the recipients appreciate it.

This special 58 Doing Good-themed issue of Communicate 58 will highlight some of the many service projects our schools, Student Councils, PTAs and school organizations completed during the holidays. Through these projects our schools and student organizations aim to cultivate  social awareness, collaborative and meaningful learning experiences, and opportunities for our students to serve as  contributing members of their community, both locally and globally. We are so very proud of our students for the many ways in which they demonstrate generosity, philanthropy and service to those in need.

Many wonderful projects and activities of service happen throughout District 58. If your child's school or classroom recently completed a service project not yet featured here, please let our Community Relations Coordinator Megan Hewitt know about it at We will continue to share service stories on our  58 Doing Good webpage.

Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D.
Superintendent of Schools
58 Doing Good: Features
Pierce Downer students hard at work; Photo by Amy Goray Photography; Story by Liz Foreman
Pierce Downer kids show they care, one shoebox at a time

Pierce Downer students and their families showed their holiday spirit by taking part in a unique service project: an Operation Christmas Child Packing Party. Together they donated materials and postage and assembled gift-filled shoeboxes that will soon arrive in Tanzania, an East African country more than 8,000 miles from Downers Grove. The boxes will be distributed to young children, ages five to nine.
Bloom's Angel's Co-founder and PE Teacher Gail Pistello hides a gift in a student locker.
Herrick staff group Bloom's Angels brings joy to students and families

Bloom's Angels once again demonstrated their generosity this holiday season by helping 50 middle school students. The group comprises Herrick staff who raise money to help Herrick families who are experiencing financial difficulties.

The group assembled 50 holiday gift bags, filled with winter wear, a gift card and candy. After school on Thursday, Dec. 17, they placed the bags in the students' lockers. When students arrived at school the next day, they enjoyed a wonderful surprise! 

Bloom's Angels, in partnership with Ashley Furniture, also provided four Herrick families in need with new beds, comforters and pillows. 

Finally, Bloom's Angels organized a holiday bicycle raffle open to all Herrick students. Ten Herrick students won a donated bicycle.

Learn more about Bloom's Angels holiday service here.
Whittier student leads school's Toys for Tots holiday toy drive

In 2009, Whittier fourth grader Dominic Passero started a school Toys for Tots toy drive during the holidays. The toy drive  has continued to grow through the years. After Dominic left Whittier in 2012, he passed on Whittier Toys for Tots leadership responsibilities to his first grade sister, Amelia.
Now in fourth grade, Amelia continues to lead Whittier's thriving Toys for Tots collection drive. Each year, she works with Principal Michael Krugman, teachers and students to promote Toys for Tots and encourage all to donate a toy, book or game.  While the final numbers have not been published yet, the Passeros believe that Whittier's 2015 Toys for Tots collection has exceeded the 101 toys and books collected the previous year.

Dominic and Amelia's motivation to organize a Toys for Tots Drive comes from their parents, Matt and Sharon's, wonderful example. The family, called 'Team Passero' by the Toys for Tots organization, has volunteered their time assisting local Toys for Tots efforts since 2001.

An El Sierra student writes a letter to Santa. El Sierra's efforts raised $296 for Make-a-Wish.
El Sierra and Lester write letters for Make-A-Wish holiday program

Instead of asking Santa for gifts themselves, Lester sixth graders and El Sierra fifth graders wrote letters to Santa requesting wishes for someone else in need.

"The letters were then delivered to the Macy's mailbox on Friday, 12/11, which was National Believe Day. For that day only, Macy's doubled their donation to Make-A-Wish for every letter," said Marina Kasicki, Lester sixth grade teacher.

View more photos.
58 Doing Good: Highlights from our schools
The Fairmount Student Council pose beneath their school's Giving Tree.
Giving Trees in District 58: A look at Fairmount and Highland

When December begins, many District 58 schools proudly put up Giving Trees near a prominent part of the building. Rather than decorate the trees with ornaments, students, staff and visitors don it with winter wear donations. 

For example, the Fairmount Student Council organized the school's Giving Tree and encouraged students and staff to donate hats, gloves and scarves. By winter break, the tree was brimming with warm winter accessories! 

In addition, the Highland Student Council prides itself on its annual Giving Tree fundraiser, each year hoping to help more families in need. In addition to winter wear, Highland families could also donate toys, games and books, which were lovingly placed beneath the tree. The Student Council donated the items to Humanitarian Service and the FISH Pantry.
O'Neill's Santa Good Cause fundraiser helps 10 families

The O'Neill Student Council's annual Santa Good Cause fundraiser collected nearly $1,700 from students during homebase in December. The Student Council used the money to purchase gift certificates for local families in need. This year, they were able to help 10 families!
Hillcrest Brownies spread holiday cheer at Immanuel Residence

Hillcrest Brownie Troop 50972 visited residents at Immanuel Residence in Downers Grove. The girls performed Christmas carols, a poetry reading and a piano program. The girls and residents then created 50 Christmas cards for vets at Hines VA Hospital. 

"It was a lovely afternoon of giving and holiday spirit for everyone involved," said Hillcrest parent Jennifer Haselhorst.
One of El Sierra's Good Deed walls.
El Sierra good deeds go a long way
Fifth graders pack 31,536 meals

El Sierra celebrated an all-school effort called "Good Deed December." Throughout the month, students and staff aimed to do random acts of kindness and shared examples on the "Good Deed" wall. 

Students also partnered with Downers Grove South to collect board games and winter clothing for families in need. Staff collaborated on their annual "Jingle Jeans" fundraiser. With a $1 donation, staff earned the right to wear jeans to school. Jingle Jeans raised more than $230 to help the French Red Cross and the victims of the recent Paris terrorist attacks. 

Fifth grade teachers Meg Rohlfing and Maura Vivona took their students on a field trip to Feed My Starving Children, where they packed an impressive 31,536 meals -- enough to feed 86 starving children for one year! 
Henry Puffer secretary Diane Peterson volunteered to get taped to the wall to raise money for charity.
Henry Puffer gets stuck on giving
Mitten tree, bake sale offer ways to give

The Henry Puffer Student Council hosted their annual " Stuck on Giving" fundraiser Thanksgiving week. For a small donation, students got the chance to tape secretary Diane Peterson to the wall! Thanks for being a great sport, Mrs. Peterson!
Throughout December, Henry Puffer's Mitten Tree grew fuller as students decorated it with donated hats, gloves, scarfs and yes, mittens. At Santa's Breakfast, the Student Council held a bake sale and donated all proceeds to Feed My Starving Children.
The Pierce Downer Student Council pose in front of food collected during their Bears vs. Packers food drive.
Bears or Packers? Pierce Downer turns food collection into contest

Pierce Downer students and staff raised money to purchase gift cards for those in need and held a creative fundraiser to collect canned food donations for FISH food pantry.
"We turned it into a contest for Bears vs. Packers, and the team that collected the most food school-wide got to celebrate by everyone wearing their colors during one day of school," said Student Council co-sponsor and teacher Alison Mitchell. "The Bears won, so everyone, including Packers fans, had to wear Bears clothing/colors to school."
Henry Puffer and Indian Trail boy scouts donate toys for Toy Express Children's charity.
Indian Trail sells candy canes 
PTA holds book fair; IT/HP scouts donate toys

Indian Trail's Student Council sold candy canes to raise money for charity, and the PTA hosted a book fair that raised money to enhance teachers' classroom libraries.

In addition, the Pack 54 second grade cub scout den collected almost $1,000 worth of toys to donate to Toy Express Children's charity, and volunteered their time helping at the distribution site. Pack 54 comprises students from Indian Trail and Henry Puffer schools. Great job boys!  
Herrick HOPE Club helps community

Herrick's HOPE Club had a busy holiday season full of service and outreach! The HOPE Club is a Herrick student outreach organization. In December, they held a bake sale and school movie and donated all proceeds to the club's chosen charity, Disabled Sports USA. 

The group also visited Oak Tree Towers senior home and sang Christmas carols, ate dinner and did crafts. 
Lester head custodian Frank Krezel comically pretends to shave after the Pie in the Face contest concluded.
Lester gives back all season long

Lester's Student Council raised a record $1,400 during their " Pie in the Face" fundraiser, which supported Thanksgiving basket gift cards.
Students purchased raffle tickets for the chance to throw a pie at Head Custodian Frank Krezel.  One student from each class was selected for the challenge.  Mr. Krezel was a great sport! After the contest finished, Mr. Krezel's face was covered in whipped cream. He smiled, took out a razor and started to fake shave his face. "Good thing I forgot to shave today," he exclaimed.

Lester fourth grade girl scouts completed two service projects during Thanksgiving break: they made Santa Boxes for children in need through PADS and Hope's Front Door, and they helped pack 127 boxes of meals for Feed My Starving Children.

The Lester community also collected winter wear and toys to donate to Sharing Connections. Lester staff also raised money to help fellow Lester families in need through their "Jean-gle All the Way" fundraiser.
Kingsley helps homeless shelter
Boy scouts donate to Toys for Tots

Kingsley third and fourth graders donated toys, books, gloves and blankets to Family Shelter Service, a shelter located in south Downers Grove. In addition, Kingsley staff donated $351 to help the shelter, which faced budget cuts this past holiday season. 

Kingsley's Boy Scout Pack 227 hosted a special holiday party that included a Toys for Tots Drive and a visit by a local sergeant in the Marines. The sergeant performed a uniform inspection prior to this photo to ensure all scouts were in tiptop shape. During the event, many of the scouts received badges and were honored for their work so far this school year.
Belle Aire's Change for the Community helps at Thanksgiving

The Belle Aire Student Council organized an all-school fundraiser called Change for the Community to raise awareness of food inequality in America while collecting money to help families in need at Thanksgiving. Students could bring loose change (or larger amounts!) to donate to the drive. 

Thanks to the Belle Aire community's generosity, the school raised $365, which helped make Thanksgiving happier for many local families! 

Belle Aire also collected cold weather accessories in December via their Giving Tree.
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