This article was published by the Weston Town Crier on December 22, 2016.
During the holiday season, we often reflect more on the well-being of others, particularly those less fortunate. Community well-being is a cornerstone of Gifford School’s mission. Gifford is a non-profit therapeutic day school in Weston, MA that serves students with social, emotional and complex learning challenges. “When our students feel accepted and supported, they are able to make great gains not only in academics, but also in social relationships which empowers them to support others in the community,” said Bob McArdle, Gifford’s Executive Director.
Gifford high school students are given opportunities each week to volunteer at Buddy Dog Humane Society in Sudbury and Sunrise Assisted Living in Weston. Camilla Dunn, a high school student and Student Council President comments on her experience at Sunrise: “I feel like I’m contributing to Sunrise by keeping the residents active and engaged. I think I would like to have a career advocating for others. I’ve learned so much about self-advocacy at Gifford, and I would like to use those skills to help other people.”
In addition to these regular community service opportunities, the students in each of the schools have organized volunteer events. This December, as in many past, the high school Student Council organized a bake sale to generate funds to purchase toys and donate them to Toys for Tots, a US Marine Corps program, to collect new, unwrapped toys for less fortunate children in the surrounding area. This year the students raised over $500 from the bake sale to purchase toys. Linus Lockshin, Student Council Vice President told us “It’s amazing how we can make a difference for kids who are less fortunate by raising awareness and getting the support to do something about it. I really feel like we’ve done something to help the community.”