Community Service can come in many different forms. Whether it is the XIIs serving meals at Daisy’s Food Pantry or discussing how to make our school more eco-friendly, community service is a core part of C&C’s culture. Recently, C&C has taken part in a book drive for Project Cicero to donate new and gently used books to underfunded libraries and public schools.
Project Cicero was founded back in 2001 named after the First Century Roman writer and book collector, Marcus Tullius Cicero. Over the past 18 years, Project Cicero has successfully distributed over 4 million books to 1 million students in New York City. The Community Outreach representatives, Sarah Parker, Sabrina Holkar-Ellis, Millie Cartagena, and Pam Usanachitt, worked hard to spread the word of the Project Cicero Book Drive. Following the success of the annual Family Service Day in which students, parents, and faculty prepared and served meals for those at Daisy’s Food Pantry, Community Outreach is eager to keep families involved. After over ten years of participation in Project Cicero, community members have grown accustomed to taking part in the drive, but it is important to take a further look into how the drive directly connects to C&C. Sabrina, one of the Community Outreach members, said this when reflecting on why it is important for our students to take part in drives of this sort.
“The opportunity to serve the larger community is a direct extension of the Job’s program and helps to build our community’s civic awareness. As a parent, I want my children to have the opportunity to engage in the richness of New York’s community - part of that is understanding the vast differences that exist in the neighborhood they go to school, and also what the differences are across the city. I believe this exposure and the opportunity to engage in a constructive way with the work of social justice, will help to raise individuals who are kind and proactive about making the world a more equitable place.” said Sabrina
This connects to the core beliefs of this school and how community service is implemented in several aspects, such as the Jobs program. While a student may view writing signs for the school as a fun task, hidden under the fun is an element of service and giving back to the community. As members of a private school community, it is easy to take simple things for granted such as having access to books. But it is important to learn how to give back to our community and share our resource. “I’ve had the chance to talk to my kids about the pleasure and the privilege of reading - how lucky we are to have a home and a school with books all around us. We have had a chance to talk about how that isn’t the same for all schools in NYC and how Project Cicero helps by redistributing books around the city so that more and more schools can offer their students the joy of curling up with a book. We also talked about how this helps books to “stay alive” instead of just sitting on a shelf, gathering dust.” said Sabrina Holkar-Ellis. Embedded in Project Cicero is an opportunity to not only give back to the children of New York City but to take a moment and acknowledge the privilege we have not only as individuals but also as a community.