Though Make A Difference Day was Oct. 26, Ogden Elementary School students and staff celebrated two days early by donating new or gently used shoes to the Interfaith Nutrition Network in Hempstead and running a mini-marathon around their school field.
“We built excitement amongst the students and wanted to teach them empathy and how much kindness matters,” said Principal Dina Anzalone. “The shoes make such a big difference in the lives of those who need them.”
Make a Difference Day, the largest national day of community service. was created more than 20 years ago by USA Weekend magazine and the Points of Light Foundation. Millions of volunteers throughout the world unite to improve the lives of others each Oct. 26.
Assistant Principal Elizabeth Murray and Anzalone organized the mini-marathon and gave race numbers to the 400 Ogden students to place on their shirts as a way to celebrate Make A Difference Day. “The students can run around as many times as they want,” Murray said. “It’s a chance to breath some life into Ogden and get them involved. We do so many wonderful things to teach the kids the importance of citizenship.”
Isaiah Hill, a fourth-grader, ran around the field after lunch with his classmates. “It feels very good,” he said about celebrating Make A Difference Day. “We’re able to help the poor so they can have fun too.”
Tetyana Frekhtman, a Woodmere resident and the mother of a second grade student, said Make A Difference Day is a wonderful opportunity for kids to be active and get involved. “It’s important to give kids a sense of community and help people,” she said. “It’s very important to give back and it teaches them a valuable lesson.”
Fourth-grader Balial Sadiq said that giving to those in need has a lasting impact. “Make A Difference Day means to help those who need and help change the world to make it a better place,” he said. “When you learn to help others, it makes you feel good about yourself.”