Gifford Students Enjoy Volunteering

Gifford Students Enjoy Volunteering
Posted on 12/28/2017
Community Service Town Crier

This article was published by the Weston Town Crier on December 28, 2017.

The Gifford School in Weston provides educational and clinical services to students with social, emotional and complex learning challenges who are often misunderstood. Educating these students and helping them overcome their challenges requires that they feel safe and accepted. Creating a community where all students feel valued, safe, and accepted is a key component of Gifford’s culture and mission. “When kids feel like they are important members of a community, it helps build self-esteem and empowers them to support others- both inside and outside their school community” explained Wil Fredian, Gifford’s Executive Director. 

‚ÄčThis community perspective is reinforced as students are given opportunities weekly to volunteer at Buddy Dog, Sunrise Assisted Living, and Land Sake Farm. They are also encouraged to come up with their own ideas about how to make their communities better. This year, Gifford’s High School Student Government organized a combination food and toy drive for the Salvation Army. For every food item donated by Gifford community members, the school matched $1 raising over $500. The students will donate the food as well as purchase toys with the money collected. Jimmy Tskrekas, an advisor to Student Government and Charge Counselor who has been with Gifford for 14 years, said “It’s important to be engaged in a community that shows the students that they are valued, and service opportunities help them to understand that we are all needed.” Chris Holmes, a teacher with Gifford for 10 years and also an advisor to the group expressed pride in the students, “I know you will all represent Gifford well off campus.”

Linus Lockshin the Student Government’s Press Secretary was feeling good about the day. As the students loaded the vans with food and prepared to go toy shopping with the money raised, Linus told us “I’m excited we’re going to be able to give back to the community and raise awareness for two causes.” The students dropped off the the food and toys at the Salvation Army in Waltham.