Thirty-five students and several teachers from a school in Flushing worked together to provide holiday gifts to children and adults with developmental disabilities this month.
Students between ages 11 to 13 from J.H.S. 189 raised funds, shopped and donated to the Queens Centers for Progress (QCP) — an organization based in Jamaica that provides support and services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
J.H.S. 189 teacher Teresa DiPietro, who has worked with the organization in the past, spearheaded this year’s campaign.
“We were all excited to work with a local organization that provides so much support for a group of kids and adults that are oftentimes overlooked,” DiPietro said. “At this time of year, so many people are familiar with large charities — which are wonderful — but smaller organizations can really benefit as well.”
Students took to Target in College Point on Dec. 20 with $1,000 — raised through bake sales and other community efforts — to purchase items on the organization’s wish list.
“It was important for us to show our students that when you are committed to something and work hard, you can really make a difference in lives of others,” DiPietro said. “The students were able to take part in all aspects of the project, so they could really see how everything came together.”
Donated items included preschool-aged toys used for therapy in QCP’s children’s center, a 32-inch flat-screen television for the community connections café program — which caters to seniors in the borough with disabilities — and a DVD player to comfort children during physical therapy.
“Our physical therapy department received a new DVD player, which they will use to entertain the children during their exercise sessions, which can be physically challenging,” said Nancy Glass, director of the children’s center, on delivery day. “J.H.S. 189 made our school very happy today.”
In February, the students will again visit QCP to see the result of their efforts.
“Being able to be part of something bigger than me felt really good because I was able to help other people in need of certain things,” a J.H.S. 189 student said.
QCP has worked to promote independence, community involvement, and quality of life for children and adults with developmental disabilities in Queens for over 66 years.