The Summit School in Queens and its 150 high school students walked from 188th Street and Grand Central Parkway to Cunningham Park on Wednesday, April 13, to raise awareness for juvenile diabetes.
The walk was part of the service learning program that students at the special education school participate in, with each class having a different project and study of interest.
After learning about homeostasis and hormone regulation in their living environment course, one class linked their service learning to researching the causes and treatments of diabetes.
The students then organized a fundraiser for the school and reached out to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) to help set a walk for all students called “Students Walk to Cure Diabetes.”
Deborah Ashby is the school’s service learning coordinator and started the program a year ago. In addition, her class was the one that got in touch with JDRF.
“[The program] is about doing research and looking for a resolution to community needs and at the same time learning about those needs,” said Ashby. “We teach what it means to be a member of society. We ask [students] what is your vision of the world and what can you do to be a part of the vision.”
Ashby’s class led the walk to Cunningham Park and back, with a few students in front holding up a banner from JDRF with the name of the cause.
“I feel like we are making a statement and helping out,” said Sara Friedlander, 17, who walked among her classmates.
“My grandma has diabetes,” said Terrence Diable, 17. “I do believe this walk is for a positive cause and I am pro the fight to find a cure for diabetes.”
St. John’s University students that volunteer in the school and some faculty members walked as well.
Students raised a total of $2,100 for JDRF. Two members of the organization walked with the students and thanked them afterwards for their efforts. The school was given a banner and 10 percent of the money they raised to spend in any way they want.
Julia Friedman, 16, raised by herself $635. “I just went door to door in my neighborhood asking and then my grandparents said they would match the amount up to $300. It felt great to raise it.”