New Canaan High School newsletter features a student initiative for Carver

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See the article here at the New Canaan High School Courant.

See the Carver blog post here about the NCHS students visiting with Carver kids.

Joelle Anselmo, Story Editor
Katie Jahns, Reporter

@janselmocourant @kmjahns

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To most kids, a birthday is a celebration filled with presents and cake. However, NCHS student Kiera Russo took a different approach to her celebration. “For my 16th birthday, instead of getting presents, I decided it would be a good idea to gather donations and gifts for a charity,” said Kiera. After doing some research, Kiera and her mom discovered a local charity only 20 minutes away, called the Carver Center.

After her birthday, Kiera and her mother went to the center to drop off the donations that she had received. “They were so appreciative of it, it was really nice to see,” Kiera said. She didn’t know it at the time, but this experience would quickly spark a new journey in philanthropy for Keira and many other students.

Kiera’s mother, Jeanne Russo, has always been an inspiration and role model figure to Keira. She also strongly believes in charity work. “I’ve always taught my kids to be grateful for what they have, and it’s almost our duty as a community to give back to those in need,” Ms. Russo said.

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The Carver Center is an afterschool and summer program located in Norwalk, Connecticut. “It’s an facility for kids who don’t have a stable home life, or whose parents work, so they can’t go home after school right away,” Kiera said.

According to the Carver Center Website, the program is the largest provider of afterschool and summer programs in Norwalk , helping over 800 children become better students and make life long friends. “They can go there to feel safe and secure,” Kiera said.

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Jim Schaffer, coordinator of the Carver Center, partnered with Kiera to establish a volunteer program where NCHS students can go to the center once a month to help out. “It’s like a trial run. It’s to see if the Carver kids are comfortable as well as the NCHS kids, and if the atmosphere is friendly and nice,” Kiera said. Modeled after this program, Kiera is starting the Carver Club at NCHS, which students that are interested in volunteering can join.

The Carver Center has recently opened up a technology room where students can use computers for their studies. They can enjoy many activities such as journal-time, basketball, or homework help. “Reading different testimonies and praises of the center, a lot of the principles of Norwalk schools said that this helped kids become better students and make more friends,” Kiera said.

Kiera has been working to make this program a monthly occurrence, where high school students can help younger kids with their homework or just play kickball in the gym. “ Kiera’s support and the support she rallies among her colleagues for Carver kids at NCHS will bring fellowship and opportunities to Carver kids,” Jim said.

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One of Kiera’s main goals is to help students become more aware of what’s around them and how they can assist. She hopes to make people more attentive to the needs of others through her program. “Knowledge is power, and if you know something, you can do something about it,” Kiera said.

Kiera has been working to make this program a monthly occurrence, where high school students can help younger kids with their homework or just play kickball in the gym. “ Kiera’s support and the support she rallies among her colleagues for Carver kids at NCHS will bring fellowship and opportunities to Carver kids,” Jim said.

One of Kiera’s main goals is to help students become more aware of what’s around them and how they can assist. She hopes to make people more attentive to the needs of others through her program. “Knowledge is power, and if you know something, you can do something about it,” Kiera said.

Thanks to the hard work and devotion of Keira and her support team, the first group of volunteers from NCHS will send ten students on a trip to the Carver Center on October 13th. “It should be a fun program for both the kids and the volunteers, and will make a big difference in the community,” Mr. Schaffer said. “This was 100% the inspiration of Kiera and for that we are deeply grateful.”