Wednesday, December 5, 2012

NYCIMBy heads to Red Cross Headquarters

NYCIMBy heads to Red Cross Headquarters
Today we dropped off the $3,450 we raised on Veterans Day and got a really cool tour of the American Red Cross facility.  Here we are with the CEO, Josh Lockwood, and the Chief Development Officer, Christopher LaBianco.
Syd and Sylvie couldn't join us on Veterans Day because they had school.  But they wanted to be a part of giving back, so here they are at Red Cross headquarters, dropping off our donations.
And here they are learning about how the organization mobilizes when catastrophe strikes.

We saw volunteers from all over and learned a great deal about how the Red Cross helps.  We are so happy and proud to be a part of the effort!

Monday, November 26, 2012

NYCIMBy Does Compassion!

On Veterans Day 2012, NYC Is My Backyard launched a new initiative called NYC Is My Backyard Does Compassion.  We gathered a crew of volunteers in grades K-7, who decided that no school meant a day on, not a day off, for our first (of many planned) day of community service.  This one, in light of the recent devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, was also a fundraiser.  All tuition checks were made out to the American Red Cross/Sandy Relief Fund for a grand total of $3,450!  In addition, we put together 20 bags of supplies for homeless individuals, wrapped 20 gifts for children in a hospital and made numerous cards for veterans.  We then delivered the cards and sang to the vets in a senior citizens' home.  At the end of the day we reflected, in conversation and in writing, on all that we'd done.
Recording Our Reflections-Inspired to Write!

Here is what our volunteers said:

Today I thanked the vets.  I ate lunch outside.  I made a card.
It was a sunny day.  It was fun.
-Lula, Kindergarten

Today I went to sing to the veterans and I ate outside and it was fun!  Cool.  But now...we are writing and I am writing what I did.  What I wrote about was what I did.  It was a fun day!  Cool!
-Jacob, Kindergarten 

Today I ate lunch outside and we gave presents to poor people that are in the hospital and we sang songs for the vets.  It was a happy day.
-Maxwell, Grade 1
Today I ate lunch outside and now we are going to do writing about what we did this day.  I sang to the veterans.  We made presents for the kids who are in the hospital.  It was a beautiful thing.
-Liran, Grade 1

Today I went to sing for the veterans and ate lunch outside.  I wrapped presents for the sick people and I felt happy.  It was fun and I played with Maia.  It made me feel happy to help people.
-Shannon, Grade 1

Today we ate outside and we made some presents for sick kids.  We sang to the veterans.  It was fun and I hung out with Shannon.  It made me feel happy to help people.
-Maia, Grade 1

Today I made cards for kids in the hospital.  We sang songs for veterans.  This Land Is Your Land and It's a Small World.  We ate lunch outside.  It was fun, fun, fun.  The people felt good.  We gave them cards.
-Simon, Grade 1
Today I ate outside.  I sang a song to the vets.  I made a card.  It was a fun day.  I felt happy to sing a song.
-Alexander, Grade 1
Today I sang for the veterans and I made presents for the kids in the hospital.  I made a card.  I had a picnic.  It was fun.  It made me feel good.  The people felt great!  I wrote about my day.
-Julia, Grade 1

Today I made cards for the veterans.  I also wrapped presents.  I also sang a song.  It was fun.  I also felt nervous at first.  Then I felt happy.  Now I feel better.
-Zoe, Grade 1

Today I met seniors that are veterans.  We sang This Land Is Your Land and It's a Small World.  We made presents for the kids in the hospital.  We made them a card.  I liked helping people.
-Henry, Grade 2
Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked putting together care packages for the homeless shelter!  In the care packages, we put in a bar of soap, toothpaste, tissues and a warm hat.  I also enjoyed making the cards with the care packages and singing songs for the veterans.  It was exciting that I could meet the people who fought in the war.  We sang It's a Small World and This Land is Your Land in the senior center.  We had cookies and hot chocolate afterwards.  It was yummy.  
-Ashley, Grade 2

Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked making the cards for the organizations and it was also fun singing for the veterans.  What I learned today:  How you can change the world.  It was fun singing for them because it shows them we know what they did for the world.  They liked our songs and they also were singing along.  Well the people who knew the songs.  It was a great opportunity to get to know the people who saved our world.
-Jesse, Grade 3

Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked talking to a senior and I liked wrapping presents for the children in the hospital.  Hudson and I did a performance and we saw veterans.  We sang.  We also learned about seniors' lives.  I felt so happy that I got to talk to seniors and I was sad that I had to leave.
-Harry, Grade 3

Today I learned that noticing the people who served our country is really important.  We also sang songs.  We went to see veterans.  We sang songs to them and we talked to them.  It was fun there.  We also made stuff for people in the hospital and people at the homeless shelter.  We learned and did a lot of things today.  I was happy we got to see people who served our country.
-Alex, Grade 3

Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked singing to the veterans at The Hallmark Senior Home.  It makes me feel proud for being brave enough to sing out loud in front of a lot of people instead of chickening out.  

I also liked making presents for the sick children who are stuck in bed.  I added a paper crane to one child's present, and a bonus sheet of stickers for another!

One coincidence at The Hallmark Senior Home is that I met a lady whose granddaughter is an angel in the SAME Nutcracker Ballet performance as me!  Her granddaughter is also playing the same role as me.  What a coincidence!  I also made a short thank-you statement to the veterans.

I had a great experience and I hope to do this again some day!  In addition, I would like to say that I made soooooooo many friends , that I just can't keep track of how many I have!

In conclusion, I would like to thank my mother for letting this day happen.  I am grateful.
-Byul, Grade 4

Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked when we were making packages for the kids in the hospital.  Each package made me so happy.  I made six packages, so at the end of the time making those packages I was so very happy.  It made me feel so good.  Then I went to a senior home to sing to the veterans.  I got to know them and it was very fun.  I would like to do this again.
-Jagger, Grade 4

Today I joined a group of friends to do community service.  We did different projects.  I really liked when we went to the senior citizens home and sang "It's a Small World After All" and "This Land Is Your Land."  I met a woman named Bea!  She was very nice and her brother served in the war! (II)  She used to be a special education teacher.  She thought I was great at yo-yoing!  I briefly met another veteran named Frank.  He told me there was not a single time he was scared, and he really enjoyed it.  I enjoyed this experience very much.
-Hudson, Grade 4

Today I think we made a very big difference in this community.  We are here because we want to help our community by donating money to the help Hurricane Sandy relief fund and also to make some veterans feel good.

One thing we did to help the veterans is make them thank you cards.  Another thing that we did was sing them songs.  They loved it.  Overall I feel very good about myself for helping those in my community.
-Isaac, Grade 5

Today me and my friends Lucy and Erin signed up for NYC Is My Backyard.  We helped Sandy victims and did many more fun things.  I think we are here because lots of people need help.  Since we have a house and a good life so far, we are helping them.

So far today we have made cards and gifts for children in the hospital, homeless people in a shelter and NYC veterans.  Doing all those things made me feel very happy because after we gave the cards out and sang to the veterans.  I looked around and people were smiling and were happy, and when I make someone happy, I am happy.  I'm sure the kids in the hospital and in the homeless shelter will feel the same way.

I really feel good about today, like I changed people and helped them to get back on their feet.
-Tess, Grade 6

     Hi.  My name is Lucy and today we helped, sang and did many more fun things in NYC Is My Backyard.  
     I think we're here today to make the world a better place and honor veterans.  What we did is make bags, presents and cards for people in need of them.
     For people who lost their homes who are in a shelter, we made them bags of toothpaste, soap, etc.  For the veterans we made them cards.  Lastly, for children in the hospital we made them bags of toys.  Later we sang songs at the senior center.  
     Doing all this work made me feel happy and like I was doing something to make the world a better place, like they did in Miss Rumphius.
-Lucy, Grade 6

     Today NYC Is My Backyard helped by singing, making cards for veterans, and making cards for kids who are now in hospitals.
     By helping out in all of these ways, this makes me feel proud of myself for helping my country.  In the end I feel like a veteran for being right there by the side of lots of people like veterans were for us.
     I think that doing all of this work was something to feel good about by the end of the day.  I also think that this was a good activity to do more often in natural disasters and to make people feel happy.
-Erin, Grade 6           

     What we have done here at NYC Is My Backyard, it really made a difference in some seniors' and veterans' lives.  Today we wrote cards to veterans about why we are thankful and grateful for them.  In our cards we wrote a small response about why we are thankful, and decorated it with colors and stickers.  After that we rehearsed 2 songs.  One was, "It's a Small World," and the other was, "This Land Is Your Land."  We then sang it to the veterans and seniors, and gave them our cards.  Finally, we celebrated with hot chocolate!
      At the end it was really fun and I really enjoyed myself.  This made me want to volunteer a lot more!
-Dashiell, Grade 7
*New NYC Is My Backyard trips, including community service days, are currently being scheduled.  Check our website,, for updates.  Send an e-mail to to be added to our mailing list.

**I'd like to thank the generous teachers who volunteered their time to help make this day of service work.  A big shout out to Nancy Chairman, Elizabeth Lewis, Kaitlyn McLoughlin, and Amy Taylor.  You are all AMAZING!

A Few More Pictures

Coming up with ideas about how to make the world a better place,  in response to Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

 Practicing songs to sing for the veterans

Cards and wrapped gifts for children in the hospital