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Tuesday, Feb 3, 2015

Bridge students and teachers giving back

Ten students and several teachers and staff from The Bridge Program (Columbia-Greene Partnership Academy, located in Hudson, NY) spent the day volunteering at the New York Regional Food Bank in Latham, NY in one of several school initiatives to give back to our communities. The Food Bank provides much-needed food and supplies to communities throughout the entire region.

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Students Masai (left) and Isaiah (right)
and teacher Helen Thompson (center)

“An ongoing commitment to community service is very important to us here,” says Bridge Principal Dan Kalbfliesh. “We involve our students in monthly activities volunteering where needed and sometimes raising awareness and money to benefit any number of causes.”

Kalbfliesh says the students gain a genuine sense of accomplishment and experience what it means to be a good citizen when they give back. He refers to it as “building bridges” between students, who are often misunderstood, and people in their communities.

Sorting and boxing bottles of water earmarked for various local food pantries, Masai (left in photo above), a junior at the school, described the day: “We all worked together in small teams, but each of us had our own job. We found that was more efficient. Each of our teams developed our own way to get the job done.”

While the students reinforced the value of teamwork, they also discovered what they had to be grateful for in their own lives. Isaiah (right in photo), a senior at the school, said, “It made us feel great to help out other people in need. We were grateful that we have food on our own tables and we were glad that we had the opportunity to help others who don’t.”

The Bridge is a partnership between the Berkshire Union Free, Hudson City, and Catskill Central School Districts. The program serves at-risk students from multiple school districts and is designed to help teens succeed in school and to graduate college and career ready. Currently, 55 students are enrolled in the school.


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