Community & School News December 2018

Soccer Kids Against Cancer
Their toes were cold, but their hearts were warm as the Staten Island Soccer Community recently came together at the Second Annual Gold Ribbon Games to support ten-year-old soccer player Maggie Russo in her battle with cancer. Players, referees, parents and coaches all braved the nighttime chill under the lights at the Owl Hollow Soccer Complex to raise money for Candlelighters NYC, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families of children with cancer as well as We Can Kick It, a foundation which uses soccer to inspire and empower children affected by cancer and their families.

Maggie and her 13U Our Lady of Good Counsel Soccer Club teammates joined Petrides, Richmondtown, Great Kills, OLHC, St Patrick’s, OLSS, Holy Child, New World Prep and St Joseph Hill Clubs in games with players wearing gold socks — the color of childhood cancer awareness – to show their support for Maggie. The event raised $5,000 for the two charities!

Maggie was diagnosed with cancer when she was almost two years old. It began in her left eye, which was removed, then later spread to her bone marrow and most recently her bladder. There is currently no cure or treatment for Aveolar Soft-Parts Sarcoma, the kind of cancer Maggie is battling. You can follow Maggie’s journey on

The NYC Lantern Festival
There’s a whole new kind of winter festival coming to Snug Harbor this holiday season. The NYC Winter Lantern Festival is a spectacular display spanning seven acres, lit up by 40 LED installations up to 30 feet tall. The handcrafted LED lanterns will be accompanied by live performances of traditional Chinese dances, art, and a variety of vendors.

10,000 LED lights illuminate the themed lantern “zones,” which include a glowing light tunnel, Sea World, Animal Kingdom, Panda Paradise, Holiday Zone, Chinese Lights and Wonderland.

The NYC Lantern Festival is running November 28, 2018 through January 6, 2019 (closed on Mondays & Tuesdays). Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays 5-10pm and Fridays and Saturdays 5-11pm. Ticket prices are $15 and up. Go to for more information and to purchase tickets.

Freezin’ for a Reason
Miss the beach? No need to wait until next summer! The 12th annual Staten Island Polar Plunge is set for Sunday, December 2. Participants will brave the icy waters of South Beach to raise money for the athletes of the Special Olympics. Click here to link to more info or to link to a registration form or support a Plunger.

Kids Night on Broadway
Why do adults get to have all the fun? Kids Night on Broadway lets kids under 18 see a Broadway show for free when accompanied by a full-paying adult. It also includes family-friendly restaurant deals, parking discounts, and activities. This year, Kids Night on Broadway takes place on Tuesday, February 26. Tickets go on sale this month. Save your appetite! Many Times Square eateries offer specials for ticket-holders, including free entrees for kids. Click here for a list of participating shows and how to get tickets.

Buddy Bench
After a school in Staten Island shut down and all of its students were merged into St. Dorothy’s, there were many students who felt lonely and in need of new friends. One St. Dorothy’s student had an idea. She had heard about a program called Buddy Benches, where students who were new, lonely or bullied could sit on a special bench and have another student come sit with them. Her wish was to bring Buddy Benches to her school – and UPS made that wish come true through their annual Wishes Delivered campaign. As a surprise, the founder of the Buddy Benches program – nine-year-old Fort Wayne, Indiana student Sammie Vance – delivered the bench in person to the students of St. Dorothy. Learn more about Wishes Delivered here.

Holiday Toy Drives
No child should be left without a gift to unwrap during the holiday season. Help make the season special for families who are less fortunate by donating to a local toy drive. You can also donate gently used coats to keep those in need warm when the temps begin to drop this winter, or volunteer your time to a charitable foundation. For an updated list of ways to give back this holiday season, visit