December 1017 Community & School News

Send a Letter, Grant a Wish
macy's believe

Emma finishes off her letter to Santa at the Macy’s in the Staten Island Mall.

The best way to kick off the Christmas season is with a letter to Santa – and it’s even better when it’s for a great cause. Now through December 24, bring a letter addressed to Santa to Macy’s and drop it into the big red letterbox or send a letter online at and for each letter received, Macy’s will donate $1 to Make-A-Wish, up to $1,000,000. On December 8, Macy’s stores nationwide will celebrate National Believe Day with special celebrations and fun. The Believe campaign is based on The New York Sun’s famous “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial. Make-A-Wish is one of the world’s leading children’s charities, granting a wish somewhere in the United States every 34 minutes. The wonderful program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year of making wishes come true for sick children. Click here to learn more and get your kids started on their letters.

Kids Night on Broadway
Why should grown-ups 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 will take place on Tuesday, February 27th. Tickets go on sale on in early December. Be sure to save your appetite! Many Times Square area eateries offer specials for Kids’ Night on Broadway ticket-holders, including free entrees for kids. For a list of participating shows, how to get tickets, and more information, click here.

Freezin’ for a Reason!
Miss the beach? Don’t wait until next summer to go back. The 11th annual Staten Island Polar Plunge is set for Sunday, December 3, when participants will brave the icy waters of South Beach to raise money for the athletes of the Special Olympics. Awards will be given to the top fundraisers. Click here to link to a registration form or to support a Plunger.

Holiday Happenings Guide
’Tis the season to trade out turkeys for tinsel! The holidays are here and we want you to make the most of the season with your family. Go online to see our Holiday Happenings Guide to get up-to-the-minute info on local holiday fairs, Christmas & Hanukkah events, toy drives, seasonal crafts and recipes, holiday TV schedules, our famous annual Gift Guide Giveaway and so much more! Click here to check it out now!

Staten Island’s Very Own Winter Wonderland!
Feeling festive but don’t feel like leaving the Island? Then don’t! This holiday season, Richmond County Bank Ballpark will transform into a larger-than-life Winter Wonderland, complete with ice skating, a 34-vendor holiday market, a nightly light show, Santa’s Workshop, a life-sized working Gingerbread House bakery, an Igloo bar, and nightly live entertainment, rides, games, and experiences for guests of all ages.

The 85,000-square-foot family-friendly event promises an “immersive holiday experience” for patrons and an “interactive and innovative blend of both traditional holiday charm and modern entertainment.” Click here to link to their Facebook page and more info, and use the hashtag #winterwonderlandsi to follow all the fun.

‘Way of the Warrior Kid’ Author Inspires Local Kids
It was a motivational moment at the Petrides School recently, when Former Navy SEAL, New York Times bestselling author and leadership instructor Jocko Willink visited the school to meet with the children who participated in the Borough President’s Summer Reading Challenge. Willink spoke to the students who read his book, The Way of the Warrior Kid, took questions, and spent time motivating the kids to be the best they can be. After Willink’s talk, the NYC Parks Department provided fitness activities for the kids.

“It was a thrill to observe how many people came out to see Jocko Willink,” said BP Oddo. “I am a fan of his motivational tactics and believe everybody can benefit from his inspirational words on discipline and personal responsibility.”

Rising Runners
Five New York City students, one from each of New York City’s five boroughs, served as Grand Marshals for the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon recently. The Grand Marshals were all participants in Rising New York Road Runners, a free youth fitness program launched by New York Road Runners at the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

Staten Island was represented by Grand Marshal Oluwaseni Johnson, 12, from New World Preparatory Charter School, who said: “Every year, I watch the New York City marathon at home with my dad and sister. I’m inspired by it because it shows me that people will push themselves to do more, even if others think they won’t be able to do it. I really hope I’ll be able to run the TCS New York City marathon one day since I enjoy running. If I run the marathon I would want everyone I know to run the marathon with me so they would be able to push themselves to their limits and be their best selves. I am inspired by the marathon and its runners because it shows people can accomplish things if they set their mind to it.”

In addition to the Grand Marshals, more than 3,000 young runners of all ages participated in youth running events during race week and on race day, including the Rising New York Road Runners Jamboree.

Holiday Toy & Winter Drives
No child should be left without a gift under the tree come Christmas morning. Make sure that those less fortunate get something this year by donating to one of these local toy drives. You can also donate gently used coats to keep those in need warm when the temps begin to drop.

23rd Annual Richard Gardner Jr. Memorial Toy Drive
Collecting any new, unwrapped toys for sick and underprivileged children. Also accepting monetary donations.
Collection location: Please send donations to Richard Gardner Jr Memorial Fund, 37 Windom Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305.
Contact: If you would like to make a donation please call (718) 981-2016 or (718) 273 9386 or email [email protected]
Event: Annual Toy Drive Event night will be December 2 at 9pm at Castleton Corners Pub.

Island to Island Toy Drive
Collecting unwrapped toys for Children in Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria until December 14.
Collection locations:
Gateway Church • 200 Boscombe Ave • Mon-Fri 9am-4:30pm & Sunday 8:30am-1pm
Atmosphere Essentials • 7481 Amboy Rd.
Assemblyman Ron Castorina, Jr. • 7001 Amboy Rd., Suite 202E

Toys for Tots
Accepting brand new, unopened, unwrapped toys or monetary donations for less fortunate children in the community until December 8 (may vary by location).
Collection locations: Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Cabo, Kids Dental, Staten Island Diner, Richmond County Savings Bank, Five Below, Clark’s House of Flowers, Comprehensive Pediatrics, Pinot’s Palette, Standard Burger and Walgreens. You can also donate at

NY Cares Coat Drive
Accepting clean, new or gently used jackets and coats until December 29.
120 Precinct • 78 Richmond Terrace
121 Precinct • 970 Richmond Avenue
122 Precinct • 2320 Hylan Blvd.
123 Precinct • 116 Main Street
PSA 1A • 154 Lamport Blvd.
Various car dealerships on Hylan Blvd. and at Dana Ford Lincoln at 266 W Service Road

Free Skiing & Snowboarding for Kids
Planning a snowy family getaway this winter? The Pennsylvania Ski Areas Association is offering free skiing or snowboarding up to three times to 4th and 5th graders at participating resorts. Additionally, the students can take advantage of a beginner lift, lesson, and rental package free and 50% off a beginner lift, lesson and rental package for the accompanying adult. Families do not have to be from PA to participate. Snowpasses are issued on a first-come, first-serve basis, so PSAA encourages families to fill out their applications online now. There is a nominal online processing fee of $35 before Dec. 1 and $40 after.  Link to the application here.

Snow Shoveling for Seniors
Do you have an elderly neighbor? Someone who is unable to shovel whenever it snows? Help out your neighbor by joining Where to Turn’s Shoveling for Seniors Program. Help senior neighbors by shoveling for them when it snows, and in turn you receive ten hours of community service and the feeling of knowing you’ve done something wonderful for someone in need. Call 718-966-6531 or email [email protected] for more information. You can so join the Where to Turn group on Facebook for updates on all of the organization’s wonderful initiatives.

That’s What Friends Are For
Fun family-friendly events, exclusive online giveaways, big savings from local merchants, and always up-to-date seasonal happenings are just a few great reasons to become a Family of Friends member! To start receiving the SI Parent weekly newsletter, just CLICK HERE and fill out some basic info. It’s fast and easy. You can also sign up directly from our Facebook page by clicking on the “Sign Up” app button. We promise we won’t spam you; we’ll only send you the good stuff!