Community & School News



P.S. 26: Small School, Big Hearts
The students at P.S. 26 in Travis busied themselves last month packing lunches for the third annual Bagged Lunch Project, a schoolwide effort led by the School Leadership Team (SLT) along with parent volunteers and staff members. A record 210 lunches were dropped off at Project Hospitality to be distributed to those in need.

The annual project is held in conjunction with National Random Acts of Kindness Day. According to SLT Co-Chairperson Basma Douban, the goal is not just giving back but involving every single student in the process. Each grade plays a different role: pre-K and first graders decorate the lunch bags, second and third graders drop in the snacks and drinks, while the fourth and fifth grade classes assemble the sandwiches. The project relies on contributions from local businesses to provide groceries and supplies, so it’s truly a community effort.

“Our school’s vision – Small School, Big Hearts Building a Legacy of Excellence – incorporates the concept that all students will engage in community service projects. Offering these projects during the school day has provided us the means to include every child in the process. Further, they allow all students the opportunity to become involved in civic justice on their developmental level,” said Principal Laura Kump.

P.S. 26 is no stranger to philanthropy. The SLT team hosts an annual holiday toy drive, delivering wrapped gifts to the pediatric wards of local hospitals. Last year, they collected $1,000 in coins for victims for Hurricane Harvey & Hurricane Maria. The also donated $700 in gift cards from bake sale profits to veterans at the Walter Reed Medical Center for the Wounded Warriors Project, which they will likely be doing again this year.

“Involving the students in community service projects enables them to take an active role in their community and to learn core values of compassion and empathy while giving back. It teaches them valuable life skills that we hope they can take with them to middle school and beyond,” said Mrs. Douban.

New Park Coming to Charleston
Local officials joined the NYC Parks Department recently to break ground a new, $20.3 million, 42-acre park in the Charleston section of Staten Island. Once completed next summer, the park will feature a multi-purpose field, a baseball field, pickleball courts, tennis courts, horseshoe pits, an outdoor fitness space for adults, a picnic shade structure, several multi-use trails, a comfort station, and parking. It’s slated to be open by the summer of 2020.

The Fairview Park project has been in the works for almost two decades, withstanding a frustrating number of delays. Borough President James Oddo expressed his joy in finally seeing those plans come to fruition at the ground-breaking ceremony. “The decision made long ago to embrace and affirm the notion that Staten Island is the Borough of Parks is one farsighted decision we got right,” he said. “Fairview Park is a huge investment in ourselves as Staten Islanders, and is a team win for all of us. I am proud of the role we at Borough Hall played in getting this long-discussed plan to the groundbreaking, and we will continue to work with our partners in government until it is open and ready to be used by Islanders of all ages.”

“Fairview Park will be a wonderful addition to our borough of parks and especially the south shore, from the adjacent library to the courts and fields at Fairview, this location is going to be a hub of activities and recreation options for every member of the family,” said Council Member Joseph Borelli. There’s a significant demand for fields and active recreation on the south shore and this is a tremendous step toward unlocking the potential of the tremendous acreage of park land in our community.”

Maternity & Newborn Upgrades at SIUH
Planning your next delivery at Staten Island University Hospital? Soon it will look a lot different than you remember it. The South Shore hospital is introducing a new addition to their Seaview Campus: The Staten Island University Hospital Women and Newborn Center. The purpose of the upgrade is to bring together the hospital’s current labor and delivery, maternity, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and newborn nursery units, which are currently located on separate floors. Other plans for the new space include: a state-of-the-art, fully modernized NICU so more at-risk newborns can receive life-saving care and families can bond with fragile infants in greater comfort and with more privacy; private Labor and Delivery rooms with private bathrooms to replace double rooms, vastly improving patient and family comfort; and a welcoming environment, filled with natural light, personal touches, and a separate street entrance, all of which shall contribute to a warm and inviting atmosphere. The $80-million plus project is currently under construction.

Special Needs Programs at Fenix Studios
Fenix Studios, a local recording studio and rehearsal space with strong community ties, is offering classes to students with special needs. The studio currently has over 50 students with special needs enrolled in instructive classes ranging from instrumentation, music, performance arts, team-building, lifestyle, production, art and more. Students ranging from toddlers to young adults can take part in these classes. Go to for more info.

Casting Call for Breast Cancer Patients
Do you have breast cancer and want to share your story with others? Cancer Tamer, a helpful website and YouTube channel that serves as a resource for women with cancer, is looking for both men and women with breast cancer to provide words of encouragement for others with the same diagnosis in an upcoming video. The video will be featured at, on the Cancer Tamer YouTube channel, and during the upcoming Breast Cancer Diaries Play. Your story could be a source of strength to someone struggling with their diagnosis. Details on the time, date, and location to be announced. For that information, go to

Springtime Basket Auctions
Spring Basket Auctions are right around the corner! Head to for a list of auctions held in Staten Island this spring. Feeling generous? Be sure to contact the schools in your area if you are interested in donating a basket of your own. If you would like your school’s auction to be added to the list, please email the details to

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