Helping the Pediatric Hospital Foundation

Zorelys and Anabella’s Eighth Grade Community Service Project

The eighth grade Community Service Project is one that encourages young students to look for ways to flourish their ability to give. In an environment where it is so easy to take without any thought, it is important to give back. Students Zorelys Rivera and Anabella Padua are two who, this year, have not only completed their project, but were eager to share their achievements with the Baldwin community.

Zorelys and Anabella’s goal was to help the Pediatric Hospital Foundation, which aims to improve the facilities of the Hospital Pediátrico Universitario, deemed the most important medical institution for children and adolescents in the island. The girls put themselves at the disposal of the foundation with the intention of helping them in the best ways that eighth graders could do. It is safe to say that Zorelys and Anabella were able to pull it off.

Upon contacting the foundation, Zorelys and Anabella were provided with a list of necessities that were currently unavailable in the hospital, such as toys for the children. However, they were explicitly told that a vital, yet seemingly simple, material was in shortage: towels. In response to this, the girls organized a towel drive to be able to fulfill this need.

“We had a couple of donors send us towels, but also we  had a bunch of people who couldn’t send us towels, so they sent us money. We went to Costco to buy towels in their name. In the end, we got a bit more than 80 towels.” Zorelys explained to me in an interview I had with her and her partner. The community service project of these Baldwin students showed that, while it was a personal initiative, it is important to involve other people in the execution of the aid they were giving to the foundation. Their towel drive demonstrates how Zorelys and Anabella were able to inspire and encourage others who were not a direct part of their project to indirectly alleviate a problem in the hospital by involving them in the recollection of towels.

As for the rest of the materials that the foundation asked them to provide for them, the eighth grade leaders also raised funds to be able to get them. The foundation explained to them that, while donations of toys for the smaller children are very generous, they were in need of other types of toys that the older patients in the hospital could entertain themselves with, such as board games, for example. To do this, Zorelys and Anabella baked and sold cookies in San Juan which, although challenging, proved to be worthwhile in the fruits of their labor.

However, the work of these students did not end in fundraising. On two occasions they visited the hospital and spent time with the patients engaging in direct service. This experience was gratifying for Zorelys and Anabella, who were able to witness firsthand how their efforts to help the Pediatric Hospital Foundation paid off. Although challenging to raise funds and organize their project, both students agree that the experience was more than worthwhile, and leaving a mark on the hospital was something that they will treasure for years to come.

For rising eighth graders and younger students in middle school, the Community Service Project may seem daunting at first. However, the experience of Zorelys and Anabella proves that, with just the right amount of effort and dedication to their cause, undertaking this project, focused on giving without expecting in return, gives  back gratification and satisfaction in the form of knowing that a difference was made in the community.

The Baldwin community congratulates all eighth graders in their completion of the Community Service Project and wishes the best for future middle-school seniors in their own future endeavors with this initiative.