Keystone Oaks Gives Back to the Community this Holiday Season
Throughout the Keystone Oaks School District, students, staff and families participated in a variety of charitable giving activities to help make the holidays a little brighter for children and families in and around the communities of Castle Shannon, Dormont and Green Tree. Activities took place at each building and supported individual families and numerous charitable organizations.
This holiday season, we’re thankful for the spirit of giving and generosity throughout Keystone Oaks!
Fred L. Aiken Elementary School
Dormont Elementary School
- Aiken Elementary School raised $370 for the Highmark Caring Place by purchasing glitter bulb and snowman ornaments for the “Tree of Hope” that was on display at the school. The Highmark Caring Place provides free support, education, consultation and referrals to children and their families who are grieving over the loss of a loved one.
- Students at Aiken Elementary School collected an SUV full of food, toys, blankets, towels, peanut butter and treats for animals at Animal Friends.
- Sponsored by the PFO, Aiken Elementary students created 200 holiday greeting cards to be distributed to children staying at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh during the holidays.
Myrtle Avenue Elementary School
- A Dormont Elementary tradition, first grade students assembled ornaments and decorated cards for the residents of Baptist Homes in the south hills. Teachers and parents worked together to make this happen- the teachers planned and prepared for the ornament-making, parents came in to assist the students making the crafts, and the teachers dropped off the ornaments and cards at the homes.
- Led by school librarian Sally Burgman, students donated 35 pairs of children’s pajamas to Scholastic Book’s Pajama Drive program. For each pair of pajamas donated, Scholastic provides a new book; the items are donated locally to children in need, many of whom are waiting to be adopted.
- Led by community volunteer and Dormont Elementary parent Victoria Salemme, Dormont Elementary School teamed up with Dormont Public Library and Dormont Borough to collect winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves for those who are facing homelessness and are in need of such items. Between the three locations, more than 300 coats and three bags of winter accessories were donated by members of the community! The donated items were delivered to Womenspace East, South Hills Interfaith Ministry of Bethel Park, Light of Life Rescue Mission, and Jubilee Kitchen and will benefit dozens of families and others in need this holiday season and throughout the winter.
- Teachers and staff members at Dormont Elementary School coordinated a Mitten Tree to help families in need at the school. The tree was decorated with mittens that contain the child’s gender and the age. Staff members and families chose a mitten and purchased a gift for that child. Dormont staff members organized the gifts for the families; this year, the program supported 27 children from 14 different families.
- Teachers and staff members at Myrtle Elementary School fulfilled the wish lists of two families with children in the school. They collected nearly $800, including a generous $500 anonymous donation, purchased the gifts and wrapped them for the families. This is the third year that Myrtle teachers and staff have helped families in their school and this year they were able to help nine children have a merrier Christmas!
Keystone Oaks Middle School
Keystone Oaks High School
- The Middle School Best Friends Club played an instrumental role in organizing and supporting the district-wide food drive for St. Winifred’s Food Pantry in November. Students collected items the week before Thanksgiving, which helped to fill an entire truck with food and toiletries for families in need in the community.
- Members of the Middle School Best Friends Club, along with club sponsor Steve McCormick and Andy Bochicchio, created more than 25 handmade holiday greeting cards to be distributed to children who will be spending the holidays in the hospital.
- The High School National Honor Society sent more than 120 greeting cards to the Salvation Army’s “Holiday Mail for Heroes” program. Each NHS member wrote messages in at least three cards, which were distributed amongst active and retired military veterans.
- Counselor Nicole Varrenti, math teacher Josh Kirchner and physical education teacher Nick Kamberis organized the High School’s participation in the Salvation Army’s annual Teddy Bear Holiday Party. This year, staff members, families, clubs and athletic teams purchased gifts and teddy bears for 75 local children in need. The children enjoyed pizza, drinks, and cookies generously donated by Little Caeser’s, Schneider’s Dairy, and the Keystone Oaks Food Services Department, and they were delighted with a surprise appearance by Santa Claus!
- The Caring Team, led by counselor Jennifer Tom, organized a raffle to benefit the Highmark Caring Place, which provides free support, education, consultation and referrals to children and their families who are grieving over the loss of a loved one. There were nearly 30 different gift certificates, tickets to various attractions and prizes as part of the raffle, which raised nearly $500 for the Highmark Caring Place.
- Students from the French and Spanish Clubs, along with club sponsors Julie O’Mara and Lisa Forlini, visited Kane Regional Nursing Home in Scott Township. The students sang traditional Christmas carols in French, Spanish and English. They also visited with the residents and presented them with homemade Christmas ornaments.
- The High School Best Friends Club collected donations for Senior Pet and Animal Rescue, a local rescue organization for elderly animals. Members of the club collected 41 bags and cans of cat and dog food, 19 packs of dog and cat treats, 20 blankets and towels, 32 pet toys, and cleaning supplies for the organization.