By Janee Law
For the last two months, children enrolled at Huntington Jewish Center’s Early Childhood Center have been getting out into the community to participate in random acts of kindness.
“I wanted to get the children to learn about their community, and to extend the acts of kindness out of just our school,” said Ilene Brown, director of Early Childhood Center, which is a school for children beginning at age 12 months, and continuing through kindergarten age. “My goal is for them to learn to help others and to be kind.”
There are around 80 children in the school, which is located at 510 Park Ave. in Huntington.
Brown, of Huntington, said the 2-year-olds at the school collected books, and decorated and laminated bookmarks for a pediatric oncology unit at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park.
Meanwhile, 3-year-olds collected boxes of books and gently used toys to donate to CCMC, and also made picture frames and necklaces that they sold at the school. They raised around $190 to purchase boomboxes and CD’s for the Huntington Station branch of the Head Start program, which is a nonprofit that provides services for low-income children and their families.
In addition, the children at the Early Childhood Center baked brownies and hand delivered them to the Huntington, Huntington Manor, East Northport, Northport, Greenlawn, Centerport, Cold Spring Harbor and Halesite fire departments.
As for the 4-year-olds at the school, they visited the Atria Senior Living in Huntington Station where they sang five songs to the residents.
“I can’t even tell you how moving it was, the residents were so happy,” Brown said. “On their last song, they sang ‘God Bless America’ and the residents were welling up with tears, clapping and smiling.”
The children also passed around cake to the residents while interacting with them.
“They really brought a lot of joy to their lives and then they kind of gave it back to the kids also because the kids were so happy that they were making other people happy as well,” Brown said.
She added, “It’s just a way to thank our community members, but also to teach our children about doing kind acts for people and appreciating what people do for you.”
Brown said the movement, which began in February, also educates the children on character.
“It’s given them a sense of happiness as well because they’re doing something kind for others which in turn helps them feel good about themselves,” Brown said. “They’ve just learned so much talking to the seniors, people in the community and people in the firehouses.”
And it isn’t done yet.
The children plan to raise funds for the Whip Pediatric Cancer campaign, which was started by a Melville teen as an effort to raise awareness for pediatric cancer and raise money for Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. The children Early Childhood Center will be doing the “whip” and “nae nae” dances on May 11 in order to support the cause.