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December 18, 2019

By Robin Becker and Kevin Ko-wen Chen, Communications Managers

Thanks to the combined efforts of 2nd Graders at Ethical Culture, the Fieldston Alumni Network, and ECFS faculty and staff, paper snowmen, snowflake streamers, and brightly-colored garlands now adorn the walls of the Win, a non-profit agency that provides shelter for hundreds of homeless families in New York City.

The decorations are a continuation of ECFS’ collaboration with Win, now in its third year. One year, 2nd Graders trimmed and embroidered scarves and shawls to donate to the organization. This year, students crafted hundreds of festive items to decorate Win for the holidays. 

On Friday December 6, over a dozen ECFS alumni, faculty, and staff gathered at one of Win’s shelters in Brooklyn to decorate the space using tie-dyed garland, strings of smiling snowmen, and festive drawings. A few 2nd Grade teachers were in attendance, carefully pinning up the decorations they recently helped their students make. 

Volunteers decorated multiple rooms at Win, quickly filling the spaces with holiday cheer. By the end of the night, walls were covered floor-to-ceiling with bright colors and sparkling light.  

In addition to the decorations, the walls of the shelter now feature dozens of posters with messages written by 2nd Graders in both English and Spanish — one shows a waving snowman captioned “¡Felices fiestas!” (Happy holidays!).

Fieldson alumni who participated in the event were no doubt recalling the service learning projects they engaged in while at school. “Fieldston was one of the first schools in the city that required students to perform community service as a requirement to graduate, but giving back and treating everyone equally was instilled in me since I walked through the doors of Ethical Culture in 1979,” says Chair of the Board Kimberly Smith Spacek ’91. “As ECFS alumni, we learn it’s our responsibility to help those less fortunate.”

It’s an inspiring reminder that every ECFS student, past or present, has the power to bring light with them wherever they go.