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Elementary school project lets Howard Beach elders rest easy

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Jodi Tocci-Guerriero's third-grade class from PS 146 in Howard Beach gave out 95 small cotton pillows to some 100 seniors May 4 as part of a community service project that was inspired by an school play that the students performed later in the week. The production was created by the students and contains characters that make a difference in people's lives."She's a very creative teacher," said Mary Reilly, the school's principal.Rosaleen O'Leary, president of Our Lady of Grace Golden Age, a group of seniors who have been meeting at the hall every Wednesday for almost 30 years, got a call from Guerriero about the project and was happy to accommodate the students. Guerriero said she used to make pillows when she was younger and distribute them to seniors when her grandmother was alive. "I'm trying to teach my students the golden rule," she said.She has been successful in reaching out to at least one student about community service.Third-grader Nicholas Sears said he understands the rewards of brightening up somebody's day."You get paid back somehow," he added. "(The seniors) gave us kisses."The pillows were made using fabric, rubber bands, cotton and a hot glue gun, according to Stewart Bailon, a student in Gurriero's class.The students straightened out the fabric and spread out two handfuls of cotton, rolled up the fabric, tied it with a rubber band and then tied ribbons over the fabric, Bryan Rosado said. "It was easy to wrap up and hard to get the rubber band on," said student Julia Antignani.The children also sang and read poems to the seniors as part of the project. They all chimed in to say that it was a "fun" experience.Third-grader Edward Al Ebwan added: "It's very nice (in the auditorium) because we gave to seniors who were very kind.""I think that was a wonderful idea and it shows the children that they can make a difference," Reilly said.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173

Posted 7:05 pm, October 10, 2011
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