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“Letter H is for Helping Week” Blog Recap!

Hello all,

“Letter H is for Helping Week” was Honorable, Humbling, and of course FULL of Helping! For the first time this year, the students held off on bringing shares to school; however, the students did not come to school empty handed! All week long, the students (and their parents) entered PPA with assorted canned goods and dried food. This food was collected throughout the week and on Friday was donated to the C.A.U.S.E. Center, a local organization and food pantry located at 741 Bergen Avenue that helps feed families from al over the surrounding area. Take a look at the photo below to see the donations from the extremely generous students (and families) of Park Prep. We are sure that this donation will help fill the bellies of so many people this holiday season. Thank you to all of the families that contributed to this large and impressive donation!

food donation


The students spent both Monday and Tuesday morning working one on one with the teachers to complete their Letter H identification/fine motor activity sheets.  The teachers were so impressed with how easily the new students recognized the letter H and also how well the older students remembered all things “H” during their morning work!  In the afternoon on Monday and Tuesday, the students created the eighth letter list of the year!  Naturally, the letter H list was full with Heaps of H words!  As a whole group, the students took turns brainstorming and contributing words that begin with the letter H and also Hunted around the classroom for letter H items!  Afterwards, they participated in a discussion about what it means to HELP.  During the discussion, the students decided that helping was when you do something nice for someone else.  They also brainstormed a list of ways that kids can help out!  Take a look below.


helping list

The teachers informed the students that Wednesday’s morning work activity would be all about helping a very special group of people – senior citizens!  When asked if they knew what the term “Senior Citizen” meant, the students seemed a bit puzzled.  The teachers helped explain that senior citizens (or seniors for short) are people who have been alive for a VERY long time!  One student raised his hand and asked, “Alive for a long time – like 6 years?”  The teachers explained that seniors were more like SIXTY-SIX years old!

Like everyone from time to time, seniors need a little extra care – particularly around the holidays.  The seniors that the PPA students decided to help are the permanent residents of the Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park located at 525 Montgomery Street in Jersey City.  The students spent their morning crafting beautiful and elaborate holiday cards for each of the residents.  After school on Wednesday, the teachers visited Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park to hand out the cards to the senior residents.  The cards surely helped make everyone at the A.H.C.C.H.P. feel so special and happy during the holidays!




The helping continued on Thursday but this time the students would be helping animals!  The teachers explained that some animals do not have a home or owners to take care of them.  Unlike the animals in the students’ houses, these animals have to find their own food and take care of themselves.  Fortunately, there are wonderful people who spend their time to help these special animals by keeping them healthy, finding them a home and providing them with food to eat.  The students were so excited to learn that they would be helping these animals by spending the morning baking homemade cat and dog treats for them to eat!  Following the directions in the recipes, the students mixed together special ingredients and then placed them on baking trays which the teachers baked later that day.  In the afternoon, the students were visited by Miss Arati, a representative from The Liberty Humane Society facility located at 235 Jersey City Boulevard.   Miss Arati visited PPA to teach the students all about the amazing job the Liberty Humane Society does to help animals that do not have homes!  She explained that LHS houses both cats and dogs, all of whom would really be in the mood for a tasty treat that the PPA kids made!  She also taught the students about ways to treat animals, pet safety, and more!  Here are some of the highlights from Thursday morning and Miss Arati’s visit to PPA.




After school, the teachers took four full cookie trays along with an SUV-trunk-sized food/supply donation over to Miss Arati and the team at the Liberty Humane Society! The animals seemed so happy as they devoured the treats the students baked.  As the teachers recalled from last year, a video of the feedings was out of the question as it sounded like the doggies were in a “Who can bark the loudest?” contest!   The cats were much quieter and took their time eating the treats.  The cats all seemed to have a general rule about the cookies- play with the treat first, lick the treat, then eat the treat!  Regardless of how they went about eating them, one thing was clear – they were yummy!  Take a peek below to see some action shots from the visit and also to meet Zombie, a rescue cat, below!




Friday was another day full of helping!  This time the group was not seniors or animals but instead the servicemen and servicewomen of the United States Military.  These brave men and women spend the holidays (and other days!) all over the world, away from their homes and families to help keep all of the people living in the United States safe!  While it is hard to express our gratitude entirely, the PPA students were eager to help in any way possible!

The PPA teachers knew just who to call to help the U.S. Military!   The teachers contacted a very helpful and special Paramus, New Jersey school teacher named Jane Cosco.  Back in 2003, Mrs. Cosco was driving in her car and listening to the radio when a woman called in to inform the public of plans to cut military holiday budgets and ask for civilian donations for soldiers stationed overseas during the holiday season.

Finding this unacceptable, Mrs. Cosco rallied her middle school students to volunteer their time to stuff goody bags with special treats that would be sent over to the troops stationed in Iraq and away from their families during the holiday season.  Operation Goody Bag, as it was named, started out as an afterschool activity seven years ago and has grown tremendously!  Mrs. Cosco and her helpers have stuffed and sent over 300,000 goody bags to thank our troops! For her efforts, Mrs. Cosco was the recipient of the Call to Service Award by former President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.  For all of the hard work and generosity over the years, Operation Goody Bag was awarded a federal grant from the Corporation of National and Community Service!   Talk about Helping others!

The students were so excited to learn that they would be responsible for making goody bags with Mrs. Cosco herself!  The teachers explained that step one of making the goody bags involved decorating the bags!  The students got right to work that morning by coloring in the heart coloring pages that were later cut out and glued onto each bag.  Before long, the time had arrived and Mrs. Cosco greeted the students of PPA warmly!  After a quick welcome, Mrs. Cosco spoke a bit about the important job the U.S. troops do around the world and also why the goody bags are so special.  She then shared photographs of her students stuffing and giving out goody bags to actual military servicemen and servicewomen!  From the looks on their faces, the servicemen and servicewomen really appreciated these bags!

After observing the presentation and seeing actual sailors and soldiers receiving goody bags, the students could hardly wait to get started creating them!  Here is how they stuffed each goody bag!



The students and teachers worked feverishly until every last piece of candy was packed and goody bag was stuffed!




Take a guess as to how many goody bags they made!  100?  No! 200? No! 300?  No!


That brings the PPA total to 2,900 goody bags! 

That is A LOT of goody bags!

Friday afternoon wrapped up with a technology presentation which recapped the entire week of helping! The students were thrilled to see through photographs and video clips such as the one below (which was recorded during another “Letter H is for Helping Week”), just how helpful their hard work was and how much it was appreciated!



Friday afternoon wrapped up with a visit from a familiar face – an old friend who was visiting from the wild world of Kindergarten!  The PPA alum photographed below spent the afternoon with the students answering all of their questions about what kindergarten is like and also reading several books to the class!  It is always so nice seeing old friends!  What a wonderful visit it was!




Wow!  What a wonderful and busy week of helping!  Park Prep Academy staff and students would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the organizations that opened their doors to us this week.   Donations on behalf of Park Prep Academy were also made to each of the groups that helped make H week so special.  See you next week!


To learn more about or to donate to any of the organizations that the PPA students helped this week, please visit any of the following links.

Liberty Humane Society 

Alaris Health Care Center at Hamilton Park

 Operation Goodybag


PPA Winter Holiday Celebration– Friday, December 18th

(2:00-3:00 p.m.)

Aftercare is not available.

Due to space, we kindly request that attendance is limited to PPA students and PPA parent(s).

Winter Recess 12/21– 1/1

School Resumes on Monday, January 4, 2016

Theme for Next Week: