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K. McGauley ’20 Organizes Activity Drive for Casserly House
On Thursday, May 14, Casserly House named Newton Country Day its star of the week for organizing an activity drive for its After School Program (ASP).

Members of the NCDS Service Committee have been volunteering at the Casserly House, a non-profit that provides learning experience and support service to the underserved, for years. Newton students typically assist the ASP students with their homework, play games, and participate in activities such as working in the community garden.

“When I realized that NCDS was going to miss its regular date to visit Casserly House in April, I reached out to their After School Program director, Adrianna Corriveau, to inquire whether our students could be of help,” said Dr. Mark Potter, Chair of the Religious Studies Department and the Director of Community Service. “She informed me that they had moved ASP online in response to the physical distancing required by the City of Boston, and that they were reaching out to their students each day on Zoom. But, since the ASP students were at home, they lacked many of the school supplies, craft materials, workbooks, and educational games/activities that Casserly House provides onsite.” Potter contacted K. McGauley ’20, a weekly Casserly House volunteer, knowing she would jump on the opportunity to support the ASP students.

“I volunteered at Casserly House every Wednesday from November through the beginning of March,” McGauley explained. “I was fortunate enough to experience the benefits of having a meaningful relationship with many of the students there. When the Boston Public Schools announced their closure due to COVID-19, my mind immediately went to the children at Casserly and finding a way to help them. Along with Dr. Potter and Adrianna Corriveau, I was able to put together the school supply drive. I have also been tutoring in the afternoons on Zoom with students to practice their reading skills.”

Next, McGauley emailed Upper School students, explaining her idea to create care packages for the 13 students enrolled in the ASP and soliciting volunteers. Corriveau reached out to each ASP student’s family to gently inquire about what they needed and wanted in terms of supplies and activities to make the quarantine experience more productive and enjoyable, and together they put together simple suggestion lists. The families gave permission to have shipments from Amazon sent directly to their homes. McGauley then matched each ASP student with an NCDS student who responded to her call for volunteers to purchase and send materials.

“McGauley was extraordinarily sensitive and thoughtful about making sure the students received care packages that would be helpful educationally, but also help to make the shelter-in-place experience more enjoyable for the students and their families,” Potter commented. “She also emphasized equity with the NCDS volunteers so that each care package would be relatively comparable to the packages received by other ASP students.”

In a thank you posted on its website, Casserly House wrote, “The thoughtfulness and generosity of the NCDS community truly brightened the day of so many! Staying at home for young kids brings many new challenges. These activities, games, and school supplies will help many of our students stay engaged and motivated in the coming weeks as they seek to finish out the school year while staying safe at home. We want to extend a huge thank you to McGauley and Mark (Potter) for organizing, and to all of the members of the NCDS community who have taken part in the fundraising efforts!”

Noting that the supply drive could not have been possible without the help of additional students, McGauley wanted to thank M. Ascione ’21, K. Cloonan ’20, A. Coburn ’20, E. Durbin ’20, M. Heeney ’21, S. Henao ’21, A. Hennessey ’21, G. Jobson ’22, J. Kwon ’20, A. Lynch ’21, A. Montgomery ’20, and E. Sullivan ’21.