ARMONK, N.Y. – Byram Hills High School juniors Terence Carthy and Nick Cioffoletti’s club, Students Serving Soldiers, has really resonated with their peers.
The response was overwhelming to last month's drive to collect supplies for members of the military serving in Afghanistan as part of the 10th Mountain Division.
“We filled more than 60 boxes with donations,” said Carthy. “It took 4½ hours to pack it all.”
The club accepted anything that wasn’t perishable and that would remind soldiers of home. Carthy was impressed with both the student response to the drive and the quality of offerings.
“We got donations of a lot of high-quality items. It showed that people really care,” said Carthy.
Even though the Students Serving Soldiers took advantage of a USPS discount for boxes mailed to those serving overseas, the club emptied its coffers of funds raised with bake sales to pay the $800 shipping costs.
Now, students are looking for ways to restore their bank balance and move on with additional outreach.
“Both these boys are real go-getters,” said Byram Hills science teacher Kevin Guidotti, who advises the club. “They don’t like it when funds get low!”
He added that Carthy and Cioffoletti came up with the Students Serving Soldiers concept after helping out at a barbecue for veterans at the Reid Sanctuary in Rye during an outing with the Byram Hills High School Outdoor Club.
Now in its second year, the club aims to support both active and retired servicemen and women. In addition to sending care packages to soldiers serving overseas, students raise money for wounded warrior programs and have made a donation to Educating Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD) at Green Chimneys in Brewster.
They also visit the local veterans hospital, where they “hang out, playing board games and Nintendo with the vets, and chat about their experiences,” said Mr. Guidotti.
About 30 club members also went on a field trip to the 9/11 Tribute Center in New York City earlier this month, which served to remind everyone “that freedom isn’t free, and to reflect on the sacrifices servicemen and women make to protect us,” said Carthy.
“It was very emotional, very eye-opening and showed us the importance of all types of service, like the police, fire fighters and ambulance workers,” he said.