Over the past year, the 2019 Class of the Mid-Peninsula Chapter of the National Charity League took on a grant project to improve the outdoor space at a preschool in Belle Haven.
Twenty two girls from six different high schools, including Menlo-Atherton, Menlo School, and Sacred Heart Prep, had served at a variety of local non-profits, but this year decided to apply to the chapter for a project grant and partner with a non-profit that serves children.
All Five is an early education program for children and their families, whose first pilot school opened in the Belle Haven neighborhood on Menlo Park in 2015. Committed to serving a diverse community, it takes 12 fully-subsidized low income students and 12 partially subsidized and full tuition students.
The school director, Carol Thomsen, and her staff, expressed interest in the 2019 Class improving the outdoor space for the children. The first improvement is a music wall equipped with a variety of objects that the children can use for hands on exploration of rhythm and music.
The second improvement is outdoor chalkboard area. The kids are able to have a space for early literacy and creative art using a “garden” of flower chalkboards.
The Class also held a toy drive for items the staff requested and received contributions for several hundred dollars worth of items including a large collection of puzzles, painting smocks, play silks and scarves, and hopper balls.
“The best part of the project was the unveiling of the wall and the party we had with the children – a scene of pure joy,” said Eliana Oro, VP of Philanthropy for the Class. “The kids ran outside so excited. One boy, who is especially shy jumped up and down and clapped his hands and ran straight to the wall. Other kids joined him exploring the different parts of the wall making their own music. Other children got involved at the chalkboards asking us to help them spell their names.”
Photos courtesy of Amy Oro