Birthday Boxes Buddy Project at Slingerlands

collage of classroom photos

It’s a ready-made birthday party with candles, balloons, cake mix, frosting, a whisk, sprinkles and everyone’s favorite, Funfetti. And it’s been packed with love.

Recently at Slingerlands Elementary School, students, teachers, and families collaborated to assemble and deliver 40 of these Birthday Boxes to the Merrillac Family Shelter, Albany County’s only residential shelter designed specifically for families.

Students in Lester Betor’s fifth-grade class and Heather Reid’s second-grade class used their “buddy time” to plan and organize their special donation.

“The Merrillac Shelter is a non-profit organization near and dear to Slingerlands,” said teacher Heather Reid.

Reid explained that the shelter is affiliated with St. Catherine’s Center for Children, where former Clarksville Elementary School principal Dorothy McDonald had worked before becoming the principal at Clarksville. Slingerlands Elementary was a “sister” school to Clarksville while it was open and welcomed many Clarksville students and staff when the school closed in 2011. One of those staff members was Mrs. Reid, who has kept Principal McDonald’s legacy alive by continuing to engage Bethlehem students in community service that supports The Merrillac Shelter.

Dorothy McDonald passed away in 2010 at the age of 61 after a battle with leukemia.

Mr. Betor and Mrs. Reid team up on “buddy” service projects regularly, with the older students serving as role models to the younger students. The projects are often supported by families and other Slingerlands’ staff.

“We asked our classroom families and staff for donations, and they responded generously,” said Reid.