STAMFORD, CT – December 1, 2015 – On Tuesday, December 8, from 1:10 pm to 1:30 pm, three low-income families, who are working closely with Neighbors Link Stamford to overcome great difficulties, will be receiving holiday donations at Newfield Elementary School (345 Pepper Ridge Road, Stamford). A representative from Neighbors Link will be receiving the donations on behalf of the families. This project is brought to the community through the Stamford Public Education Foundation’s (SPEF) Service-Learning program and is a collaboration between SPEF, 5th grade students from Newfield Elementary School, and UConn mentors.

The donations are provided by Toys for Tots, Fairway Market, Palmwich, Target, Eden Farms Nursery & Garden Center, UConn-Stamford students, and other anonymous donors. A portion of the gifts are also hand-crafted holiday ornaments that students and mentors created together during one of the program sessions.

UConn MentorsThe curriculum for SPEF’s Service-Learning program was written by Human Development Professor Dr. Monica Miller-Smith at UConn and partners with the school to deliver mentoring to fifth and third grade students at Newfield and Hart Elementary Schools. The program at these schools engages UConn students from two courses, “The Family School Partnership” and “Low-Income Families,” both taught by Dr. Miller-Smith. This year the university students serve as mentors to approximately 170 elementary school students. During weekly mentoring sessions, mentors and mentees discuss topics related to service-learning, such as civic engagement, community service, and leadership. This program is also offered to third and fifth grade students at Roxbury and Stark Elementary Schools. The mentors participating at these schools are high-performing seniors from Westhill and Stamford High School. All Service-Learning classes culminate with a community-oriented project.