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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nashua kicks off season with Giving Tuesday

By DON HIMSEL
Staff Writer

NASHUA – ’Tis the season not only for gifts and celebration, but for charitable giving, and it was kicked off in a big way on Giving Tuesday.

The effort was founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation. The worldwide effort is considered by many as a kickoff to the “charitable season” much the same way retailers have worked to build a large-scale shopping movement just after Thanksgiving. ...

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NASHUA – ’Tis the season not only for gifts and celebration, but for charitable giving, and it was kicked off in a big way on Giving Tuesday.

The effort was founded in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y in New York City and the United Nations Foundation. The worldwide effort is considered by many as a kickoff to the “charitable season” much the same way retailers have worked to build a large-scale shopping movement just after Thanksgiving.

Giving Tuesday links organizations in need with people looking to give, financially or otherwise. Participants are encouraged to help create a social media buzz by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday to promote their efforts online.

Locally, the Adult Learning Center in Nashua has joined the movement.

The organization, which provides child care, alternative education resources and language teaching, produced a campaign built around boosting its rolls of volunteer tutors.

“We’re taking a different approach to Giving Tuesday,” Executive Director Carol Baldwin said Tuesday. “What we really need is volunteers for our tutoring programs.

“Money is important; this year, we’ve asked people to give the gift of your time,” she said.

Touring the school’s classrooms on Tuesday, Baldwin said, “It’s really important, whether trying for their HiSet or to improve English speaking skills. There’s only so much you can do in a classroom. One-on-one work is critical.”

The organization provides English education for 935 immigrants from 64 countries. The countries are marked on a map in a second-floor hallway. Colorful pins and tags mark locations around the globe where students hail from – primarily Colombia, the Dominican Republic and countries throughout Europe and Asia.

Additionally, students both young and old who are looking to complete secondary education requirements seek services at the ALC and are tutored by volunteers.

“We see kids all the time who have dropped out and have realized the need to acquire credentials,” Baldwin said.

The center serves about 200 students fitting that profile.

The Giving Tuesday volunteer search has another benefit: “Not only does it tell the community what our need is, it helps the community learn what we do,” Baldwin said.

On the giving side, World Academy on Spit Brook Road took the opportunity to use the effort as a teachable moment for youngsters attending the private school.

“We talked about it with the kids,” said Samantha Bonenfant, director of admissions. “We have privileged families. We start teaching them at a young age about empathy.”

Bonenfant said teachers explained to students they are “lucky” and “food secure.”

“There are families that don’t have that security,” she said. “Kids were asked to bring in food items to be boxed up and would be distributed appropriately.”

Angela Hehir, head of the school’s early childhood department, said the plan was to bring awareness to the situation of all children in the community other than just their own and to “introduce the concept of giving to others.”

“It’s eye-opening for them,” Bonenfant said.

Don Himsel can be reached at 594-1249, dhimsel@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DonH.