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At a Lenox elementary school, students collect donations for Elizabeth Freeman Center

Students sitting on gym floor

Fourth graders at Morris Elementary School have completed a drive for materials for donations to the nonprofit Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield.

LENOX — Kindness, inclusivity, respect, equity.

Those are the watchwords at Morris Elementary School, where fourth graders have completed a drive for materials for donations to the nonprofit Elizabeth Freeman Center in Pittsfield, which provides support for victims and survivors of violence.

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Fifth graders are taking part in a national “No Place for Hate” curriculum aimed at building a learning environment through dialogue and education about bias, bullying, inclusion and building community alliances. The program has included over 1.4 million students supported by 100,000 educators at more than 1,800 schools.

Completion of the fourth grade donation drive was celebrated at a school assembly last week led by Principal Brenda Kelley. The effort was spurred by a letter to school families from the fourth grade students and their teachers, Pamela Codey, Ashley Scherben and Francine Shelhamer.

“We have been talking a lot about kindness in our classrooms: what it looks like, what it sounds like, and how to express it to others,” the letter stated. “We would like to spread kindness to others in our community.”

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Citing the school’s previous donation drive to the Elizabeth Freeman Center a few years ago, Morris families were asked to contribute baby necessities, washable art supplies, therapeutic coloring books, children’s clothing, bathroom items, and winter hats, mittens and gloves for toddlers and older youngsters.

The donations were placed in classroom buckets over a two-week period in October, with daily collections by fourth grade representatives.

Clarence Fanto can be reached at cfanto@yahoo.com.

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