Students on the Community Engagement Board are urging members of the community to take a “polar plunge” in support of athletes with intellectual and physical disabilities between now and spring break, said Andrea Geyling-Moore, director of Community Engagement Programs and Partnerships (CEPP).
The Special Olympics Polar Plunge is an opportunity to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics by pledging to take a “plunge” if donors commit to giving. Milton’s plunge is open to interpretation, Geyling-Moore said: Between now and spring break, participants can jump into cold water, do an ice bucket-style challenge, or complete another icy stunt as a pledge for fundraising.
“When the weather is better, our students have been practicing with the Special Olympians on Sunday mornings,” she said. “We don’t know yet whether we’ll be able to have an event of any kind in the spring, but the Special Olympics of Massachusetts is running their annual polar plunge to keep awareness and fundraising going.”
Although CEPP has had to modify some of its engagement projects due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 125 students continue to make weekly commitments to serving at different sites, whether through outreach to the elderly, helping Boston-area public school students and the after-school program through the Immigrant Family Services Institute, or helping with English language learners, among other programs. Students from as far away as Korea and Hong Kong have been connecting with local seniors via Zoom and phone calls. For the spring, Geyling-Moore hopes to connect some CEPP students with the Lower School to support gardening efforts.
Students also continue to serve through the Music Inclusion Program, founded by Milton Music Department Chair Adrian Anantawan, which provides instruments and instructions to students with disabilities at the Henderson Inclusion School in Boston, Geyling-Moore said. “Adrian has set up a ukulele class for the elementary school kids. So our students are helping to teach the ukulele—as some of them are learning it themselves—via Zoom.”
Recently, students in the Goodwin, Hathaway, and Robbins houses—as well as the kids from the on-campus daycare center—made hundreds of Valentines to send to seniors in the Milton Residences for the Elderly. Other students participated in the Winter Walk, a program that raised money to support unhoused people in Boston.