Every November, more than 700 students, parents, alumni, and faculty come together for Riverdale Community Action Day (RCAD), an event that features hands-on service projects to support many of our longstanding community partnerships. RCAD was established in 2008 by Stefanie Firtell Donath ’91, Carolyn Braun Rosen ’92, and Danielle Englebardt ’94. RCAD’s mission is to take direct, collective action and teach our children the power and importance of giving and gratitude

While RCAD is unable to gather in person this year, the event co-chairs, Jaime Benjamin Trichon ’97, Porsche Brooks ’04, Bari Paige Rausnitz, and Solange Schipani hope that the Riverdale community will join them for the first-ever virtual RCAD to learn more about our partners’ needs at this critical time. The event will be broadcast on Saturday, Nov. 21 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Details will be sent to the Riverdale community in the coming weeks. Some of the ways in which families can still take action and make a positive difference now are:

  • Send a card to a Veteran at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. The cards should be neutral and should not reference a particular branch of the military or religion. They will be distributed to patients, along with their meals, on Veteran’s Day or Thanksgiving, depending on when the card is received. Please reference that the card is associated with Riverdale Country School, and mail it to: Attn: Darlene Mulero, James J. Peters VA Medical Center, Voluntary Services, Floor 4B- 53, 130 W. Kingsbridge Rd, Bronx, NY 10468 
  • Create an origami lotus flower or share a video to send to the Hebrew Home at Riverdale. The lotus flower can be in honor of someone or something that has helped you or your family through this difficult time and write it inside your flower. The flowers will create a thoughtful, colorful display at the Hebrew Home, and then will be sent to the Rubin Museum of Art to add to their installation.
  • For instructions on creating an origami lotus flower, please follow the link for written instructions or video instructions, and mail the lotus to: Josephine Catalano, c/o Hebrew Home at Riverdale, 5901 Palisade Avenue,  Riverdale, NY 10471. In addition, students and families can record and share videos of themselves playing instruments, singing, or reading books/poetry. The videos will be played on the Hebrew Home’s internal TV channel. Please share your videos through WeTransfer. If parents record the video, permission is implicit. 
  • Hunts Point Alliance for Children (HPAC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to transform educational outcomes in the South Bronx Community of Hunts Point, one of the most underserved communities in the United States. Now through Nov. 30th, supporters may donate items from The HPAC Essential Wish List to provide additional support and assistance to the Hunts Point community families during these difficult times.

Also, through November 30, you can donate a toy from the HPAC Winter Wish list for the children of the Hunts Point community. This wish list is composed of toys that children requested from Santa. All toys will be distributed to students who participate in the HPAC after-school programs during the week of Dec. 14.

  • Part of the Solution (POTS) is a Bronx-based community center that provides people with food and occupational, legal, mental, and hygienic services. Luke Durkin ’22 began working with POTS last year and organized a school-wide drive for winter clothing. Thanks to the generous Riverdale community, Luke donated a total of three large cardboard boxes filled with coats, hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves to POTS. Safiya Patel ’21 got involved with POTS through Riverdale’s Girls Learn International (GLI) club, which has been working with POTS for several years. Safiya and GLI have organized multiple menstrual and baby product drives for POTS. During past RCADs, GLI has packaged those products into care packages, which were donated to POTS. This year, Luke and Safiya hope to collect even more items to positively impact the lives of our neighbors in the Bronx.

POTS believes that every person should have access to the essentials of life and the support necessary to achieve stability and ultimately self-sufficiency. To that end, we are proud to support the work POTS does on behalf of its clients. Please consider joining us in support of POTS by providing their clients with these essential items, especially as we enter the colder, winter months from their Amazon Wish List.