Venetia student club extends comfort outside school walls

Venetia student club extends comfort outside school walls
The Venetia Elementary School’s Comfort Crew led a toy drive to benefit Orange Park Medical Center. Plastic buckets were filled with items for indoor and outdoor play.

Venetia Elementary School’s 451 students came together during a two-week Summer Toy Drive in May to collect toys for the Orange Park Medical Center, where the items will be given to children who come into the medical center’s care.

The drive was sponsored by one of the school’s clubs, Anchored 4 Life, whose Comfort Crew provides support to both military and non-military students who experience change due to moves and parent deployments. The club gives out welcome, moving, deployment and “together again” kits when students need peer encouragement.

Anchored 4 Life is a program sponsored by the military, and Venetia Elementary draws students from nearby NAS Jacksonville. Fourth- and fifth-grade students serve as team leaders, with two crew members in each classroom to serve as buddy for the day, according to Ellyn Osborne, a second-grade teacher at the school. “They do activities with new kids or those going through transitions. They also post character development quotes around the school and will choose kids to teach lessons about them.”

The toy drive was a competition between kindergarten through fifth grades, with the grade bringing the most new toys winning an ice cream party. The second grade won.

As a medical magnet school, Venetia Elementary sends its 60 fifth-graders to Orange Park Medical Center on a field trip, where they tour different departments and test the surgery robot. “This is our way of giving back to them, where the medical center can give toys to children at need,” said Osborne.

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