Learning to Appreciate Differences

First-grade students at John F. Kennedy Elementary School in West Babylon are learning about respect and the acceptance of others’ differences. As a culminating activity, Dayna Troisi and Danielle Notaro from Hofstra University’s Club Limbitless visited the students. This special organization raises funds for the Amputee Coalition for America and A Leg to Stand On in order to provide free corrective surgery, prosthetic and orthopedic devices, mobility aids and rehabilitation to children with limb differences.

Troisi, club president and a congenital amputee, showed the students her prosthesis. Troisi and Notaro entertained the students with physically challenged puppets to teach the students about being physically challenged. The guests also read books about friendships that celebrate differences and similarities and led a discussion about the subject matter. The highlight of the activity, however, was when Troisi sang “Let It Go,” from the Disney movie “Frozen,” honing in on the lesson about being different.

First-grade teacher Donna Anselona-Troisi said, “These social skills need to be taught to children at a young age, thus making the world a more accepting and happier place to live. We don’t always know the right thing to say or do, so we need to display these good manners and rules.”    

At the end of the program, each student brought home a bag of M&Ms, symbolizing that we are all different on the outside and the same on the inside. A list of  “The Good Manner Rules for Meeting People Who Look Different and Learn Differently” was distributed to each student, as well as a bibliography of books that teach good character.  

In order to contribute to this cause, the school will host a fundraiser for amputees.