If you base your understanding of high school on American movies made in the 1980s, chances are you consider the bathrooms a scary place with bullies lurking in every stall just waiting to antagonize and embarrass smaller, less popular classmates.
Thanks to the students at Horseheads High School, we know those days are long gone in the building a few blocks away from our office. Recently, one thoughtful girl left a sticky note with some kinds words on a bathroom mirror. Soon other Raiders followed, and before long, the mirrors were covered in colorful, life-affirming, spur-of-the-moment collages.
When the news reached our office, we couldn't help but feel the love coming from these students. Philanthropy doesn't stop at writing a check or dropping off food at a pantry. With the root words literally translating to "loving people," philanthropy fills every space around us to offer help, guidance, encouragement, or anything needed to improve someone's life.
On a given day, someone might need bright notes offering anonymous friendship in a high school bathroom to get through an especially hard time. This kind of philanthropy can reach beyond the scope of even the highest-quality grant-funded anti-bullying program.
One staff member in our office was particularly touched by this group act of kindness. Penny Lane, Chief Philanthro-Paw Officer, sprang to action and asked Katie McConville, our youth philanthropy and scholarship manager, to send some special treats (fortunately not mice or catnip) over to Horseheads High School. On Friday, May 26, every student will receive a little something special in the cafeteria with their lunch.
Horseheads Blue Raiders... we are proud of you. Thanks for taking care of each other. It is great practice for the day when you are in charge of taking care of all of us.