Country School’s Inaugural Kyle A. Markes Day of Service Benefits 12 Area Nonprofit Organizations
More than 370 students and many of their parents participated in the inauguralNew Canaan Country School Kyle A. Markes Day of Serviceon Saturday, April 11, 2015. Volunteers came together on and off campus to participate in 15 projects supporting 12 area nonprofits including: Ben's Bells, Boys & Girls Club of America (Stamford), Carver Foundation, Delete Blood Cancer, Domus, Family & Children's Agency, Inspirica, Jump for Joy, New Canaan Nature Center, Open Door Shelter, Person-to-Person, Smilow Cancer Hosptial at Yale-New Haven and Waveny LifeCare Network. View the slideshow.
For months, parent committees and New Canaan Country School teams worked to plan this community-wide day of service in honor of Kyle Markes, a beloved sixth grader at Country School who passed away on Christmas Eve of 2013 after his 13-month battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 11. Kyle was committed to community service and even when critically ill, he started a bracelet looming project to raise money for a family cancer support program called Mikey's Way Foundation. Many of the organizations which benefited from the day of service were dear to Kyle and his family.
Raising awareness for, and the number of registrants to, the national bone marrow registry, was another focus of the day. Kyle's family continues to be tremendous advocates for Delete Blood Cancer and Bethematch.org, actively registering potential bone marrow donors into the national registry.
The day culminated in a basketball tournament held on Kyle’s Court, a Middle School gathering space, which was dedicated last spring.
Volunteers of all ages worked on various projects throughout the day including painting the entry of the food pantry, sorting donated clothing, assembling craft bags for cancer patients, making jump ropes, and helping out in the bake sale.
“Kyle was very much present on our inaugural day of service; his legacy of service and the power of building community was actualized through hundreds of volunteers. It was very important for us to include an educational component by asking project leaders and site representatives to share their organizations’ mission statements, the populations with whom they serve, and the service need before starting the service project. One highlight of the day was the presentation of an official proclamation from First Selectmen, Robert E. Mallozzi III., marking April 11, 2015, The Kyle A. Markes Day of Service in New Canaan, Ct. “said Director of Community Development Lynn Sullivan, whose office in conjunction with the New Canaan Country School Parents’ Association, sponsored the day.
The school also hosted a Dunk Your Kicks athletic shoe drive, which was organized by Kyle's friends, New Canaan Country School student Shane Baldwin and St. Luke’s School student, Dylan Johnson. Dunk Your Kicks is a non-profit organization that uses the proceeds from the sale of gently used athletic footwear to under-resourced communities, to fund pediatric cancer research. The money earned from this drive will go toward pediatric leukemia research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, where Kyle was treated.