Ridgefield Fifth Graders Wrote Letters To Help Students In Far Rockaway

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — There is nothing better than kids helping kids, and for months, fifth graders from Connecticut have been helping a school in Far Rockaway hit by Superstorm Sandy.

As CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu reported, the students have been pen pals for months, and on Wednesday, they got to meet for the first time.

The students from Scotland Elementary School in Ridgefield, Conn., could not wait to meet their pen pals from P.S. 104 in Far Rockaway, Queens. The students arrived by bus, and immediately showed off their letters.

Farida Olaleye of P.S.104 showed CBS 2’s Hsu the letters she wrote to her pen pal, Madelyn Dec.

“This one says she’s like a shooting star because she lights up my eyes, and this is how she’s going to look when she grows up,” Farida said.

In another letter, Farida told Maddy her twin sisters will be born in September — and one of them will be named Maddy.

“I love your name because it’s gorgeous,” Farida wrote in the letter. Maddy said she is excited that Farida’s little sister will be named after her, “because we really connected.”

Along with all the letters, the students in Connecticut sold their toys to raise thousands of dollars for their pen pals. They called it “play it forward.”

And Wednesday was all about play, with students from both schools just being kids and bonding through field games.

“The program is about children helping children in crisis, and it’s just, I’ve been crying all day,” said P.S. 104 Principal Katie Grady. “I’m just so thrilled with the kindness and generosity of strangers.”

While the students have only been writing since January, you’d never know it.

“She’s now my best friend,” Kiemel Bowen of P.S. 104 said of her pen pal. “She makes me laugh, and her dance is really funny.”

While it was all smiles Wednesday, the students from P.S. 104 have been through a lot. More than 40 percent of them were displaced from their homes after Sandy, and many of the teachers are still displaced.

The principal said all the support from the school in Connecticut helps with the healing.

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