October 18, 2008
Darius Goes West visited New York City for two October 14 school visits.
New York is Darius’s “home away from home”, and he LOVES his trips there.
Our first stop was I.S. 528 in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan. This screening was set up by literacy teacher Tristan Wright.
I.S. 528 faculty members greeted us with an ENORMOUS Dominican breakfast.
After breakfast, we met with students in the lunchroom for question-and-answer sessions. Darius being there was a total surprise to most of the students. Check out those reactions.
There was laughter, shouting, cheering and even crying (out of joy).
Students from Ms. Wright’s 7th and 8th grade literacy group presented us with great I.S. 528 t-shirts, a fantastic gift basket with New York goodies…
…and a check for Charley’s Fund, DGW’s beneficiary. The students raised all the money themselves!
Between the question-and-answer sessions, we got a chance to hang out with Ms. Wright’s students…
…And to field dozens of autograph requests!
I.S. 528 welcomed us with student-drawn posters and this great map following our route on the trip in the movie. They also read from incredible letters they had written for Darius and the crew, and Ms. Wright promised to send all the letters along to us to keep us motivated.
The students we met at I.S. 528 were amazing writers, with all the potential in the world. As principal Ms. Perez noted, “There is absolutely nothing that you cannot do…and Darius is definitely an example for all of us.”
Ms. Wright and Ms. Perez both went on to say that students in the audience could easily influence this disease–even more than they have already with their generous donation, energy, and support.
Thank you so much, Ms. Wright, Ms. Perez, Ms. De La Cruz, Ms. Joseph, and all the I.S. 528 faculty, staff, and students! We had a blast! And happy birthday, Renee!
After our stop at I.S. 528, there wasn’t much time to rest. We rushed over to the Fieldston school in the Bronx, where we met with Carol Terilli, a big-time DGW supporter and pediatric physical therapist.
Carol–whose daughter, Kalija, attends Fieldston–took us on a tour. This beautiful 130-year-old campus has undergone recent improvements. Thanks to innovative climate and lighting strategies, it is now a very green campus.
However, the school’s accessibility remains lacking. Getting around campus involves staircases and narrow doorways, so there were many parts that Darius and the crew were unable to see.
After the tour and an AMAZING lunch, we met with Fieldston students to show off some on-line videos and share our mission. We were wary about attendance expectations because the meeting took place during activities time, when many students have other responsibilities. Carol guessed that around twenty students would show up.
However, over FOUR times that many showed up, missing other engagements to meet Darius and gang! Thanks, Fieldston!
Carol told us that Darius Goes West is great–especially for students at Fieldston–because it’s an enjoyable way to start discussions about accessibility. Because, in limiting accessibility, “you’re limiting who can come to the school, and who students at the school can understand.” Many students we met with echoed that sentiment. That’s the spirit of Darius, and Darius Goes West: it’s a fun way to engage with serious issues.
Carol (top, with mouth agape) was a great host, and she could dish it as well as any of us. Daniel and Collin both threatened to go to the car to cry after her playful jabs. Her daughter Kalija (to the right of Darius, with tongue out) and all of her friends at Fieldston are great, too; we had a blast hanging out.
Here, Darius poses with Carol, Lily Cohen, Caroline Warner, and Sara Faxon, all of whom are hard at work mobilizing Fieldston behind the push for a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We look forward to working with schools like I.S. 528 and Fieldston in the future to help even more with our year-long, million DVD goal.
15,272 DVDs sold!
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