Top Teaching > Danielle Mahoney > Project Give — The Power of Writing

Comments: 9

Project Give — The Power of Writing

Mecards Writing is powerful. I know this firsthand. I’ve spent every night for the past few weeks admiring the writing of your students. In an earlier post, "Project Give — Writing for a Cause," I invited teachers around the world to take part in a special Thanksgiving tradition I call Project Give. The response was incredible. With your efforts, I received 2,645 handwritten cards, created to send messages of love to homebound seniors. I read every single card and was overwhelmed by the kind words, funny jokes, beautiful artwork, and uplifting messages written by children so young. Take a look for yourself with the slide show of Project Give’s delivery of handwritten cards to seniors in New York City. 



Writing From Around the World

As soon as the "Writing for a Cause" post went up, teachers were inspired to get their kids writing. An Angel for Solomon Singer by Cynthia Rylant flew out of my office, and throughout my school, there was a buzz about getting cards created. I can imagine that the same type of excitement was going on in schools all around the world. Each day brought new packages, until I could no longer see my bedroom floor! 

A local newspaper, the Queens Tribune, contacted me and asked about this special project. They interviewed me and wrote up an article titled "Creating a Reason to Be Thankful," inviting people to get involved. Word was getting around!


In just a few weeks we collected a total of 2,645 cards. Amazing! 

Spreading Joy Around the City

What a great experience! Special thanks to Project Find. They’ve provided services to seniors in New York City for the past 41 years. I would especially like to thank Debra Escort of Project Find for allowing me to add to the craziness of feeding hundreds and hundreds of seniors by accepting our handmade cards. She is one special lady. When I told her how many cards we collected, she almost fainted! She suggested that I contact two other senior centers to see if they would accept some of the cards. And that’s just what I did.

I was able to deliver 350 cards to Project Find’s Woodstock House and 350 cards to Project Find’s Hamilton House a few nights before Thanksgiving. Although the coordinator, Antonio, was supposed to go home at 6:00 on Tuesday evening, he waited for me at his office for an hour while I made my way through a tremendous amount of New York City traffic. He graciously accepted 700 cards for both locations. 


The night before Thanksgiving, we still had a few cards to spare, and I decided to contact Betsy Lazarus, the director of therapeutic recreation for the seniors at the Regal Heights Rehabilitation and Health Care Center in Jackson Heights, New York. My students have worked with the seniors who live there on special projects over the years, so I called up Betsy and asked her how many seniors would be celebrating Thanksgiving at the center this year. A few hours later, 250 cards were delivered.



Happy Thanksgiving!

With 1,695 cards remaining, I headed out to Manhattan with my good friends Maritza and Joanna. I couldn’t do any of this alone! We made it to the Church of St. Paul the Apostle where volunteers were cooking, setting up tables, and getting homebound meals ready for delivery. Together we stuffed hundreds and hundreds of bags with your unique and special cards.







When we were finished, we lined up by the kitchen to pick up our hot meals. 




With my car loaded and ready to go, we headed out to make our deliveries.


Buildingtop Building


Because of your efforts, seniors across New York City received messages of love and hope this Thanksgiving. Thank you for making this possible. 

Project Give Slide Show — Share It With Your Students!

I really enjoyed reading each and every card. I managed to take a few pictures from each package as they arrived. Please take a look at this slide show and enjoy the beautiful artwork and caring words that were written by people of all ages, across the United States and around the world. You just might recognize your own work here! I hope to reach out to all of you again next year. ;) 



I am so thankful for the families, teachers of children from preschool to high school, homeschool moms, literacy specialists, Girl Scout troop leaders, speech and language pathologists, life skills teachers, Spanish teachers, Top Teachers, and those of you who sent cards anonymously, for taking the time to become a part of Project Give. Thank you for inspiring the people in your lives to reach out to others and to write for a cause this Thanksgiving.  

Note: My apologies in advance for any misspellings or omissions in the list below! I would never want to leave anyone out. It is my intention to respectfully thank everyone involved! 

Extra Special Thanks To . . .

Maritza Jacobo

Joanna Tsopelas

 Stephanie Caldon and the students of P.S. 38, Rosedale, New York 

Julia and Kathy De Rosa, Manhasset, New York 

Eve Ottavino and the students of P.S. 39, Brooklyn, New York 

Miss Sanchi and the students of P.S. 86Q, Jamaica, New York 

Mrs. Gandler’s 5th Grade Class, Munsey Park Elementary School, Manhasset, New York 

The Fournaris Family, Manhasset, NY 11030 

Laurie Fiore and Tammy Soshowski, Girl Scout Troop 7330, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania

 The Alpert Family, Manhasset, New York 

Tiffiny, Madison, and Griffin Smith, Colliers, West Virginia

Lisa Meyer and the PreK students of Congregational School, Manhasset, New York

Ruth Rosenthal, Cherise Sorenson, Marci Dollinger, and their 2nd and 3rd grade buddies at Brandeis Hillel Day School, San Rafael, California 

Theresa Howley and the students of Seckmen Elementary School, Imperial, Missouri

Linda Stupic and the students of the Marion Center Area School District, Marion Center, Pennsylvania

Marlene Perea and the students of WE Cherry Elementary, Orange Park, Florida 

The teachers and students of Richland Elementary School, Abercrombie, North Dakota

Justine Spriggs and the students of Annsville Elementary School, Taberg, New York 

Alaya Coles, Shemeeka Harris, and the students of A Child’s Place, East Elmhurst, New York 

Mandee Loiacono, Vanessa Roman, and the students of Lake Howell High School, Winter Park, Florida 

Becky Gouinlock and the students of Attica Middle School, Attica, New York

Rosalie Jean Farrington and the students of St. Andrew School, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 

Michele Higgins and the students of Midland Elementary School, Paramus, New Jersey

Bethany Kaiser and the students of the International Christian School, Pyongtaek, Republic of Korea

Natasha, Eric, and Geetindra, Jamaica, New York 

Karlee Kircher and the students of Shamona Creek Elementary School, Downingtown, Pennsylvania 

Donna Kunkle and the students of the Herbert Akins Road Elementary School, Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina 

Marilyn Yuen and the students of Pomaika'i Elementary School, Kahului, Hawaii

Clint Wilcox and the students of Springer Elementary School, Mountain View, California

Mandi Armitage and her students, Roseville, California 

Dina Mimnaugh and the students of P.S. 148, East Elmhurst, New York

Christy Crawford and the students of P.S. 51, Bronx, New York 

Maureen Chen, Flushing, New York 

Rhonda Guinn and the students of the Bluff City Elementary School, Bluff City, Tennessee

 Lori Raczka and the 1st grade students of Haddam Elementary School, Higganum, Connecticut 

Christine Beck and the students of Arrowhead Elementary, East Setauket, New York

Teacher Karnes and the students of Paducah, Kentucky 

Teacher Halupka and the students of School #1, Little Falls, New Jersey

Sandy Setka, Julie Rooney, Ksenija Kassis, and the students of classes K1, K2, and K3 at the Edward H. Bryan Elementary School, Cresskill, New Jersey 

Tina Glackin and the students of Bloomsbury Elementary, Bloomsbury, New Jersey 

Beth Ondish and the students of Randolph Middle School, Randolph, New Jersey  

Mrs. Burgio, Ms. Margolis, Ms. Katz, Mrs. Scharen, Ms. Rifkin, and the students in classes 2–419, K–220, 2–417, 5–405 at P.S. 129, College Point, New York

Karen Buran, Patti Mitchell, Michael Bevilacqua, and the 4th Grade students of Newbridge Road School, North Bellmore, New York

The teachers and students of St. Michael School, Pawcatuck, Connecticut

The teachers and 1st graders of Saint Margaret Mary School, Louisville, Kentucky

Laura Ellison and her students, Decator, Illinois

The supportive staff at P.S. 212, 

Jackson Heights, New York:

Carin Ellis

Caryn Miller

Melissa Haidary

Marjorie LaBarbera

Kimberly Kissag

Jessica Ketler

Rosalinda Chirinos

Andrea Nicholas

Irene Zajac

Chanda Kumar

Janet Pou

Amy Lalicata 

Maria Bermudez

Christina Figueroa

Debbie Levy 

Maribel Ruiz

Arely Fernandez

Susannah Levithan

Deborah Wurgler

Anitra O’Connor

Shannon Kiley

Jennifer Panza

Rachel Szalkowski

Rojan Lee

Annie Cheng

Monica Fernandez

Maria Varvatsoulis

Denise Alvarez

Helen Skulikidis

Jennifer Bayer

Marguerite Savarese

Noreen Treadway

Lorne Green

Marybeth Zaoutis


all of the AMAZING students, grades K–5 =)

Big hugs to each and every one of you.



Danielle Mahoney



  • #1 Danielle Mahoney

    Monday, February 07, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    Hi Jabez!

    Thanks for stopping by to comment!!

    I hope you're keeping up with your reading work!

    Miss Mahoney

  • #2 jabez kim

  • #3 Danielle Mahoney

    Tuesday, December 07, 2010 at 06:50 AM

    Hi Beth,
    Thank you for sharing it with your students! It was really great to see so many people get involved.

    Please tell your students that I love your holiday hope chest project! I will try to do something like that with children in my school. What a wonderful way to share with others!

    I appreciate you stopping by here!! Hope you have a very happy holiday!


  • #4 Beth Newingham

    Saturday, December 04, 2010 at 08:57 PM

    This is so great Danielle! My students created cards for a shelter closer to our city, but your project was inspiring to my students as well! I just wanted to commend you on a job well done. I'm sure you made many recipients' Thanksgiving Day very memorable! You are awesome!


  • #5 Karen

    Friday, December 03, 2010 at 04:42 PM

    Hi Danielle,
    I cannot believe you remembered our letter about generosity... You're good! :)

    Yes, the children also watched the slide show. They enjoyed seeing all the cards and photos, especially their name at the end. One of my students asked if next year I can have the whole school write letter. I told her I will definitely share your "Project Give" with them.

    I look forward to reading your future posts and hopefully joining in another charity event. Keep them coming!

    Happy Holidays!!

  • #6 Danielle Mahoney

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010 at 11:30 PM

    Hi Karen!!

    Yes! You had your 4th grade teacher friends work on the cards with their students as well, right?! You mentioned in your letter that this project fit right into your character education theme for the month. . . "generosity". I see how it tied in perfectly. ;) I'm glad it was such a great fit!

    Thanks so much for having your students take the time to write to the seniors. Their efforts are appreciated.

    It's funny, as I was writing up this post, I really had the students in mind, so I am happy to hear that they were given the chance to see this up on the SmartBoard! Did they get to view the slide show as well?

    Again, my thanks to YOU, Karen. You made the choice to get involved with a great cause. Your students are lucky to have you as their teacher!!

    And thanks for such a great comment. Your words make all of the work worth the effort!

    Here's to a great holiday season!!


  • #7 Danielle Mahoney

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010 at 11:13 PM

    Irene!! I didn't mean to make you cry!! =)

    I'm happy that you appreciate all of the energy that went into this project. The cards your students made were beautiful and I am soooo thankful that you found the time to share this work with them. As far as being a saint. . . I have a LOOOOOONG way to go!! We all do our part- no matter how great or small. As you can see from this post, none of this would be possible without the help of many. It's the combined effort that made this so wonderful.
    Love you, too!!


  • #8 Karen

    Wednesday, December 01, 2010 at 07:23 PM

    Wow!! I cannot believe all the cards you received and all the lives that you touched. Not to mention the detailed blog and listing all the names of those you received letters from. You accomplished such a wonderful thing.

    My class was one of the classes that sent in letters and I actually thought of you on Thanksgiving morning making all your stops. I'm sure you caused many smiles. Thank you for sharing such a great cause with us, our students and our community.

    P.S. I showed my class your blog on our SmartBoard so they could read about where their letters were sent. They were also very excited to see their name listed. :)

  • #9 irene zajac

    Monday, November 29, 2010 at 07:20 PM

    Reading this post brought tears to my eyes and goose bumps all over. I am very lucky to call you one of my dearest friends. You bring so much joy and happiness to everyone you meet. You really and truly bring out the best in people. Mother Theresa watch comes Danielle Mahoney. Love you and may God always strength!

Comments on our blogs are temporarily closed as we prepare to launch a completely redesigned site. Please check back.


The opinions expressed in Top Teaching are strictly those of the author and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Scholastic Inc.