Riverdale Students Give Back to the Community at RCAD
The tenth annual Riverdale Community Action Day (RCAD) is approaching and faculty and students are preparing for another fun and important Saturday on campus. RCAD was started by Riverdale alumni who had a passion for connecting with the community that surrounded our school. With so many organizations and programs available in the Riverdale area, it seemed only fitting that Riverdale Country School’s student body became involved. This desire to work with those who are a part of the larger Bronx community is how RCAD came to be what it is today.
Essentially, a variety of Riverdale partners including organizations, funds, and facilities send representatives to campus on the Saturday before Thanksgiving break, and this year, RCAD will take place on November 17. The community partners set up tables where members of the school can contribute to the cause by giving whatever the organization needs. This can include clothes, canned foods, toys for kids, or even books. In order to bring a fun energy to the event, RCAD is set up like a carnival where each table also displays an activity for the students to get involved in. This brings a light, happy feeling to the campus that allows students to have an impact on the community while also having a fun time.
Ms. Rachel Klein, Director of Service Learning and Middle School Service Learning Coordinator, explained how “there are different tables set up all around the Student Center and the activity is to engage those who attend.” Ms. Klein continued that “[RCAD is] a special day because you actually get to meet those partners. They are physically here on campus and interacting with those that attend.” The presence of the partners adds a personal feature to the day. As opposed to a bake sale or reading about these organizations, Riverdale students have the invaluable experience of interacting with them.
Assistant Director of Service Learning Ms. Chime Dolma also described how for the students involved, “it’s really an opportunity to connect with partner organizations and a really neat way to connect on a personal level.” The opportunity to meet the many partners face to face is unique to this day on campus; as opposed to individual service learning activities focused on one program or organization, RCAD allows the students to connect with many partners in one day.
Furthermore, RCAD offers a student leadership component for Upper School students who want to get involved. The faculty leaders welcome all students who know of organizations in the area who they want to be involved in the event. The students can establish partnerships with the groups and bring them to campus so they can form relationships as well as have a fun and interactive experience.
Senior Charles Onesti has been involved in RCAD for many years now as a student leader; he said, “In terms of what [RCAD] does for the community, I think it really opens people's eyes to the various humanitarian needs that are in our direct vicinity.” He continued that the organizations involved “benefit greatly from the shear amount of students that come to [RCAD] and their willingness to participate and make a difference.”
Riverdale Community Action Day offers students the opportunity to work with organizations in the Riverdale community and to participate in a fun day on campus, while also doing hands on service learning work. Not only will the day have a wide variety of fun activities and food, but it can also offer leadership opportunities to high schoolers with the desire to help the Riverdale community outside of our campus. The service learning team hopes to see many students of all grades at RCAD on November 17.