In the quiet neighborhood surrounding Garfield Elementary School, a heartwarming story of compassion and community spirit has been unfolding. It all began when Garfield’s principal, Joy Long, was out canvassing the neighborhood to collect signatures for the bond petition earlier this fall. During her rounds, she had the pleasure of meeting Betty Sassot. Betty expressed her loneliness after losing her husband that spring. Touched by Betty’s story, Principal Long made a compassionate decision—the school would “adopt” her and help to provide comfort and companionship.

Since then, each month, classes from Garfield Elementary have taken turns visiting Betty’s home to help brighten her day and perform an act of kindness. From making and delivering heartfelt cards to serenading her with songs, the students have helped to fill her home with a little bit of joy.

Today, it was Mrs. Morabito’s 4/5 class’ turn to visit Betty. The class has been working hard to create a warm tie blanket for Betty as a holiday gift. Excitement filled the air as the students eagerly made their way to her house. When the students presented her with the blanket, you could see Betty’s face light up. She was clearly touched by their thoughtful gesture. The class went on to perform some of the festive songs they had learned for their “Cocoa and Carols” performance.

As the academic year progresses, each class eagerly awaits for their designated month to visit and shower Betty with acts of kindness. Principal Long shared that one of the first-grade classes is anxiously waiting for more snow as they plan to go and build a snowman in her yard. While Principal Long initially started this relationship to help Betty, it has also been beneficial for the school. Through their visits and interactions, the students are learning valuable lessons about compassion, kindness, being a good neighbor, and helping those in need.

“This is a good lesson for them about how to be good neighbors and take care of people in need in our community,” shared Principal Long. “And they are seeing firsthand how even the smallest gestures can make a difference.”

Principal Long and the school staff hope they can continue this heartwarming tradition next year when they join Arthur Elementary at the new Trailside building.