Each local chapter of The National Honor Society (NHS) is required to perform regular community service. Thanks to Jason Epstein '18, Forman School does a monthly act of service that truly enriches the local community and brings a smile to the face of a young child on his or her birthday.
Last year, Epstein was studying in Israel. One day, a woman named Gali walked into Epstein's school and she had what she called "Birthday Boxes." Epstein explains: "Birthday boxes are just what they sound like: boxes filled with birthday supplies. It sounds simple but it's pretty endearing. There are families in every community who scrape by every month. That can be hard on young children. All parents want to ensure their children's happiness but throwing a birthday party won't be at the top of the list. We all have fond memories of celebrating birthdays with friends. This idea gives underprivileged children the same joy."
Upon returning to Forman, Epstein remembered Gali and her Birthday Boxes when thinking of ways to perform community service as part of his responsibility as a member of the NHS. He texted her and got permission to use the idea here in Connecticut.
Working with faculty members Ms. Elaine Zullo and Mr. Devin Burkhart, the Forman NHS research the cost of supplies and shelters that might benefit from this service. Using money raised on their own, Forman's NHS chapter donates five boxes per month to Friends in Service to Humanity in Torrington. At $10 per box, the supplies donated are cake mix, cake pans, frosting, candles, birthday banner, colorful plates and napkins, balloons, three or four generic little toys, and a blank card for the family to sign. Each box contains plenty of materials to throw a party for eight people and the age range in mind is for children from 3 to 12.
Birthday Boxes are a student-driven effort at Forman and many students such as Emily Chandler '18 and Ksenyia Kotova '18 have joined Epstein in making Birthday Boxes. But they are graduating. And with Epstein moving on as well (Penn State), other Forman students will have to step up and keep the effort going. Ms. Zullo confirms that Forman's NHS chapter will continue what Jason Epstein started.