Dear Brilla Families, Staff, and Friends,
We hope this edition of The Perch finds you well and rested after the Thanksgiving holiday. Like so many other events this year, Thanksgiving at Brilla looked different. While our staff normally enjoy a potluck meal together, this year staff gathered in small groups and celebrated together on Zoom. In true Brilla fashion, creativity and joy abounded. One example is this beautiful family cookbook that our Network Team created.
Another beloved tradition is the Thanksgiving Food Drive. For seven years Brilla students and families have beautifully rallied to host an annual Thanksgiving Food Drive in support of our greater Bronx community. These efforts were impactful displays of solidarity and support and filled the shelves of local food pantries. Last year, the Brilla community provided the equivalent of 43,014 cans to three food pantries in the Mott Haven neighborhood.
This year, given the continued implications of the pandemic, we are re-imagining the Thanksgiving Food Drive and combining forces with one of our partners, El Camino Extended Day Faith Formation Program. Each year before break, El Camino staff and families have donned hats as elves facilitating a top-secret toy drive for Brilla families, collecting a wide array of age-appropriate toys, wrapping, and distributing them.
This year’s food and toy drives will be combined and will be entirely on behalf of Brilla and El Camino students and families. We invite you to join Brilla and El Camino as we collaborate ahead of the winter months and holiday season to show solidarity and support to our families across all five campuses. On this #GivingTuesday, might you consider a financial donation in support of the 2020 Brilla & El Camino Winter Holidays Drive?
The 2020 Brilla & El Camino Winter Holidays Drive comes on the heels of a Spring and Summer of providing emergency food and supplies to families. We are reinvigorating efforts to show solidarity and support ahead of the holiday season. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of staff like Mrs. Sierra featured in this edition of The Perch, all funds will be directed to the specific needs of a Brilla or El Camino family in a personalized, dignified way.
Time is not slowing down. We have just 13 days left of school in 2020. What a year it has been! While no one knows what challenges lie ahead, 2021 will undoubtedly be another historic year at Brilla because our first cohort is graduating eighth grade. In this edition of The Perch, you will read about a program to prepare our inaugural eighth grade to spread their Cardinal wings. We hope to make their last few months with us formative and memorable.
As the year comes to a close, we’d like once again to extend our gratitude to our families, staff, and many friends. Thank you for your solidarity and support. This year has made obvious your unwavering dedication to our mission. We look forward to another year of working with you to prepare young people for their unique life mission. It is extremely important and fulfilling work. Thank you for being a part of it.
Luanne D. Zurlo
Executive Director, Brilla Schools Network
Chief of Schools, Brilla Schools Network