Two Former GWL Students are Honorees at the Family & Children’s Association’s Fall Harvest Celebration
For their self-selected, service-learning projects on homelessness
On Thursday evening, November 9, 2023, two North Shore students Rea Gjenashi and Joanna Peng, who graduated from Glenwood Landing and now are sixth graders at North Shore Middle were honorees at the Family & Children's Association's Fall Harvest Celebration.
Glenwood Landing School Wide Enrichment (SWES) teacher Ms. Audra Marcantonio said, “Last year, Rea and Joanna spent months engaged in self-selected, service-learning projects on homelessness. After an enormous amount of research, they created a fictional picture book and informative slideshow on the topic, spreading awareness to our students, K-5.” Ms. Marcantonio continued, “Rea and Joanna also oversaw a bookbag drive for children living in shelters. Over 50 bookbags were gathered, overflowing with school supplies, picture and chapter books, hygiene products, and winter jackets with the help of our generous community.”
At the gala, both Rea and Joanna spoke eloquently and partook in a book signing. They said, “This all began when we realized that we both wanted to help those in need, especially children living in homeless shelters. We learned that half of the children who are homeless are under the age of 5! This is devastating. We needed solutions.”
Rea has lived on Long Island her entire life and is the daughter of two immigrants from Albania. The inspiration for her children’s picture book and project came from a story she heard from her father who had experienced homelessness as a refugee child. Rea’s book was written to teach others not to judge people due to differences or their homelife. In her free time, Rea enjoys riding her bike and taking ballet classes. Her love of reading and writing began as a kindergarten student when she discovered that words can make a difference in the world.
Joanna is native to Chang Sha, China. She recently moved to Long Island from California. She is a creative thinker, an avid reader, and A+ student. When she is not helping others, she can be found playing with her dog Jayden or participating in traditional Chinese dancing. This project was inspired due to her eagerness to help the homeless after she saw many people living on the streets of Los Angeles. Joanna wanted to help those in need and initiated the book bag drive.
Rhea and Joanna’s fictional picture book is being sold for $10. All monies raised will go directly to this wonderful cause. If you are interested in purchasing one, please email Ms. Marcantonio at email@example.com at Glenwood Landing School.
To conclude, Ms. Marcantonio said, “Please join us in celebrating these two passionate and caring activists! The world is more beautiful thanks to them!”
Article written with assistance from Ms. Audra Marcantonio who also submitted most photos.