Riverdale’s playing fields reverberated with activity on Sunday as the Riverdale eighth grade hosted families from the Safe Passage Project, an organization that supports indigent immigrant youth and provides legal representation for unaccompanied minors in immigration court.
The organization works largely with Spanish-speaking youth from Central America, and Spanish-speaking Riverdale teachers were on hand to help with translation. Five Ultimate Frisbee coaches — including Aaron Bell and Stephanie Gibbs, who also works a mentor attorney for Safe Passage, volunteered at the event, teaching kids technique and rules, and organizing a game on the Riverdale Quad in which language was incidental.
More than 75 children and families attended from Safe Passage, and dozens of Riverdale students turned out.
“It was so wonderful to see the Safe Passage and Riverdale kids making new friends, learning Frisbee and playing soccer together, participating in arts and crafts, and practicing their second languages,” said Guillermo Stampur ’00, the Associate Director of Safe Passage”
Safe Passage was started by Lenni Benson, a professor at New York Law School. She is the wife of John Wellington, chair of the Riverdale English Department, and the mother of Max ’14 and Lily ’17.
Michael Sclafani, the eighth grade dean, and Rachel Klein, director of Hill and Middle School service learning, helped to organize the event for the school. Riverdale previously hosted a Spring field day for Safe Passage in May 2015.
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