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The spirit of giving permeates Diman


Also covered in the Fall River Spirit

Diman “gave back” to the community in a big way this year, as five different projects all worked to help the greater Fall River community. Diman’s efforts helped clothe, feed, and provide both toys and holiday spirit to the area.

This year’s annual National Honor Society Clothe-a-Child program was joined by an Eagle Scout project of one of Diman’s students in providing winter wear for local families and homeless people. The annual Key Club food drive supplied holiday dinner and foodstuffs for 82 families, the Dental Assisting program’s toy drive gathered 85 toys for needy children, and several shops worked together to refurbish Fall River’s holiday display outside City Hall.

Clothing the needy

The National Honor Society participates in the Salvation Army’s Clothe-a-Child program every year, and has been doing so for decades. Each year, the Salvation Army on Bedford Street contacts Diman with the names and ages of children in need of help, and each year NHS students are joined by other Diman students, faculty, and staff in providing coats and outfits for the children.

Quite often, students will buy more than just coats and winter-wear, and will buy toys and other presents. "Helping people during the holidays is important. It's the season of giving after all,” said junior Sarah Botelho. “I got three outfits for my child!"

"It's always nice to know that we can make a kid's Christmas a little warmer," added junior Brandon Terry.
According to NHS advisor Trisha Beaudoin, Diman clothed 70 children ranging in age from 3 months to 12 years. Enthused Beaudoin, “My NHS students know that they are making these children’s season brighter, and that gives them a great feeling of joy. Especially at this time of the year, it's wonderful to see young adults giving back. I feel truly lucky to be their advisor, and I'm so proud of them!”

Diman’s impact on helping provide warmth during the coldest months was enhanced by Swansea senior Kyle Botelho’s Eagle Scout project for Troop 26. Seeking to help homeless families who need winter coats, Botelho began a coat and winter clothing drive at Diman and three Swansea locations.

Botelho’s project gathered over 150 coats and at least a dozen hats, thermal underwear sets, and pairs of gloves. The clothing will be donated to United Neighbors of Fall River, who will distribute them to homeless shelters in the greater Fall River area.

“The Diman box was literally overflowing,” said Botelho with a grin. “Even after I took the box, I had people coming up to me and giving me coats. I had to take bags full of coats home on the bus for days after that,“ he laughed.
Donations to Botelho’s cause were monetary also. “My shop teachers contributed over $225! I got a lot of help from them,” he said. The money helped him purchase even more hats, gloves, and thermal underwear.

“I really like helping out. I like making people smile, and being able to help protect people form the cold this winter feels good,” said Botelho. There were unexpected benefits too: “I had fun doing it. It was a fun experience.”

Feeding the hungry

This year, Diman Key Club’s Annual Food Drive provided a holiday turkey, along with a bountiful food basket, to 82 community families. In addition, a significant food donation was made to the Salvation Army Food Pantry.

The drive began at the annual pre-Thanksgiving pep rally, where students were encouraged to bring a canned good as their entry fee to the rally. Following the Thanksgiving break, donation stations were set up in every shop to gather students' and employees' non-perishable food contributions. The shop that collects the most food items was awarded the “Golden Can” trophy, which was awarded to Electronics for the second year in a row, with Dental Assisting coming in second.

Diman faculty, staff and administration bolstered the Key Club's effort through a "Take a Turkey to Work" drive, cash donations, and participation in the Key Club’s “Casual for a Cause” Fridays. HVAC/R played an important role by providing the freezer space in the guise of a refurbished ice freezer, which they maintain for this yearly event (with any spillover turkeys being housed in the cafeteria freezers).

Some local community businesses participated, too. Among them, Fall River law firm Gunner and Gunner continued to make an annual generous monetary donation, Ferolbink Farms in Tiverton have contributed butternut squash, Gold Metal Bakery donated rolls, and Diman's restaurant, Room 251, contributed Christmas cookies this year for all 82 families.

Once Key Club members sorted and dispersed all the food among the designated number of baskets, the donated money was used to supplement the food baskets with fresh produce and food staples such as peanut butter, macaroni and cheese, cereal, pancake mix and more. The finished baskets lined the stage in Diman’s auditorium, turning it into a temporary food bank, where the recipients came to pick up their bounty.

Key Club advisor, Susan DeJesus, declared her appreciation for the support, saying, “If so many people didn’t contribute, this just couldn’t happen on this scale. The drive couldn’t have grown from 17 baskets to 80+ baskets without all the support from the Diman community.”

Bringing joy to children

Some of Fall River's less-fortunate children had a better holiday season this year thanks to Diman's Dental Assisting program. With the assistance of Diman's staff and students, the dental program gathered 85 toys to be donated to the Citizens for Citizens' Operation Christmas toy drive.

"It feels really good to give back to people who don't have what we have," said junior Alexis Moniz.

Fellow junior Taylor Bird agreed: "It's a good feeling. My family used to do foster care and help less fortunate people. This is my small way of giving back."

Instructor Maria Torres pointed out how critical it is to consider others, "It's important that no matter what your personal struggles are, you remember others during tough time."

Sprucing up the spirit of the season

The holiday display outside Fall River City Hall is a long-standing tradition in the city, but had been showing its age. This year, three of Diman’s shops and one of our Co-op Program employers worked together to put a fresh face on a worn down presentation.

“The displays were decades-old, made of hand-painted wood. They were in pretty rough shape,” explained Carpentry-Cabinetmaking Department Head Steve Marciszyn.

The new displays are made of extruded vinyl, should last many years, and were the result of cross-shop collaboration. The Drafting program designed the displays, Metal Fabrication and Joining Technologies built the metal stands, and Carpentry-Cabinetmaking assembled the pieces and set them up in front of City Hall.

The Fall River project received a major boost from a Cumberland, RI’s Herrick & White, an employer for Diman’s Co-Op program. Said Marciszyn, “When our CNC machine was down and we needed to get the job done in the 11th hour, they stepped up and helped cut the vinyl. If it wasn’t for them, the display wouldn’t be here today.”

Much like the other projects, those who gave the help gained almost as much benefit as those who received the help. “It’s fun and it’s rewarding because everybody’s going to enjoy it and it’s great to put smiles on people’s faces,” pointed out Carpentry-Cabinetmaking senior Destyne Bosse, whose grandmother donated the Christmas tree.

Nathan Byrnes, Media Services Coordinator