National School of CharacterEloisa DeJesus-Woodruff, Principal of 2012 National School of Character (NSOC) Richard Stockton Elementary in Cherry Hill, New Jersey was so moved by the devastation being faced by her fellow citizens in New Jersey and New York in the wake of Sandy that she returned from the National Forum ready to act. She had a vision of mobilizing the National Schools of Character to help those in need – other NSOC communities that were impacted as well as anyone else who needed help through the Red Cross. She hoped her students could help others and would have the opportunity to share stories with other students in other communities around the country. Knowing the power of service learning in her own community, she envisioned how much impact the NSOCs could have by working together.

Her school began immediately to serve as a central collection point for needed items such as new socks and underwear and gift cards to stores such as CVS, Walgreens, Target, and Walmart so that families could purchase needed items like baby supplies, medicine, and pet food. As DeJesus-Woodruff’s call went out through CEP, other NSOCs from South Carolina to Missouri to Texas sprang into action, asking their students to spearhead service projects.

When the Stockton community heard through CEP that a fellow NSOC was in need, they were ready to help. Brigantine Elementary, near Atlantic City was hit hard by the terrible storm. “Our community, named the Kindest Community in New Jersey years ago, has come together and supported those who have lost their homes and possessions, helped rip out the walls and floors, provided food, clothes, transportation, money, places to live for those of us who can’t live in our homes. It has been one miracle after another,” reports Teri Gragg. Stockton staff and students will be traveling to Brigantine with collected donations just days before Thanksgiving. There they will meet Brigantine elementary and middle school students at the community center where students from the two schools will work together to unload the donations. Plans are in place for students from the two communities to continue to communicate after their day of working together.


Would you like to help the Sandy relief efforts in New Jersey and New York? Or, is your school in need of donations or other support? Contact Lara Maupin, NSOC Director, at or Eloisa DeJesus-Woodruff, Principal, Richard Stockton Elementary School at 856-424-1505.