NEW CANAAN, Conn., -- More than 400 New Canaan Country School students and their parents from across lower Fairfield County gathered to volunteer for 14 local nonprofit organizations April 16.
They were participating in the second annual Kyle A. Markes Day of Service in honor of the sixth-grader from Stamford who passed away at the age of 11 on Christmas Eve 2013 after a battle with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Kyle is remembered for his kind-hearted and cheerful personality, as well as his commitment to community service.
“I am excited that Kyle’s spirit continues to connect people, to strengthen our school and to positively influence the world in which we live,” said the Head of Middle School Kirsten Rosolen.
Under sunny, blue skies, families cleared gardens, raked beds and planted flowers at Inspirica (Stamford), the Boys & Girls Club of America (Stamford), the Carver Center (Norwalk), Open Door Shelter (Norwalk), New Canaan Nature Center and Waveny Care Center (New Canaan). They prepped brown bags at Person to Person (Norwalk) for the U.S. Postal Service's food drive next month and helped register adults to the National Bone Marrow registry through Delete Blood Cancer.
Participants also made fleece blankets for the Family & Children’s Agency (Norwalk), painted ceramics for Ben’s Bells (Newtown) and made jump ropes for the Ralphola Taylor Community Center (Bridgeport). Families also donated sneakers to Dunk Your Kicks, which sells “kicks” to developing nations for about a dollar a pair, supporting pediatric leukemia research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering.
The day culminated with a basketball tournament on a court dedicated last year in Kyle’s honor. Eighteen teams of students, including many of Kyle’s former classmates, competed in the tournament, with the proceeds benefitting Horizons at New Canaan Country School.
Before the tournament began, Jackque Markes, standing alongside her husband, Walter, and daughter, Kayonne, thanked the crowd. “We know that Kyle is smiling down on us. He was all about service and this is the best way to honor him. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”