You Can Do It: Donate Your TIME and TALENTS to Improve PS58 : )
Fri, Jan 10 11:29am

Every dollar donated to our 2019 Direct Appeal will provide vital resources both in the classroom and out—it is essential and we are so grateful to those who have already donated. 

But did you know there are parents who are also donating their time and expertise to specific projects to improve our PS58 community?

In some cases, they each identified a need and worked with the PTA, administration, teachers, staff and fellow parents to accomplish some big things—from a new sound system in the auditorium and better acoustics in the cafeteria to repaired orchestra instruments. 

Two parents share their stories about how they’ve helped make life at PS58 sound a little bit sweeter. We hope you will be inspired to bring your superpowers to PS58 in the new year. 

Together, we can do it! >> DONATE NOW <<


Tell us about the projects you have taken on at PS58:

PA: I am a sound engineer and I do AV installation—they go hand in hand. When started attending school plays here at PS58, I realized the sound system was not working that well.

PTA Treasurer Darrin Cirillo suggested that I get involved in the PTA and propose a new sound system. I wasn’t involved in the school in any sense. I just started asking around. I came into the meeting and mentioned it. 

Then I went into the auditorium on a Saturday to see how it was really operating and then put in a proposal to redesign. This is when the process with the PTA started to move. There was a real motivation to get the budget to do this and complete the work in time for the fifth grade play. It was finished two weeks before.

I managed the install and got a few parents to help over a weekend. Since it has been installed, I have been maintaining it and keeping it going. We have the upcoming kindergarten performance, and I’ll sit in the audience on an iPad and mix the show.

After the auditorium work, the administration asked me to look at the cafeteria’s loud acoustic problem. I designed panelling and through that proposal Mr. C asked for a sound system down there to play music as well. 

We settled on a Sonos system with 8 speakers. The DOE was really helpful as was Ryan at the school who helped with the install.

How has this improved life for all students at PS58?

PA: We have basically gone from the analog to digital world. It is amazing how the sound system is being used now. The beauty of it is that it is getting used! 

The teachers and enrichment staff use it now and there is this confidence. Movie nights and concerts now come in surround sound. The auditorium is culturally a place that brings everyone together.

In the cafeteria, there are now 8 different speaker zones. If there is a ballroom class that just needs one corner, a teacher can control it from the Sonos app and have music just in that zone.

We were testing it the other day during lunch and I put music on: the kids were dancing and so happy. It changed everything. I get why Mr. C pushed for it. It helped everyone calm down and signal when it was time to go outside. It really is helpful

What motivated you to volunteer your time like this?

PA: For me, it is very straightforward and essential to donate the money, but donating your time and the physical work is more rewarding.

I feel like the human capital—the talent we have as parents—is so unique. I think our school is one of the best in Brooklyn, and I know we have a lot of talented parents who have a lot to offer. There is a way to bring that to the school.

One of the most rewarding experiences was the day of the 2nd grade performance with the new sound system. Mr. C. thanked me, and I looked at my daughter. She realized that her dad had made a difference. 

What advice would you give to other parents?

PA: You can come up with ideas, and you can propose them to the PTA. It is very easy to complain but I don’t think parents realize the power that they have. 

Someone has to take the lead and put in the hours. That is the challenge, but it opens the door to the school in more ways than one. When I walk into the office they say, "Hi Music Man!" You become even more a part of the community.


Tell us about the projects you have taken on at PS58:

IM: I build guitars and when my child started in 3rd grade, he was looking forward to playing the double bass. I noticed a lot of the string instruments in orchestra class were in need of some repairs. I told the teacher I could fix them for her and that appealed to her right away. The instruments had various issues from cracks to dried up joints. 

I also switched some of the pianos. The auditorium had a clunky piano as well as three pianos upstairs for the after school classes. I located some pianos in various conditions, and it took a while to put everything together getting the approval bring the pianos in. 

By pure chance Ms. Barbara in the office overheard my conversation with Mr. C. She said I have a piano to donate and that new baby grand in the auditorium is from her. I organized her piano and the movers and found a taker for the old one. Then I found two more uprights pianos for upstairs. 

The pianos will stay there for a long time. This will make a difference long after our kids leave the school. And big thanks to Ms. Barbara and Mr. C.

How has this improved life for all students at PS58?

IM: There is a lot that differentiates a good from bad instrument. Even an experienced musician would have a hard time playing an instrument that is not properly set up. But for a child with no point of reference, it could become too hard from their perspective. If you set up the instruments properly it becomes much easier to actually play it and that is what the kids need.

What motivated you to volunteer your time like this?

IM: I always want to do things for the school and since I happen to have this skill and tools and interest, I thought this is a good thing to do and it will make a difference. A lot can be accomplished with fundraising, and this is just another way to get things done.

What advice would you give to other parents?

IM: Donating your time is super rewarding. There is more a sense of community and the feeling of ‘Let’s do this!” They say it takes a village to raise a child and this holds true at PS58.

Any given year, there are hundreds of parents with various means and skills and connections. We can all do things in our spare time and make a difference and many are doing that now.


Together, we can do it! >> DONATE NOW <<