Challenging times provide us with the opportunity to be our best selves. The “Rivers Responds” initiative is intended to develop and coordinate ways in which members of the Rivers community can be their best selves by providing comfort and support to those who have been the most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The initiative is built upon three pillars—Rivers Reaches Out, Rivers Strong, and Rivers Awareness & Action—which are focused around the concepts of community engagement and action, community-building and fellowship, and knowledge and empathy.

Rivers Responds was developed by the Rivers Center for Community and Civic Engagement (CCCE) and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). If you have suggestions about information that could be included on this site, please send an email to Amy Enright, director of the CCCE (, Kit Cunningham, director of engagement (, or Ava Archibald, director of DEI (

Rivers Reaches Out

Rivers Reaches Out focuses on providing information about volunteer opportunities for those looking for ways to become actively involved in helping others. You also can search for volunteer opportunities on your town and city websites and on websites such as and

While getting involved in organized volunteer activities is both important and rewarding, remember that even doing simple things, like checking in on neighbors and family or offering to help someone with grocery shopping, can have a huge impact on the quality of someone’s life. Now more than ever, we need to show that we care for one another and that we are all in this together.

Food Insecurity

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Support for Vulnerable Neighbors

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  • Engage in Conversation

    Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE) has residents who speak many languages. It is looking for volunteers who can converse in Russian, Albanian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean and Creole, among other languages. If you would be willing to connect with an elder for casual conversation in one of these languages, please contact Kerri at and become a valued  “Friendly Virtual Visitor.”
  • Write Letters

    Writing simple notes and letters of support to elders who are socially isolated is a wonderful way to bring light into people’s lives. Following is a list of possible ways to get involved in the activity.

    • Rivers Serves is a school club that will be hosting some group letter writing activities that will be open to all. Please email Kit Cunningham to get involved.

    • Rivers has a partnership with Jewish Community Housing for the Elderly (JCHE), and community members are invited to send cards to Golda Meier House, 160 Stanton Ave, Auburndale, MA, 02466. Please email Kit Cunningham to get involved.

    • Send the letters /cards to your nearby nursing homes.

    • Check out Volunteermatch to find out you can get involved in their “Send Cards to Elders” program.

    • The website is a great resource for those looking to write letters to isolated seniors.

    • Hands On Atlanta is helping to coordinate a letter-writing campaign to thank the heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic—doctors, nurses, technicians, transporters, EMTs, pharmacists, housekeepers, and food service hosts. Handwritten notes of encouragement can be sent to Grady Health System, C/O Leigh Reece (Office #1C122), 80 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, SE, Atlanta, GA, 30303. Thanks to Hillary Baker, Rivers Parent Association chair, for making this connection for us.

Gratitude for Medical Staff

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  • Writing Letters

    Writing letters of gratitude and support to those working on the “front lines” of the pandemic battle is a great way to show we appreciate their selflessness. You can send on your own to any hospital, or to your local EMTs and emergency personnel. Or you can work with Rivers Serves, one of our school clubs, which will be hosting some group letter writing activities that will be open to all. Please email Kit Cunningham to get involved.
  • Make Protective Masks

    Given the shortage of protective masks, many people are donating their time to the task of making masks. Look online for sites like the Joann site that can provide you with information on how to do it.
  • Providing Meals

    Visit Feed The Fight to learn how you can get involved in providing meals from local restaurants to hospital ER and ICU staff all around the Greater Boston area.

Other Ways

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  • Summer Volunteer and Social Justice Opportunities

    Kit Cunningham (, director of community engagement at Rivers, has compiled a list of summer opportunities for civic engagement and volunteering for young people. Please click here to read more. 
  • Help Translate...and More

    Are you fluent in one language other than English? Perhaps Translators without Borders could use your help. They need digital volunteers who can translate medical texts and perform crisis response communication. Additional volunteer opportunities exist for project management, graphic or web page design, and fundraising.
  • Donate an iPad

    Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston needs iPads so that their patients can communicate with their families. If you have an extra iPad, please put it in a plastic bag with your name and phone number (so that you can be contacted by a tech team member if necessary). Stay tuned for instructions on how to drop them off at Rivers. Thanks to the Bargamian family for helping to coordinate this!
  • Immigrant Family Service

    Rivers has a wonderful relationship with the Immigrant Family Services Institute (IFSI) in Boston, which provides a space for tutoring, enrichment activities, and social services for Haitian and other immigrant families. Rivers Givers awarded them a grant in 2018, and Rivers students, led by Will Churchill ’20 and Jackie Benjes ’20, have tutored IFSI students, helped in their summer program, and worked on their website and communications. Currently we need volunteers to do weekend enrichment activities with the children. Please email Kit Cunningham to get involved.
  • Educational Tutoring for Kids

    There is student interest in online tutoring with younger kids who are at home and might need help with their enrichment packages. Although none of this is fully organized yet, we are talking with the Plympton School in Waltham and hopefully the Waltham Boys and Girls club, places where we already have a community partnership. The projected format would be twice weekly, with Rivers students signing up in groups of 4-6, and going into Zoom breakout groups with students. We may host art/drama exercises one day, and math/reading,writing the other day. Kit. Cunningham, Rivers director of community engagement, will supervise, and go over lesson plans with the Rivers students beforehand. Stay tuned for more information.
  • Financial Support for Nonprofits

    If you are able, this is a great time to support your favorite nonprofits. To identify nonprofits you would like to support, visit this NBC News webpage for ideas, browse through the many innovative Go Fund me pages, such as 3DCorps, which is making medical protective personal equipment under the guidance of Boston hospitals.
  • Donate Your Medical Expertise

    If you are a health professional interested in donating your time and expertise to your community, visit this website to find out how you can help.
  • Donate Blood

    The COVID-19 pandemic has put a serious strain on the nation’s supply of blood. Visit the Red Cross website to identify blood donation opportunities.
  • Take Care of Yourself

    Lift your spirits lifted by taking time to read stories of kindness and goodness that people are extending to each other in this time of crisis. You’ll find lots of good stories to enjoy at Upworthy and Good News Network!
  • Support Local Restaurants

    Many restaurants are doing a program where when you buy a food item, they will donate a meal to a medical worker on the frontlines of fighting Covid 19.This helps support our businesses and amazing medical workers. Learn more by checking out the Wellesley Rotary Club’s Go Fund Me page, which explains how they are working with local restaurants to get meals to frontline workers.

Rivers Strong

Rivers Strong is focused on providing information about community events and activities intended to strengthen the bond between the members of the Rivers community, boost community morale, and reflect our determination to face this pandemic together with courage and resolve. Check back here often to get updated information.

Student Life Offerings

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  • Advisory

    Advisory now meets three times a week to provide added connection, familiarity, and check-ins during Rivers Remote.
  • Athletics

    There will be athletic related offerings during the new activities block in the afternoon. More infrormation on this will be provided soon.
  • Class Deans' Weekly Homeroom Messages

    In lieu of class Homerooms, Class Deans talk to class co-presidents every week and collaborate on announcements, birthday shout-outs, and even Twitter "best quarantine picture" competitions!
  • Student-led Clubs and Affinity Groups

    Traditional clubs and new virtual-only activities are meeting weekly in our new Rivers Remote 2.0 schedule to provide students added connection with each other and to their familiar hobbies, interests, and even quarantine activities!
  • Upper School Assembly

    Upper School students have been meeting on Tuesday mornings. Seniors have been giving their regularly scheduled senior speeches through Zoom and this is a time for students to hear important announcements from Head of Upper School Jim Long.
  • Middle School: A Weekly Message from Mr. Bower

    Each week John Bower posts a video message to Middle School students. Visit his YouTube channel to see his latest message or review the previous messages that are archived there.
  • Upper School: A Weekly Message from Will Mills

    Check out Dean of Upper School Students Will Mills' Youtube Channel for important school-wide messages, announcements, and expectations during Rivers Remote.

Upcoming Student Events

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  • Clubs & Activities Schedule - Week of May 18

    Click here to see this week's Middle School afternoon activities schedule.

    Click here to see this week's Upper School afternoon activities schedule.

  • Food Drive on Saturday, May 30, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.

    The food drive that we did in April was a huge success! Thank you to the many Rivers families that participated.We are going to do it again on May 30. Donors are asked to bring rice, cereal, pasta, tomato sauce and cans of tuna and chicken for Pearl Street Kitchen in Framingham. They are feeding 100+ people a day, and food supplies are low. Our food donations will be greatly appreciated.

    In order to keep this activity safe and within the guidelines for social distancing, we ask that donors observe the following procedures. Please have the food donations in your trunk. Volunteers will remove the food from your car. Please do NOT get out of your car. Social distancing protocols will be strictly followed.
    Drop off is anytime from 10-12 by the flagpole.

    Thank you in advance!

Rivers Awareness & Action

Rivers Awareness & Action is focused on providing access to informational resources, including articles, webinars, and workshops, designed to keep community members well-informed about the pandemic and its impact on people’s lives. Equipped with knowledge, community members can work more effectively to help “flatten the curve” of social inequality raised by the twin crises of medical and economic disruption.

Get Inspired!

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Share Your Ideas and Experiences

We want to hear from you! Please use this form to share ideas about potential community engagement opportunities as well as information about what you and/or your family are doing to reach out to others. Thank you!

RIvers Responds News

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  • A recent Rivers food drive garnered nearly 3,000 pounds of nonperishables for a local food bank.

    Rivers Strong: Our Community Reaches Out

    How have members of the Rivers community responded to the coronavirus outbreak? Not surprisingly, with compassion, courage, and determination. They are making masks, sending out cards and letters, preparing meals and sandwiches, tutoring children, and working on the front lines with those who’ve contracted the virus.
    Read More
  • Students visited SOAR Natick and learned about the organization's work from staff and clients.

    Rivers Givers Teaches Lessons in Philanthropy

    Giving money away isn’t as simple as it looks.

    For philanthropists—and philanthropists-in-training—it’s rarely just a matter of raising the money and writing a check. Charitable causes must be chosen and vetted with care, ensuring that they are not just well intentioned but effective. Donors need to know where their dollars are going and whether the recipients are fiscally responsible. Grant proposals must be reviewed for feasibility and impact.
    Read More

Rivers Responding

Click here
 to read more about our Rivers Responders in action.