By Mary Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Dec. 4, 2019: At this time of year, when thankfulness and gratitude take their rightful place in the forefront of our minds, I had the distinct pleasure of having all of our second graders from the Bronxville School visit the police department and me to talk about their community.
Their remarkable knowledge and concern about their environment filled me with thanks and gratitude that they are the next generation of Villagers to be stewards of our beautiful home. They are smart, kind, inquisitive, and thankfully and refreshingly open, free of our adult filters. (One young lady told me my skin was looking good, so whatever cream I was using, “I should keep it up.” In the middle of discussing the length of political terms, a young man just needed to know right then and there if I had any pets.
Their teachers decided to concentrate on the words of a very famous Villager, President John F. Kennedy, and the famous line in his inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Without a moment of prompting, the students came up with so many things that they could do for the Village to make it an even better place to live.
Chief among them was the amount of litter they see both in town and near the Bronx River. They want us all to start looking down and cleaning up. They also deeply care about the environment and want us all to remember to recycle and recycle properly and believe me, they know how — from sorting to plastic caps to washing out all the containers.
Very much on their mind was the pollution caused by cars as well as the congestion in the business district. They believe every one of us should be walking more because we live so close to things and they would really like having all the stores they need - for shoes, clothing, and sports gear - right in the Village, so they are not getting in the car with their moms or dads to go to malls.
One young man even asked about the electric car chargers that we are installing in our parking lots. They are very concerned about the water quality in the Bronx River and the lack of healthy fish that can live in it. They want it cleaned up and now. Despite the sometimes dreamy look on their faces, they really don’t miss a trick and are so aware of their environment and frankly how we treat it. They want to plant trees, trees, and more trees as they understand the shade and cooling component, the beauty, and even the anti-pollution effect of the carbon dioxide.
To my surprise and delight, they also talked about making a better community by being kinder to each other, be it to their classmates or just a smile to someone walking on Pondfield Road. They all want to help a senior citizen like me to cross the street safely. Safety in general is very much on their minds. They all knew how to call 911, and they all knew their address should they need help. The students were very comforted by how fast Bronxville Police can get to them if they need help, and they knew a great deal about unlocked car thefts and house burglaries.
The police officers who toured the children through their department shared their insights as well. As predictable, they were fascinated by the cells, the police cars, and the sirens, but the officers were surprised how much they were aware of the Village cameras and the feeling of safety they got from them.
Needless to say, they were very tech-savvy. They were fascinated by the 911 system and were comforted by the fact that every police officer is a trained professional in CPR, oxygen therapy, and AED. As one young man put it succinctly, “Wow, you can shock people!” An added comfort was learning that even if they dialed 911, then hung up and said nothing, the police would still come to their door.
Upon leaving, I was asked and stumped by the meaning of the Latin Bronxville motto. Being clued in by a friend, I know it now means, “Yield not to misfortunes but advance more boldly against them.” (Taken from the Aeneid)
Believe me, if their visit to Village Hall was any indication, our young citizens have already taken these words to heart.
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