URGENT Message from Head of School

"Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community." - Anthony J. D'Angelo

Dear Palm Valley Families and Community,

As you may have heard, a terrible fire in the Idyllwild area broke out yesterday and has ravaged more than 5000 acres at this point. One only need to look in the sky to see what's happening up there and know how significant the damage is. My own son is a camper in the Idyllwild Arts program and was one of the several hundred students who were evacuated along with several other sleep-away/day camps held in that area. As you can imagine, chaos and challenge abounds in trying to ensure that all those students are cared for in the absence of access to a campus to house, feed, and support them as intended. Some of those students are locals or have family within driving distance to the area and have been picked up and taken home, but others who travelled from afar are now stranded. As the Idyllwild School for the Arts is our closest sister school (they are also CAIS members), the Palm Valley School is pleased to announce that we will be hosting these remaining 110 or so students and faculty tonight on our campus for dinner. We are providing them a place to hang out, food to eat, and some relief from the heat. They have accommodations tonight in a hotel and generous locals are providing meals for breakfast and lunch. We are happy to be able to assist them in even a small way in the midst of this tragic event and their unexpected displacement - it's the least we can do for them.

While these students and faculty chaperones have accommodations and food for today, there is still much that they need. They are scared, without their family, and have lost access to all their personal belongings that they brought to camp with them. All students who were evacuated had to do so very quickly and without retrieving any of their personal items. The Idyllwild Arts campers, for example, who were housed in a hotel last night had nothing. A generous donor gifted them with toothbrushes and paste, but they are still in the same clothes, and many left behind essential items like daily toiletries, clothing, and personal items.


There are several ways you can help. I know that the generosity of our families can be of assistance to these children in need.

1. If you wish to donate food items for tonight's dinner offering, we could use desserts and drinks. The Slice Pizzeria is partnering with us to provide salads, pastas, and pizza. The event is on our campus this evening in the gym from 5:00pm to 6:30pm.

2. If you are able to provide snacks and drinks for them to take with them to their hotels. They have plans for three meals tomorrow, but these are teenagers - they need snacks throughout the day for comfort and hunger.

3. Donations of personal/travel-sized toiletries for these students and adults. Shampoos and conditioners, toothpastes, styling products, mouthwash, body wash, facial cleansers, etc. These kids have nothing and can use whatever the generosity of our community can provide!

Any donations should be dropped off directly at the Middle School before 5:00pm today so that students can take them away or consume tonight at the dinner. I am so grateful for your consideration and I know that these students and their families are as well. Any of us who are parents understand what this would be like if our own children were stranded without personal items and unable to travel home. Thank you for helping them!

Susan Rice
Head of School