Most of these students feel they are incredibly lucky to live in Upper Arlington, but they want to know how to interact with other people from different walks of life as well. This is one of the discoveries that lead us to the Barrington and West Broad Street Elementary partnership.
This new partnership has proven to be an incredible opportunity for students in our elementary schools to overcome a fear of the unknown and learn how to be inclusive with others. This partnership is supported by the Krauss Family Fund, a fund designed specifically to help students in Upper Arlington learn how to build relationships with other students that may come from households facing socio-economic difficulties. UA Rotary also plays the role of a supporting sponsor for this project.
In the 2018-2019 schoolyear we had around 350 students from each school participate in this partnership. Second grade students from both schools had the opportunity to create peer to peer relationships with other second grade students, and Barrington fourth grade students had the chance to mentor first grade students from West Broad Elementary. The children loved the chance to play and learn alongside new friends during their visits.
This past year, there were four scheduled activities that students come together to enjoy. For one, a local children's author autographed books to give to the first grade mentees. At another visit, students made a craft together. They painted "kindness rocks" with uplifting messages to place around their neighborhoods. Students completed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathmatics) projects with their buddies at each visit, and all of the students had a field trip to COSI together for their final visit.
We are so grateful for the Krauss Family Fund, UA Rotary, and all of the donors that make projects like this possible in our community. It has been such a joy to watch this partnership bring students together to foster kindness, inclusivity, and civility. If you are interested in donating to projects like these, click the "Give Now" button below and specify which fund or project you would like your donation to support.