Teens teach the value of character to youngsters | TheUnion.com

Teens teach the value of character to youngsters

Kelsey Barajas, a second-grader at Union Hill School in Grass Valley, has learned not to interrupt people as they speak and never to “blurt out something” inappropriate while talking.

A group of high school students who came to Union Hill helped her learn.

Nine students visited the child development center at Union Hill School once a week for two hours, Jan. 25 to Feb. 22, to teach character and values to first-, second- and third-graders, said Rachael Cummins, 17, a home-schooled student who was a part of the group.

The teenagers did the outreach because they had entered a contest that required them to complete a project that would better society or people. The contest celebrated William Wilberforce, the renowned 18th century British politician and philanthropist.

The high school students played games with the Union Hill children, put on skits with them and taught them lessons regarding virtues such as kindness, self-control, patience, gentleness, love and joy, Cummins said.

Nine-year-old Ethan Mayotte said the high schoolers taught him peace.

“If a bully is being mean to you, you should just ignore him,” Ethan said. “If he continues to bully you, you should tell him to stop. If he still continues, tell a teacher.

“You can also use peace to make friends with a bully. You can really be nice to him, and he might stop bullying you,” Ethan said.

The interaction between the teenagers and the children “was very positive,” said Kimberly Butcher, director of child development services at the Union Hill child development center.

The center caters to 350 students, aged 8 weeks to eighth grade, Butcher said.

“I think the kids were very excited,” Butcher said. “They looked up to the older students. The high schoolers were modeling excellent behavior to the younger students. They were organized, enthusiastic and confident.”

Imparting values to youngsters was, in itself, a learning experience, Cummins said.

“I bettered my manners,” Cummins added “I learned that no matter how hard this contest was, the fruits we reaped from this … were worth (it) in the end.”

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.

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