Rotary Club of Grand Island, New York

We have all heard how scary school is, particularly for the 'middle grades' or Middle School: 6,7,8th Grades in most Districts.  This week (Jan 22, 2020) G I Rotarian Brian Graham brought us John Fitzpatrick, Principal of the Middle School, to explain a program 'Where Everyone Belongs' which is now being successfully used in the G I Veronica Connor Middle School to overcome the lonely, isolated feeling that leads many youth to make poor, often dangerous, choices to try to overcome or coverup isolated feelings.  Training and encouraging individual 8th graders to befriend, work with, play with, (we might call it 'mentor') the new crop of 6th graders in formalized groups (to make sure all are covered) and then celebrate these new sets of friends with fun, school-wide activities and learning sessions, has really brought the WHOLE school together.  Yes, that age group is prone to 'experimenting' (we might say get themselves in trouble) - here is a program that really works; often because with friends, a youth is not likely to strike out in dangerous directions on their own!