Bronxville PTA Middle School Mentorship Program Reinforces Community at The Bronxville School
At the end of the school day on Wednesday, Bronxville middle and high schoolers gathered in a classroom on the first floor. There to greet them were Kelly Dolan and Donna Ruhanen, two of the parent volunteers who oversee I Got Your Back, the PTA-sponsored mentoring program at the middle school which brings students of all ages together to work on craft projects for various charities. Around the room, student and parent volunteers set about organizing snacks and craft materials to be used to make Valentine’s Day cards for children at Lawrence Hospital. The preparation came together quickly, just in time for the arrival of the elementary school students who will be creating the cards with the help of the older students.
This middle school initiative is one example of many Bronxville PTA Middle School Character & Community (MSCC) committee programs. The MSCC has been around for many years and runs a large variety of programs with several local non-profit partners. Mentoring is a big part of the Bronxville School community, and I Got Your Back is a special example in that it involves bringing together students from each of the schools. The middle schoolers are mentoring elementary students while high school students supervise them. Another remarkable aspect is the program is entirely volunteer focused for middle and high school students. Although, there is an added bonus of tasty snacks.
As the elementary school students arrive, they join the middle school student volunteers at the tables and enjoy a snack. Ms. Dolan welcomed the students and asked everyone to go around the room to introduce themselves. She then posed a question to the group, “What does mentoring mean?” A few students called out answers, “helping!”, “being nice!”, “looking out for others!” Ms. Dolan then asked if any of the high school students wanted to share what mentoring means to them. Teddy Gramins, a junior and one of the seven high school students there on Wednesday, quickly volunteered. “We are here to support and help teach you using the experience we have gained over the years during our time here in Bronxville. We want to help you make good decisions and show you that Bronxville is a special place,” he said.
I Got Your Back runs several times throughout the year under the stewardship of parent volunteers Denise Stephens, Kelly Dolan, and Donna Ruhanen. High school students Luke Stephens, Johnny Dolan, Brady Dolan, and Elle Ruhanen assist with the organizing. Information on upcoming events, and other PTA MSCC organized volunteer opportunities for middle schoolers can be found in Mr. Mercora’s weekly newsletter.