On a seemingly normal afternoon, a few high school students head down the street to the neighboring elementary school. This might not seem like a big deal, but to the classrooms full of captivated young students, it has a huge impact. The Peaceful Schools program here at Chaparral offers young kids at the elementary school level the opportunity to make a connection with high school students to learn about acceptance and tolerance. Chaparral’s Interact Club has organized this program with Pine Grove as it’s a feeder school. Once a month, student leaders head to Pine Grove to work with young students and teach them valuable life lessons.
Sofia Urdinola, one of the captains and classroom leaders for the program, has been a part of the program for two years now. “We read these books and curriculum to these kids about anti-bullying and how to handle their emotions and diversity,” said Urdinola . Young kids in this age group have begun to regulate their emotions, and according to the Child Development Institute, the next important step is learning a system of morals and interaction. This is why a program like this is so beneficial to the students that will someday attend Chaparral themselves. “It's helping them control and identify emotions, accept diversity and encourage it,” said Urdinola. The Peaceful Schools program seems to be a positive influence for the students not only because it teaches young students life lessons, but because these lessons are coming from people they look up to. Urdinola describes the relationships between the two age groups: “It's really helpful to have teenagers do it instead of adults because children react better to teens. They love us and they really just love talking to us and having someone to look up to.”
Through the Peaceful Schools Program, Interact club has extended the core idea of family Chaparral values so much. Due to Interact Club, years down the road Chaparral will continue to become a better place and foster peace and a sense of acceptance.
By: Chloe Heffernan