Since 2004, Sloatsburg Elementary School’s Family Resource Center (FRC) has run Start Something for fifth-graders. The twelve-week youth program was developed by the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Target Corporation to help students develop action plans to achieve their dreams. Over the course of the program, participants identify personal career interests and develop independent, community service projects that help them take a step toward their goals.
More than a dozen Sloatsburg students participated in Start Something this school year. Mentors, including teachers, a physician, an accountant and others, helped the fifth-graders learn about their careers and develop their projects. With the help of their parents, participants organized food drives and fundraisers, ran a soccer clinic for younger students, co-taught a physical education or math lesson and more.
“Students learn about leadership, teamwork, goal-setting, time management and role-models,” reported FRC Coordinator and Start Something advisor Charlene Vasilik. “I am always thrilled and amazed by their creativity and commitment to their service projects.”
Marilyn learned the challenges of being a veterinarian and spearheaded a pet supplies drive to support the Hi-Tor Animal Shelter.
“Dr. Parker told me that sometimes when you love animals, you have to do things that are unpleasant,” she recounted.
“You need to go to college to become an accountant,” reported Colin. “The average salary is $100,000 per year, but you only get Saturdays and Sundays off.”
For his project, Colin attended Homework Club twice a week to help fourth-grade students with math.
On February 13, proud parents and siblings attended the closing Start Something session. Participants delivered presentations on their projects and explained how the program helped them work toward their dreams.
Rebecca hopes to become a day care provider and selected Vasilik as her mentor. To gain a better understanding of what it would be like to run a day care program, Rebecca ran a Little Chefs session for preschoolers centered on Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.
“You need lots of patience with the little ones,” she reflected. “Things don’t always go as planned.”
Rebecca’s mom, Liisa Warren, had high praise for Start Something.
“This has been tremendous for Rebecca—it’s given her an opportunity to take the reins and build on her passion,” she noted. “It’s taught her to think, plan and implement—and then learn how to be flexible and improvise when things don’t go according to plan.”
“All of these students have demonstrated true leadership skills that will serve them well in the future,” said Vasilik. “We are so proud of them.”
Principal Eric Baird congratulated the students on a job well done.
“I am very impressed with the projects that you chose and the positive impact that they have had on people and animals in our community,” he said.