In April when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to cease in-person learning and many students were feeling isolated at their homes, Audrey Edel, PHS ’21, came up with a bright idea: Kindness Coaches. It’s a virtual, free mentorship program which pairs Piedmont high school students with elementary students to work for 30 minutes or more per week on academics, art, crafts, or any activity which forges a positive and fun connection.
When Edel released the application for Kindness Coaches in the spring, she was thrilled with the response: 100 high school students volunteered their time and more than 60 parents of elementary-age students signed-up, often for more than one child in their family.
“I am so proud of how my peers stood up to help the community in these challenging times,” said Edel. “The positive response across the board demonstrates it’s been a win-win for the students and families involved.”
Connor Stratman, PHS ’21, has been mentoring George Saunders, a fifth grader at Havens, for the past few months. “I think it’s important to continue thinking and learning despite the pandemic,” said Stratman. “It’s been rewarding to see George get excited about new concepts in math and science. It has also given me a newfound respect for teachers as it’s really hard to teach, especially online. I am really appreciative of their effort.”
Saunders has also enjoyed the experience: “I like working through math problems with Connor because he’s good at explaining things. Plus, he’s really nice and we talk about sports a lot!”
Edel says Kindness Coaches is continuing this school year. She will be collecting applications in mid September via the program’s website here. Students who recognize the benefits of volunteerism and a strong community is one more reason why Piedmont schools are exceptional. #PiedmontProud