A program focused on values offers high school student athletes as role models to younger students.
In Indiana, a group of Mishawaka High School student athletes are taking part in Stay in Bounds, a grass-roots program in Indiana designed to encourage cooperation and personal responsibility, using sports as the focus.
“I think it’s important to be a good role model for younger students,” said Kaitlin Elsasser, a senior. “It’s really rewarding when you see that you are making an impact in their lives and they start to look up to you.”
Core values of program
The program focuses on core values essential to good character and ethical conduct — respect, integrity, caring, harmony, excellence and responsibility (RICHER). The program emphasizes that these are lifelong values and skills that can be learned through sports.
The athletes use various icebreakers to get to know the grade-schoolers and allow the younger students to get to know them.
One activity has fourth graders at Emmons Elementary roll a ball to a fellow student and tell that student what they like about them.
“I like that you are always nice to me,” said Andrew Sinkiewicz, 10, when he receives the ball from another student. “You are a very nice friend.”
The Stay in Bounds team visits each of the selected fourth grade classrooms in the Mishawaka school system with a prepared interactive lesson to share with the students. They visit the classes six to seven times.