A new peer kindness program teaches kids how to be wingmen for each other. The pilot program focuses on developing leadership among students and mutual support.
“We try and impress that this is above and beyond respect and kindness, which are essential,” said Ian Hockley, a creator of the Wingman program which starts at New Fairfield School this week.
The Wingman program is part of Dylan’s Wings of Change, started in 2013 by Ian and Nicole Hockley to honor their son Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shootings. Autism is the focus of the foundation.
Erin and Jeromie Schumacher had started a sports based program promoting peer recognition, working together, and inclusion of children with different levels of ability. They joined with the Hockleys to replicate the model in the classroom. The Wingman program was then launched in three Connecticut middle schools.
“Students leading students is a very important part,” Hockley said.