High school students are helping middle school students transition from elementary school, and be Cool Kids.
In New Jersey, a non profit organization is helping curb bullying by showing high school students how to mentor elementary and middle school kids.
Heroes & Cool Kids was co-founded by former football player Bruce Harper and executive director Susan Rudolph in 1998. Since the beginning, the organization has taught children about leadership, sportsmanship, and encouraged positive choices. It has also been instrumental in preventing bullying. Today the program extends to 58 high schools in New Jersey and Rockland County New York. Approximately 2,800 high school students, “heroes” reach over 22,00 elementary school students, known as “cool kids.”
The transition program at Rutherford High School pairs juniors and seniors with middle school students, to help the younger students adjust to the coming high school transition. The program is partially funded by the Elks Lodge and the Rutherford Education Foundation.
Other programs have evolved from Heroes & Cool kids over the years, including the S.H.E. Program, the Student Leadership Program, Young Men’s Program, and school assemblies. Harper is “blown away” that the program still thrives after 19 years. To him, the value is that high school students evaluate their choices and themselves.