FOREST CITY, Iowa – Local elementary students will now have the opportunity to be mentored by high school students thanks to a new a program.
Derek Zeismer, School Counselor at Forest City High School, came up with the idea to have high school students work with elementary students in need and created the Indian PAL’s Program.
“So far I’ve heard really good things from the high school students. We don’t have a whole lot of students doing it and we’re hoping that it will expand moving forward,” says Zeismer.
10th grader Kalin Knudtson decided to volunteer.
“I go to the elementary and every day from like 2:30 to 3 and I interact with the kindergarten classroom. There’s about 20 students in there, so usually I go in and I read them a story or interact with them at center time and play on the iPads,” says Knudtson.
Which she says has made a huge impact on the kids.
“Little kids they look up to high school kids and think that they’re super cool like you guys are awesome, you know, so I think that’s where this is a good thing,” says Zeismer.
“I have a younger brother at home and I always wanted to have more siblings so I thought that it would be a good opportunity to expand off of that and reach out to some of the younger kids,” says Knudtson.
The students receive help with their social skills, academic work and have the opportunity to have a good role model.
Which has inspired Kalin to become a teacher.
“I’ve also learned that I think I might want to pursue something in the teaching field and just interact with the other kids,” says Knudtson.
Derek says his goal is to help impact the students.
“Hopefully it will help build more positive culture and climate within our school and it will connect elementary students with high school students and just create positive relationships within the building.”