A new volunteer relationship between Pacelli Catholic School (PCS) students and CAP Services’ Head Start and Early Head Start programs has been yielding positive results for all involved this fall.
Since September, 21 student volunteers from Pacelli High School and three from St. Peter Middle School , split into three teams, have been paying weekly visits to CAP’s Family Development Center (FDC) in Stevens Point. The students, who would otherwise be in study hall, spend the hour with the 3- and 4-year-old Head Start and Early Head Start students in a variety of classroom activities including reading and playing.
“The one-on-one interaction enhances the learning opportunities for the kids, which is a big benefit for us,” said Diane Shaver, FDC program coordinator.
Pacelli Principal Larry Theiss said the high school students act as role models for the younger kids. “It gives our students a chance to look beyond themselves,” said Theiss. “It’s part of character development – developing strong civic-minded students – that is an important part of all schools.”
Pacelli Freshman Jonah Repinski said he looks forward to his time at the center. “The first time, I was like I have no idea what I’m doing,” said Repinski of his first trip to FDC. “You actually get to have an influence. I’ve made a lot of friends. They almost think of you as one of the younger teachers.”
Pacelli Junior Lauren Fish said the relationship offers a good chance to get involved in the community and would recommend it to her Pacelli peers. “It’s exciting to see the kids happy and excited to see us,” she said.
Other PCS students who volunteered with FDC this semester include Nicole Schroeder, Ben Bisone, Karli Homann, Sarah Mueller, Samantha Cowart, Kaitlyn Cowart, Emma Springob, Delaney Mace, Amanda Klasinski, Arianna Johnson, Weronika Weronska, Delaney Lawlis, Jesse Vaughan, Karisa Mansavage, Julia Tutton, Elizabeth Cisewski, Hannah Frane, Nick Rosenthal, Cassie Ostertag, Danielle Luedtke, Emily Patton and Taylor Raflik.
Head Start and Early Head Start are federally funded early childhood programs for income eligible and special needs children and their families. They provide comprehensive services in the areas of early childhood education, health, and family and community partnerships.