Fifth-grade students at Ohio Avenue Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio have a challenging goal this school year: To Make the Word a Better Place. And, through Project Dream initiative of local nonprofit See Kids Dream, Crimson Cup volunteers are helping them pursue the goal.
This is Crimson Cup’s second year working with Ohio Avenue students. “We were inspired to see how much students grew through last year’s Project Dream pilot program,” said Vice President of Marketing Melissa Rogner, who leads Crimson Cup’s team of Janie Brooks, Alex Reed and a rotating group of other volunteers. “We can’t wait to help them achieve an even bigger goal this year.”
During the 2017-2018 school year, the Crimson Cup team met with 10 fifth-grade students to help them learn about community issues and how they could make a difference. As a group, they chose to address homelessness by conducting an advocacy campaign for Huckleberry House, a local shelter for runaway and homeless teens. The campaign included a video produced by the students.
New to the program this year is a segment called Connection Time, which takes place during each weekly meeting. For this segment, the class breaks into small groups. Project Dream volunteers help lead meaningful discussion about the topic of the day. Only one student can share at a time, which helps students to feel more comfortable sharing their thoughts.
“There are lots of people and lots of opinions in the world and that’s a good thing,” said See Kids Dream Co-founder and Executive Director Laura Grindle. “Our goal is to develop the leadership potential of each student. Helping them learn to value their own thoughts, ideas and opinions is part of the process.”
Laura and her team developed Project Dream as a way for businesses to become involved in coaching students to make a difference in the world.
“In many schools, staff members have many more demands, than they have time,” Laura said. “Project Dream allows volunteers to fill the ‘service learning coach’ role typically filled by a school staff person.”
Crimson Cup was the first private company to pilot the program. “We’re thrilled to have Crimson Cup as a great community partner, Laura said. “With their company as a model, we were able to find six more business partners to lead Project Dream initiatives during the 2018-2019 school year.”