The Community Problems Solvers group held themed days to encourage students to be kind and make friends.
Rymfire Elementary students are doing their part to make sure everyone has PALS. The Community Problem Solvers group “PALS” stands for Positive Acts Lift Students.
The group, which is made up of seven fifth- and sixth-graders, dedicated February as “Be a Pal Month.”
“We decided to combine all our ideas we came up with and make one big month of celebration to make kids feel less lonely,” Kade Manley said.
On “Smile at Someone Day,” PALS showed that even a simple gesture like smiling at their peers around campus could make a big impact.
“It felt good going to people’s classrooms to tell them to have a good day,” Kyleigh Brown said. “Some people actually smiled and some laughed.”
The group’s “lunch buddies” initiative encouraged students to notice if another student was sitting alone and then sit with them instead. It’s an act that Marion Clayton wants his peers to start to do too.
“What we’re trying to do is teach students how to go up to someone,” Marion said. “We’re going to try to put people who we have trained to do this — how to go up to someone and be like, ‘Would you like to come over and sit with us?’”
The idea for PALS began when Samantha Newell’s mother told her that when she was a kid, sometimes she was lonely at school.
To add to the positivity in the cafeteria, PALS created a “nice notes board,” which they’ve noticed students looking at throughout lunch.
“We hung up a big piece of paper under the windows in the cafeteria, and then the students were given a sticky note and they’d write something nice like ‘You got this’ ‘You rock’ and then they’d stick it on the board,” Kyleigh said.
PALS also partnered with Flagler Palm Coast High School’s construction students to make six wooden “buddy benches” to put outside for students to sit on at recess if they don’t want to be alone.
“If someone is feeling lonely, they could sit there then someone could join them,” Jack Wronowski said.
While the students in PALS have been friends since kindergarten, they know that some of their peers would benefit from these intentional, positive acts.
The group held a “Queen Read Day,” when Mrs. Corporate America Rachel Arazashvili visited Rymfire to read a book about autism in classrooms.
Marion said that he doesn’t want people to avoid others who are different than them.
“I feel like it’s something that’s helping the whole community,” Marion said. “It’s not something that’s just in the school. This is a problem around the world and in our community.”
PALS will present their project at the Future Problem Solvers statewide Affiliate Competition this month.