In the Bronx last Saturday, buildOn program participants from all over New York City took over a public school to provide games, exercises, and lunch to elementary students through a Literacy Fair. Booths were set up in the playground of PS 47 for each activity, and kids rotated through them in groups based on age and grade. Four hours of reading, basketball, poetry and story writing, lanyard-making, face-painting, henna, relay races, and other carnival-like fare were offered to the students, giving many an opportunity to bond with an older youth. The children were enthralled throughout the day not only by the games but by the connections they made with the mentor-like high school students who organized the fair and the interest they took in the kids’ language skills and health.
buildOn student Dariela Colon was particularly touched by the event, as it was held at her old elementary school. “It’s incredible to interact with the kids because it doesn’t seem like that long ago that I was that age,” she said, noting that she’d connected with several PS 47 students who have the same teachers that she was did. “And we never had anything put on for us like this when I was here. So I know how much it means to them. Every little bit like this counts.”