Every kid has a hero. The students at Marysville School had the opportunity to hang out with theirs when 60 players from the PSU Vikings football team descended on the school to set goals with students in The Shadow Project and their peers. This was the third and LARGEST visit from the team that began last year, thanks to Shadow Project’s sponsor MassMutual. Check out our exciting footage of the event. The players, several of whom have ADHD and related conditions, shared their stories of struggle and success, building great connections with our kids along the way.
Students shared their goals, which ranged from: “working on my grammar,” to “turning in my homework on time”, while one student declared, “I want to be an accountant!” Vikings team member Nick Rothstein helped the budding accountant lay out a game plan to achieve his goal. Goal-setting is an integral part of The Shadow Project program as pioneering research has identified this attribute has critical for children with learning-related disabilities to succeed in school – and in life
Football player Desmoun Thomas and his mentee discovered they both struggled with a similar issue: getting homework turned in on time. The student determined that she would need to “focus, practice and pay attention” to succeed in the classroom.
After the goal-setting sessions, students headed outdoors for a round of sports with their favorite football players. Each child received a high-five and a fresh outlook on school. Learning Center teacher Janice Holstine called the experience “amazing” and said not only did the students demonstrate increased determination to set and meet goals – they also developed their social and communications skills.
The success of the Vikings experience has inspired The Shadow Project to develop a Role Model Program at additional schools that will bring our kids face to face with teenagers with learning challenges who are thriving in school.