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September 20, 2018

Positivity Project Teaches Stepping Stones Students Valuable Lessons


FULTON – Students of the Green Team at the Stepping Stones Day Program have learned that by helping others they really have helped themselves transform into positive role models.

Stepping Stones Day Program student Christopher McCartney shows off student recipients of his community service class’ Positivity Project. McCartney’s teacher surprised him by recognizing him with the information at the bottom right.

Stepping Stones Day Program student Christopher McCartney shows off student recipients of his community service class’ Positivity Project. McCartney’s teacher surprised him by recognizing him with the information at the bottom right.

That lesson has been reoccurring with each project they lead from beginning to end in their community service class where the program is housed at the Fourth Street School in Fulton.

Teacher Jonell Yablonski said her seventh and eighth grade students had been most engaged in the Positivity Project, a nationwide movement where teachers nominate students to tell them how inspired they are by them and how appreciative they are of their interactions.

The empowerment piece of building strong relationships, Yablonski said, is one of the healthiest components of the effort.

Her students created a project memo to inform Fourth Street School teachers of the project, offered a nomination form and helped developed a certificate to be given to each student honoree.

“We’ve tried to build the community within our classroom and have it be disbursed out in our school community and the entire community,” Yablonski said.

Students, such as Christopher McCartney (Baldwinsville Central School District), have gained interpersonal, communication, marketing and team-building skills, along with a plethora of other life skills.

McCartney said it also felt amazing to be recognized by his own teacher for the Positivity Project, which happened to be his favorite community service project of the school year.

Additional initiatives the students have worked on included the creation of creating paper ‘thank you’ badges for members of the Oswego Police Department in honor of Jan. 9 as National Law Enforcement Day.

Several other projects are in the works for the remainder of the 2017-18 school year.

Yablonski said she’s ecstatic to see her students so involved with a project that has taught them that spreading kindness can brighten someone’s day.

Stepping Stones Day Program is a collaborative effort between CiTi and Hillside Children’s Center which provides a structured, small-group environment that helps students overcome challenges.

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