Making A Difference: Plymouth Elementary Spirit Team

A young boy and a senior citizen playing Connect FourAt Plymouth Elementary (PE) Spirit Team's first volunteer night, 25 third graders visited Brightview Senior Living Center in East Norriton to decorate cupcakes and enjoy games with some of the residents.

"We got to play games with everyone, and I met new people," said Zoe Nguyen, a member of the PE Spirit Team. "I liked making the cupcakes with everybody."

The retirement community provided the cupcakes, and the children brought a number of classic games to play, including Connect Four, Candyland and Uno.

"I got to make cupcakes, play some games with the elders and have fun," said third grader Jack Jingoli. "My favorite part was probably winning Connect Four."

Spreading kindness

The PE Spirit Team is open to all students in third grade and meets monthly before school. The club's slogan is "spreading kindness in our school and school community." In addition to participating in the occasional after school programs like the visit to the retirement community, the group makes posters reinforcing "Panda Traits" (Trustworthy, Respectful, Responsible, Fair, Caring and Cooperative) and runs drives that benefit Warming Philly, Cradles to Crayons, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and other organizations. Currently, the club is fundraising for hurricane help to support two different schools: one in Texas and the other on the island of St. Thomas, where the principal is the grandmother of one of the PE students.

A long table with several small groups of seniors and children playing games.

"It's fun, because you get to help other people and help your community," said PE Spirit Team member Maddie Swift.

"A lot of people come to us with ideas, which is nice," added Lauren Smith, a third grade teacher and co-sponsor of the Spirit Team. "We're filled with things to do each year, which is great."

Making connections

For "Giving Thanks with Plymouth Elementary" at the Brightview Senior Living Center, the PE Spirit Team was joined by seventh grade girls from Girl Scout 7298 — former PE students who were looking for an opportunity to give back to their elementary school — who helped provided extra hands with the cupcakes, games and clean up. But the PE Spirit Team and the Girls Scouts weren't the only ones with a connection to the school.

"My father was on the school board when they built Plymouth Elementary School," said Brightview resident Connie Ferraioli. "So when they said Plymouth, I thought, 'Oh, I have to go!'"

While this was the PE Spirit Team's first visit to Brightview Senior Living Center, the club sponsors believe it won't be their last.

"The kids had a great time, and the residents really seemed to enjoy it, as well," said Mrs. Smith. "We received so many compliments how amazing our kids are, how respectful, how polite. They were just so excited to be around children. I think that was the best part of it all."

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Three students and a senior play uno while a Girl Scout watches.

Making A Difference: Plymouth Elementary Spirit Team
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