Mentoring Through Hope for the Little Flowers Program

During extended Home Learning, how to help our youngest learners foster positive connections with others is a challenge that our teachers tackled. Luckily, they have some help from members of the middle school’s National Junior Honor Society (NJHS), who’ve mentored Concordia’s youngest students through the Hope for the Little Flowers program.

Hope for the Little Flowers began by the NJHS in February 2020 during the first round of Home Learning as a way to serve our school community, by providing one-on-one mentorship to younger students in the elementary school. It was a remarkable program - because it was an entirely student-led initiative. Meeting over Zoom for ten to fifteen minutes once a week, big buddies met with their little buddies and provided them with one-on-one attention. During these sessions, the friends were found playing a game of search and find, reading books together or just chatting with each other about their different interests. When on-campus learning resumed, the bonds formed between the big buddies and their little buddies remained. From time to time, NJHS members met with their little buddies in the elementary school to continue building their friendships.

When we began this school year online, current members of the NJHS worked with their advisor, Dr. Merrian Mills, and Ms. Katherine Sharpe, Concordia’s Preschool 4 teacher, to implement Hope for the Little Flowers again for our youngest students in Ms. Sharpe’s Preschool class. Ms. Sharpe noted the positive effects participation in the program had on her students’ social and emotional well-being. “For most of my students, they come into it excited. It’s like they have an older friend,” said Ms. Sharpe. She loves that through this program, Concordia’s middle school students are welcoming the youngest and newest members of our community and showing we care about them.

Preschool 4 student, Doyun, with his big buddy, Sean.

Doyun, a student in Ms. Sharpe’s class, has enjoyed spending time with his big buddy. “Doyun was able to speak in Korean and he was so excited to do Show and Tell during the whole time,” Mrs. Jiyeon Ryu, Doyun’s mother, said. “MS student, Sean, who met with Doyun, was very responsive and replied positively to Doyun's Show and Tell."

Hope for the Little Flowers has been a great program not just for our youngest learners but also for our middle school students who participate. ”It’s been really rewarding to hear NJHS members say how much they look forward to meeting with their little buddies.” said Ella, a Grade 8 student and a student leader of the program. “It’s not just a time to get service hours - they’re building relationships, and it’s fun to see the little kids enjoy it.” Once on-campus learning resumes, she hopes they can all continue building the relationships they began over Zoom. NJHS students also plan to expand this mentorship program so other middle school students and other students in younger grades can benefit from it. 

Hope for the Little Flowers is an excellent example of Concordia students living our core values of community and service.