The kids are excited. There’s a visitor in their classroom. She’s going to read them a story, play with them, give them a treat.
The visit is as gratifying for the visitor as it is for the kids.
Trina Salter sees herself in the faces of these Rockdale Academy preschoolers. She grew up in their neighborhood and went to Rockdale from preschool through sixth grade.
Now an orthopaedic technologist at Cincinnati Children’s, Salter feels a personal connection to the Avondale community and wants to do something meaningful to help the neighborhood’s children.
She found a way to help by participating in Adopt-a-Class.
Adopt-a-Class brings volunteers from the business community into schools as mentors and role models. The program serves neighborhoods with a high concentration of poverty.
Employees at Cincinnati Children’s have adopted 18 classrooms in three schools — Rockdale Academy, South Avondale Elementary and Evanston Academy — making the hospital the largest adopter in the city.
After learning that the preschool class at Rockdale needed a sponsor, Salter approached her supervisor about adopting the class, and formed a team within the Orthopaedics Department.
In addition to sponsoring classroom activities, one of the team’s missions this year was to provide supplies teacher Brenda Hensley needed for her students. They collected clothing for school uniforms and bought underwear Hensley could keep on hand in case of a toileting accident. They provided paper, folders, crayons and books, and at an end-of-the year party gave each child a book bag and book to take home for the summer.
As these preschoolers move on to kindergarten, the Orthopaedics team is already planning for next year. It’s a blessing, Salter says, to be able to give back to the neighborhood of her childhood.