FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Positively Me is a program that focuses on helping children build positive self-images and embrace diversity.
The group has been meeting twice a month since January. About a dozen students started attending sessions.
Now there are about 20 who come on a regular basis and 12-year old Nehemiah Young is one of them.
“People who really don’t have friends could come here and they’ll make friends easily,” said Young.
Ivy Tech Nursing and Sociology instructor Marie DePree developed Positively Me after working on projects at some schools and noticing some students were afraid to express themselves.
“We try to get a little bit more out of them that what they’re giving. What do you like, what do you do? What kind of friends do you have? What do you do after school and kind of get into their world a little bit and see if we can incorporate some of the things that they like into our program.”
“It’s a chance for everybody to share what they want to talk about and share their thoughts on everything because sometimes people hold stuff in and are scared to share with people,” said Young.
“We have a nickname for the kids, said DePree. “It’s called Meraki crew. Meraki is a Greek word that means putting a little bit of yourself, a little bit of love, a little bit of your soul into whatever you’re doing and making it your own because we want them to do things the way they enjoy doing them to bring out the best in them, the positive in them.
High school math teacher Barry Davis helps lead the group. It’s open to students in grade school through high school. Davis engages the students in various activities that focus on self-expression and anti-bullying.
“They are getting put down on a regular basis,” said Davis. “They’re not getting opportunities to express themselves and communicate. Positively Me gives them that opportunity.”
“It’s just a free zone away from the bullying, away from the name calling, those types of things,” said DePree. “They can learn how to interact with someone else, learn how to get along, how to conflict resolute, not pick on one another and just really learn how to be a good friend and have a good time with somebody else who may not be just like them.”
Positively Me meets twice a month on Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m. at Dupree Memorial Church at 1231 Hayden Street in Fort Wayne. For additional information call 317-664-1491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.