Baskets and books

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Chere Simmons photos.

Harley Frietsch, left, and Priscilla Granadas, both ninth graders from Lennard High School, presented a kindergarten class with Easter baskets and read books to the group.

Harley Frietsch, left, and Priscilla Granadas, both ninth graders from Lennard High School, presented a kindergarten class with Easter baskets and read books to the group.

Jacob Velez reads a book about George Washington to a group of RCMA boys.

Jacob Velez reads a book about George Washington to a group of RCMA boys.

Kamilah Washington, left, and Emely Norona with Easter baskets they brought for the students at RCMA Academy in Wimauma.

Kamilah Washington, left, and Emely Norona with Easter baskets they brought for the students at RCMA Academy in Wimauma.

Second-grade girls listen intently as Alicia Hernandez reads A Birthday For Frances at a teen-mentoring event at RCMA Academy last week.

Second-grade girls listen intently as Alicia Hernandez reads A Birthday For Frances at a teen-mentoring event at RCMA Academy last week.

Alexis Ortiz reads to two second-graders at the RCMA Academy in Wimauma. Ortiz is a freshman at Lennard High School.

Alexis Ortiz reads to two second-graders at the RCMA Academy in Wimauma. Ortiz is a freshman at Lennard High School.

Priscilla Granadas, a freshman at Lennard High School, reads a Winnie The Pooh classic to a group of kindergarteners during a teen-mentoring event at RCMA last week.

Priscilla Granadas, a freshman at Lennard High School, reads a Winnie The Pooh classic to a group of kindergarteners during a teen-mentoring event at RCMA last week.

Lennard High School ninth-graders took on the role of teen mentors last week while visiting Redlands Christian Migrant Association (RCMA) Academy in Wimauma. Students brought Easter baskets for each child in three classes and also read books to the children.

RCMA Wimauma Academy and the next-door RCMA Leadership Academy are Hillsborough County charter schools operated by the nonprofit RCMA. The Immokalee-based RCMA also operates 69 child-care centers in 21 Florida counties, including the Bethel Child Development Center on the Academy’s campus.

The Lennard students are in the S.P.A.R.K. Teen Mentoring program, available through The Cypress Initiative. The program aims to empower students to achieve greater academic success, create a healthier state of mind and develop a deeper sense of community. The program is based on the teachings of Sydney Banks, who first articulated three universal principles: mind, thought and consciousness.

Parents can visit www.cypressinitiative.org to explore the group’s mission, or visit www.sparkcurriculum.org for a preview of the curriculum being used.

The RCMA project is one of four that S.P.A.R.K. students are doing in the South Shore area this year. They are made possible in part by a grant from the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, South Shore Council.

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