Characters visit Kilby Shores students

Published 9:35 pm Monday, February 14, 2011

Dora the Explorer and Alex the Lion visit Paula Perry’s kindergarten class at Kilby Shores Elementary School with members of St. Paul Baptist Church. Church members passed out Valentine’s Day cards to the students while Dora and Alex spent time with the students.

Life-sized children’s characters celebrated Valentine’s Day with the students at Kilby Shores Elementary School on Monday.

Dora the Explorer and Alex the Lion from the animated Madagascar movies visited each classroom with members of St. Paul Baptist Church to deliver Valentine’s Day cards and candy to students.

Dora and Alex were welcomed to the classrooms by wide eyes, applause and hugs from the students. Children lined up to meet the pair and get their pictures taken with Dora and Alex.

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“I have a love for youth,” said Clarence V. Russell III, who added that the church has also sponsored a mentoring program at Kilby Shores and tries to visit whenever they can to lend a hand.

Church members also served teachers and staff a special lunch complete with spaghetti with meat sauce, a roll, salad and a dessert. Teachers and staff were given Valentine’s bags filled with goodies and entered in a drawing to win gift cards and more.

“It started last year with feeding the staff,” he said. “We wanted to help the profession that makes all other professions possible.”

Kilby Shores is the closest school to the church, but Russell said that they would like to be able to serve more schools in the area.

“Hopefully, we will be able to do even more next year,” he said.

The church works with Kilby Shores Elementary through the Suffolk Public Schools Partners-In-Education program. Through this partnership, the church established the Y.E.S. Club mentoring program in which church members mentor third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade boys at Kilby Shores.

“They are so good to us, said Debbie Luisi, a second-grade teacher. “They treat us royally, and it makes us feel special.”

Church members set a good example for students by taking the time to come to the school, giving gifts to both teachers and students and showing their appreciation for the work that teachers do, Luisi said.

“We are all in this together, and the more we help each other, the better off we are,” Luisi said.

This is the church’s second year sponsoring a Valentine’s Day event at the school.

Russell said he would like to see all of the churches in the area volunteer at schools and in the community.

“It’s prime time for us to step in and be a help where we can,” he said. “With minimal effort, every church can do something of this magnitude. It’s got to be more than a Sunday morning thing. We’ve got to be part of that change.”