Once a month the wardrobes of students at Osborn Two-Way Immersion Academy become bright, colorful and unified, but not just for fun. Many have been inspired by a new group on campus to join together and raise awareness for various causes, from working to stop bullying to helping others understand why some kids need to wear a Medic-Alert bracelet.
The Pawsitive Lions group is meant to educate students about different topics by encouraging students to wear the color that coincides with the subject of the month. The effort was formed by Osborn PTA member Rosemarie Torres, whose son encountered bullying early on in his education due to his heart condition.
“I feel that a lot of kids aren’t being taught empathy, and sometimes kids at school can be mean because they don’t understand what someone else might be going through,” Torres said. “We want to open up the horizon to let them know what’s really out there. People dealing with some of these things are just like us and there’s nothing different about them.”
The new initiative began with the start of the school year, with students gathering together one day in August to wear red and raise awareness for those with allergies that must wear a Medic-Alert bracelet. A guest speaker came and shared what the bracelets were for, and how students can help those who have a bracelet if they see them struggling.
“As the speaker explained these things, like what she wasn’t allowed to eat and what would happen if she did, you could see the kids’ eyes get wide,” Torres said. “It makes them think and be aware of what other people are going through and the importance of some of these topics.”
This month, students sported yellow clothing for September’s awareness topic: childhood cancer. Other awareness topics the Pawsitive Lions hope to shed some light — and color — on in the coming months include anti-bullying (orange), adoption (white), handwashing (blue), birth defects (blue and pink), heart conditions (red), Down syndrome (blue and yellow), autism (blue) and hearing and speech (gold and silver).
Following each month’s awareness day and presentation, students have the option to write an essay about the topic, including anything they may have learned or how it relates to their own personal life. While Torres’ in-town boutique originally intended to sponsor a prize for the boy and girl who wrote the most moving essays each month, Medic-Alert graciously donated five $25 American Express gift cards to be used as the first few rewards.
Torres said she would be ecstatic if other schools decided to follow the Pawsitive Lions’ lead and start groups at their own campuses.
“It just takes one little person to start something,” she said. “It’s not just something we’re trying to do here at Osborn — it’s for the kids.
“We’re just trying to teach empathy and makes the world a better place.”