REC Coordinator Earl Aaron: Barton Alum

Play with Potential REC Coordinator Earl Aaron graduated from Barton Elementary and is now helping kids at his old school have a happy and healthy recess!

When I think back on recess as a child I have very vague memories of it. Not because I having trouble reminiscing on how much fun I had but because recess was a privilege at Barton. A privilege I rarely had. It was always used as an incentive to persuade a class to behave. So when I was given the opportunity to go back to Barton, the very school I attended as an REC coordinator with Urban Initiatives, I was excited. I was eager to make an immediate impact in the same community that I was raised in. I wanted to give students something I didn’t get the opportunity to experience as a student, a safe, fun, and active recess every day.

Day 1 of recess this past fall I was encountered the shocked faces of some students that recognized me from the neighborhood. “You look familiar, do you live near Wolcott?” said Brian an 8th grader. I didn’t know whether the fact that some students already knew me would help or hinder me. Luckily it helped. I easily became someone the students could relate to. So my role in the school quickly became bigger. The first week I was just the guy who made students play at recess. But as weeks passed I became a coach, tutor, mentor, and role model to the very same kids I would see around my neighborhood.

Taking on a bigger role has only made recess improve at Barton and if recess is improving then student’s characters are improving. Students are not only beginning to understand the purpose of recess but the benefits of it. They know recess is a time to play games that involve physical activity and not the time to be inactive or even fight. Some students involved in sports programs after school even use recess to practice, which is encouraging to see. I’ve already witnessed positive changes in students and with 4 months of school to go I’m sure I’ll witness plenty more.