EW students teach how to ‘Learn to Love’

Unlike other tutoring services where the adults help the children, the leaders here would be the kids themselves.
By Pat Ratliff | Jul 19, 2012
Lenara Litmanovich, Sophie Shanshory, Carson Lipscomb, Kianna Dizon and Djenne Dickens make up the management team of the “Learn to Love” program.

Five Edmonds-Woodway High School students have come up with a program that will make the world a better place, starting right here in Edmonds.

“Learn to Love” is a nonprofit program developed by Lenara Litmanovich, an Edmonds-Woodway senior and full-IB diploma candidate. The program is designed to teach culture awareness and acceptance within the community.

“Our mission is to reach young students and broaden their worldly horizons in fun, interactive ways that would expose them to various cultures and prospects,” Lenara said. “We hope that this will limit any discrimination toward others, and increase acceptance throughout the community, nation and the world.”

“Learn to Love” is a student-run Washington Global Education Organization, with a management team consisting of Lenara and four other EW students.

“We help children and then help them help each other,” she said. “We hope children will gain confidence and broaden their visions, and hope to prevent discrimination and show kids their potential.”

Lenara immigrated to the United States when she was 5 years old from St. Petersburg, Russia, and knows personally how hard it is to blend into a new culture.

“With this program, I hope that children will be more prone to be themselves and find confidence,” she said. “To ensure the success of this goal, we also include an educational segment in literature and mathematics in which peers help each other to build confidence and enrich their own skills and self-esteem.”

The “Learn to Love” program has a lot going for it as a student-run program that helps younger children.

Part of the program has children help each other in math and English. There are other portions dealing with cultures.

The group will invite speakers from other cultures to come in to speak to the children and maybe even involve them in their cultures in a small way.

“For instance, let’s say we had an Italian speaker,” Lenara said. “We might have pasta at the same time.”

Lenara hopes this larger worldview will help children learn to value themselves and everyone around them more.

“We’re a blend of everything,” she said. “I always hear the negative of everything. People don’t appreciate what they have – the global outlook.

“I want to encourage people to accept other cultures. We should open our eyes to the world even if we’re never going to go there to see it ourselves.”

The group’s vision statement reflects this worldview while striving for some lofty goals: “Learn to Love hankers after a more positive accepted worldview that is free of hostility. While we understand that it will be a slow process, we aspire to end racism and halt violence throughout the community, nation and the world.”

The project will work like this – for two hours every week, a group of selected individuals (mostly elementary school children) will meet and work together in innovative ways.

The first hour would focus on math or English, alternating every week.

Unlike other tutoring services where the adults help the children, the leaders here would be the kids themselves.

“As we see it, every child is better at a certain subject than another – those who need help will find it among their peers,” Lenara said. “Having taken a test to examine their strengths, the children would be paired up with one another accordingly to create peer relationships that would establish an intrinsic motivator for everyone.”

The second hour would pertain to worldly knowledge.

Each week they will vary cultures to educate the students on races they might not have even known before, immersing them in a “sphere of a certain culture via entertaining activities accordingly to the culture.”

For instance, if dance was the main aspect of a given culture, they will have dance lessons for the students. The next week, art might be the best to explain culture.

The “Learn to Love” management team consists of Lenara Litmanovich, Sophie Shanshory, Carson Lipscomb, Kianna Dizon and Djenne Dickens.

They are now actively looking for parents to sign their kids up for the program, which will start later this fall. The group will meet for two hours, once a week in Edmonds.

Look for their flyers in the local Boys and Girls Club.

For more information go to their website at: www.learntolovenonprofit.weebly.com.

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