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Meal reinforces manners

Cut with the knife in the right hand. Eat with the fork in the right hand. Tear a piece of bread off before buttering it. Always say thank you.

“The most interesting thing I learned is that I didn’t know that you are supposed to cut with the knife in your right hand,” said Sophia P. Kingston fifth grade student Amia Holloman.

These etiquette rules, among others, ran through the minds of the 40 fourth- and fifth-grade students dining at a special meal prepared by the sisters of the Selma Chapter of the Links, Inc. for the culmination of the etiquette lesson of Project LEAD, Links Educate, Accommodate and Develop.

“The best is when you get to learn new things,” Amia said.

The meal was part of an informal test for the students.

“This is to actually put into action what they have learned,” said co-coordinator Dorothy Gardner.

Although students needed reminders from leaders, they were able to reiterate many of the lessons learned in the after school classes.

“I learned how to eat right,” said Javaris Smith. “I learned about the type of food that is good for you or bad for you. The best part is learning about how you can eat right.”

Project LEAD volunteers used experiential methods to teach students lessons, such as how to properly complete a place setting on a table.

These methods have worked well, according to Javaris.

“If they just tell us, we wouldn’t really know how to do it,” Javaris said. “They show it and you’re going to remember. If they tell you, you’re going to remember, but you’re going to get it right if they show you.”

The next culmination activity will be for the heath and wellness lessons.

The program targets at-risk students, disadvantaged children and latchkey children, who are children who go home to an empty house because parents are working or otherwise not at home and have little or no parental supervision at home generally.

The program, started in Oct. 2009, will continue workshop sessions with students three times a week through April.

Members have taught students about different topics each session, such as etiquette, financial literacy, public speaking, career planning, health and wellness education, and life skills such as self-esteem, respect and leadership.

Links, Inc. is one of the oldest and largest volunteer organizations, comprised of professional women of color. The Selma Chapter is one of 270 in the United States and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas.