It's called "Magnificent Me" but the goal is to teach hundreds of third graders how to show compassion for people different from than themselves. All this week, the Gulfport Junior Auxiliary will be talking to students about the importance of honesty, generosity and kindness. Some adults hope these childhood lessons will last a lifetime.
An accident took Dwayne Grasty's legs seven years ago. Now he spends a lot of time explaining to the children that people who look different on the outside.. are just like everyone else on the inside.
"A lot of people don't realize that people in wheelchairs are just human too. That they have feelings just like everyone else," said Grasty.
Before hearing a story about a little boy who was poked fun of because he wore glasses, 3rd grader Zach Waldrop said he'd never thought about how hurtful name calling could be. Afterwards he a promise to himself be more understanding.
"I wrote down that I will not call my friends "shorty" or anything anymore and I won't make fun of another kid in our classroom," said Zach.
Familiar tales of past presidents and cherry trees showed children the downside of telling lies. The children wrote down their fibs, tore them up and tossed the habit for good.
Tara Bradley said she "learned that telling a lie, you can get in worse trouble than you can telling the truth."
Compassion, kindness, and honesty are the heart of "Magnificent Me". It's a message. Grasty hopes will grow in these young hearts.
"If you get to while they're young you can make a very good impression on them and that impression last a lifetime with kids."
"Magnificent Me" also teaches students how to avoid lures used by child predators on the streets and on the Internet.