RIVER FALLS --The School District of River Falls has many students who give back to the community by sharing their time and talents in a variety of ways. A recent example of community outreach can be illustrated by high school senior Arsenio Black.

At the beginning of last year, Josh Barfield enrolled at Westside Elementary. He was new to the community and the transition did not prove to be easy. After some brainstorming, Westside staff said they reached out to the high school for a student to mentor Josh, in order to help him feel connected to the school and community.

Arsenio Black was suggested. He was described as a kind young man, a leader and an overall great student. Their connection developed quickly as they played Connect Four, football and other games. Westside staff said they often overheard laughter during the two students' weekly meetings and saw a permanent smile pasted on Josh's face throughout the remainder of the day. He was smiling again and gaining confidence.

The connection Aresenio and Josh share is indescribable, staff said. Arsenio has shown compassion, empathy and gratitude in his mentorship, from bringing Josh a balloon and sour gummies on this birthday to hanging a picture of the two of them in his locker. It is clear that Arsenio is doing this out of the kindness and cares greatly for Josh.



Sometimes doing the right thing comes in small packages. The River Falls School Board recognized Arsenio for his efforts to become a "big brother" to his little friend at the Dec. 16 meeting. They said many thanks goes out to Arsenio for his time, caring effort and ability to connect with Josh. This has made such a positive impact on Josh's life.