UPMC ‘Lends a Hand’: Starting School With Lessons of Dignity, Respect

By: Doris White-Hudson and Stephanie Stanley


Kindergartners at Pittsburgh’s Arlington Primary Campus started the 2015-16 year strong with a first-day-of-school celebration hosted by UPMC volunteers who participated through the “Lend a Hand” program. Each month, UPMC employees lend their hands in the community by participating in donation drives, volunteering and attending events.

Wide-eyed students saw the signs, balloons and cheering volunteers as they made their way toward the school. Diggy M.D., the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion’s Dignity and Respect mascot, and Ready Freddy the Frog were on hand with hugs and low fives for each new student. The Ready Freddy program was created in collaboration with Pittsburgh Public Schools aiming to ease a child’s transition into kindergarten, setting the tone for his/her educational experience for many years to come.

Photos with Diggy and Freddy proved to be the student and family favorite. The celebration ended with four new classes of kindergartners and their teachers running through a tunnel of volunteers.