Community members greeting students at Hartford’s Rawson Elementary

HARTFORD -- Some Hartford community members are making sure kids going back to school are welcomed as they start their first day of classes.

The group is called  “Calling All Brothers” and they are volunteers that came out to the Sarah J. Rawson school in Hartford to greet students.

It’s an effort that Pastor A.J. Johnson said started organically about three years ago when they put out a call for volunteers on social media.

“Saying we need 200 hundred guys to come together -- I thought it was going to the 10 maybe 15 even 5,” Johnson said.

He said, to his surprise, 200 men did show up. Many of them have even continued to show up each year to greet students at area schools.

“African American usually men are not seen as supportive of education, or even supportive of their students, so this is a good way to showcase that they are concerned, and they are involved,” M.L. King Middle School Principal said.

The group will continue to do the greeting at different schools throughout the week. They also run a mentorship program throughout the year.