UNION, NJ – Connecticut Farms Elementary School students saw ‘beyond the laces’ when authors Bob Salomon and Rick Young visited the school on Friday to inspire through kindness.

Salomon, a retired corrections officer, talked with students about “Beyond the Laces”, the book he co-wrote, as a story of America’s greatest pastime in which parents and their child overcome an obstacle that simply defines the will to keep fighting. ​

“We rally professional athletes to inspire children through kindness and encourage them to not give up,” said Salomon. 

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Kindness is key, said Salomon.  “When you lead with kindness, it leads to the right decision making.  It makes a better atmosphere to learn.  It’s about respect.”

Connecticut Farms School second-grade teacher Kelly Higgins and fourth-grade teacher Mary Ellen Patricco attended a workshop at Barnes and Noble last year.  “We were lucky enough to win an opportunity for the authors to come to speak here today. We brought them in this week for Respect Week.

“Our job is not only to teach academics,” said Patricco.  “Our job is to help and teach children social/emotional learning.  To get the best grade, to be the fastest runner, to have the newest sneakers – these are not the important things.  The most important thing is how you make people feel.  To show kindness.  To help each other.  That’s something we want to instill.”

Salomon and co-author Young said the presentation engages students within a cross curriculum dynamic from interpersonal growth to discussing the writing process. 

Salomon said “Beyond the Laces” has built relationships with many professional athletes, including Don Mattingly, Brian Dawkins, Roger Staubach, and Brandon McManus, “to make a positive impact and show that people do care.​”