Wes Elifritz, the athletic director at Westerville North High School, was named a Kindness Hero by Neighbor2Neighbor, a grassroots initiative focused on fostering communication and building trust and relationships within the Westerville community.
The group honored Elifritz for his work with Westerville alumni in launching the ONE Westerville scholarship for black students at the district’s high schools starting with the Class of 2021.
“It’s humbling and I definitely accept it on behalf of all our students in North and the young men and women who put together this group,” Elifritz said. “These are really special kids I have been blessed to have gotten to know. I appreciate their direction and their willingness to step out and do something positive. They are creating a legacy for themselves that is going to last a long, long time.”
He said the project started when a recent Westerville graduate approached him following protests across the country over the death of George Floyd in May. She was part of an alumni group who was looking for a positive response in Westerville to the civil unrest.
With Elifritz, the group wanted to raise awareness about equality for all students in Westerville regardless of skin color and worked with local vendor Megan Lee Designs to create a T-shirt that helped capture their message. As sales started to grow, the group decided to create a scholarship for black students in the district with a recipient at each of the high schools. Details of the scholarship, including eligibility requirements and how students can apply, are still being finalized.
So far, the group has raised $2,500 and Elifritz is working with Neighborhood Bridges, a Westerville nonprofit organization that advocates and provides support for families in need, to continue raising funds for the ONE Westerville scholarship so it will support students beyond 2021.
Contact Elifritz at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the ONE Westerville scholarship or visit the Westerville North Athletic Department Office to purchase a shirt.