Swap Ts in Northern Nevada Schools - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Swap Ts in Northern Nevada Schools

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Sometimes you don't realize how much you have in common with someone until after a few conversations. In a handful of northern Nevada elementary schools, however, kids are making connections right away - all thanks to what they are wearing. 

They are called Swap Ts. Each t-shirt has Velcro on the front to stick on designs that represent the little person wearing it.  There are more than 80 patches from which kids can choose – ranging from sports themes to fairies, birthday cakes and animals.

"Can I trade my princess for your butterfly?” Liv asks a classmate. "Sure."

The patches are meant to reflect their hobbies and interests. Liv is partial to Popsicles and butterflies.

"I like the butterfly because I like the colors on its wings," she says. Nick was after a sea turtle patch. "Well, I really wanted a turtle because I've been to Hawaii and I've swam with them."

While the kids are mix-and-matching patches, they are also learning about each other. Heidi Breuner Wilson and her family came up with the idea of Swap Ts.

“It started as a way to help kids have more fun,” Wilson says. 

When she launched it earlier this year, she realized swapping patches offered more than just entertainment. "It was fantastic to see what happened when the kids started swapping patches and the commonalities that they didn't know they had with each other,” Wilson says. 

This is a way to connect kids through the heart - as opposed to just texting with their thumbs. While technology is great and has its place, Wilson realized something is missing and scientists agree.

"Through verbal and visual exchange, information from the brain moves from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex and that's where you get your reasoned and rational thinking," she says. 

By getting that part of the brain fired up again, you might see more interaction, more kindness and less bullying. Some kids' shirts will look similar and others will be completely different, but they are all expressing themselves and respecting each other.

"It's re-enforcing this ability to understand we do have something we can share with each other - despite our differences," Wilson says 

Plus, by giving patches away, these kids are learning you can gain so much more.

"It helps you interact with people and sometimes you can even make friends from swapping Swap T's,” shares Liv with a smile.

Patches cost $3.99 each or three for $10. Starter packs – which include a t-shirt and three patches – cost $21.99. Right now, Swap Ts are in four areas schools. Businesses have the opportunity to sponsor a school – in exchange for having their logo added to the t-shirt.

If you are interested in having your school involved, sponsoring a school or ordering t-shirts and patches for your children, log on to http://www.swap-ts.com.

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