In Georgia, there is a Black male counselor making social change with his school and community by focusing in on the importance of Red Ribbon Week.
This post is celebrating a fellow Black male educator, Ken Kemp who is a Black male counselor at RISE Prep in East Point, Georgia. Ken shares a recent win for the school and how this has propelled his scholars into our local communities to make a global impact.
Original post can be viewed here.
As a School Counselor, I realize how some things can have a lasting impact on scholars. Growing up, there wasn’t really any important emphasis on Red Ribbon Week and how drugs and alcohol can really alter one’s life. I personally have lost many friends, who were smart and talented, due to drugs and alcohol. I vowed as a Counselor to make this campaign something that will leave footprints in my scholars lives.
In order to raise awareness of what drugs and alcohol can do, I surveyed what my scholars knew about this campaign and to my surprise, most of them have never had Red Ribbon Week at their previous schools. It was my goal to not only introduce my scholars to this life changing campaign, but to make it exciting and memorable. Not only was my goal to ensure Scholars have a great understanding of how dangerous drugs and alcohol are, but to be advocates and educate other peers and family members who may not have had the opportunity to learn.
At RISE, we host a multitude of drug and alcohol prevention activities during Red Ribbon Week to get the scholars involved in every way possible. The activities range from the local police department, East Point, coming to the school with their K9 and doing a question and answer seminar over drugs and alcohol to drawing contest over what Red Ribbon means to scholars personally to speech contest over how drugs and alcohol have impacted Scholar’s lives to the Fulton County Youth Commission coming to the school to allow Scholars to wear the “drunk goggles” and see how they are able to walk without help.
These activities were all intentional to make sure each Scholar not only remembers Red Ribbon Week in the month of October, but that they carry with them knowledge that will help them make healthy choices and to educate others in their communities. Due to our great campaign at RISE Prep, we are back to back finalists for the Georgia Governor’s Red Ribbon Campaign Competition. I am overjoyed with the success we have had at RISE Prep with this campaign. I have heard that we are the model school for Red Ribbon Week and I take that compliment with great pride.
Scholars, teachers, administration, parents, and the community have all participated in the activities and have fully grasped how serious this campaign truly is. Every one of my scholars knows a drug addict or an alcoholic and I used this campaign to make sure they do not become one of those. If one scholar says no to drugs because of the campaign we have at RISE Prep, then I have done my job!
Jason has worked in education for over 15 years as a teacher, blogger and community advocate. He speaks and writes primarily about the need to improve education for Black boys, particularly increasing the number of Black male educators in schools. In addition to blogging here at EdLanta, Jason is also a featured writer at Education Post.