I started 2013 with a combination of presentations to both students and teachers at Isbell Middle School in Santa Paula, California. I not only had a chance to share with and encourage healthy choices with students but I also got to provide information on how to serve at-risk youth to educators. A beneficial way of creating a dialogue between the students and staff, not to mention that it cost the school less to sponsor both during the same visit. Under our current budget circumstances, every little bit helps.
I began with a presentation to the staff. The staff had been working towards building meaningful relationships with students in order to foster higher academics since school began in September. Most of my staff development for educators focuses on just that. It was an hour and a half seminar that was highly participatory. They laughed, interjected and shared throughout the presentation. After, I receive words from several teachers on how impactful and important this message serves.
The following day I spoke to the students. The school was broken up into two groups. First a 6th and 7th grade combination followed by the 8th graders. The presentations focused on making wise choices that will help pave the way towards a healthy future. Being it is a middle school, I believe it is important to make them aware that high school is right around the corner and it is the likely place where the pressures of drugs, violence, and promiscuity will confront them and their choices. The students listened attentively and absorb the words as if hungry for a healthy alternative. It was a very powerful moment that I believe will be lasting.