“This year was full of great community service experiences. The Bigger Picture Club sponsored a class buyout to raise money for The Nurturing Center in Columbia. We ended up raising over $2,000 for the center. We handed out candy and information at Airport High School’s Trick or Treat Lane to almost 1,000 kids and parents. We also participated in the Sticker Shock campaign with our local law enforcement. Lastly, we built and painted a Little Free Library to be placed in the detox facility at the LRADAC Columbia campus.“ Zack Rivers, M. Ed.
Mr. Rivers is a teacher at Airport High School and an advisor for the Rise Above It: Lexington Two Community Coalition (RAI) Airport High School club also named, The Bigger Picture Club. This is one of many RAI clubs that help students to develop leadership and community building skills while promoting substance use prevention messaging. I asked him about some of the highlights for the club this past year.
We got a chance to celebrate their accomplishments as we visited the students just before their school year came to a close and the summer fun commenced. We always treasure the opportunity to meet with the students of RAI. We love to hear from them, learn about their challenges and successes, learn about their future plans, discover their likes and dislikes, and just bond over hot slices of greasy pizza. Truly, without our students the coalition would not exist and it is my honor to report some of the wonderful things that these bright young minds have accomplished in our community over the 2017-2018 school year.
Our Brooklyn-Cayce group was actively working on strategies to recruit new members. They worked on campus PSA’s, planned to participate in the December parade events, participated in full force in prom season campaigns for Out of Their Hands like Prom Promise and Project Sticker Shock, and they even passed out prom promise wrist bands as a reminder of their pledge to be substance free during the prom festivities.
Busbee Creative Arts Academy showed their creativity and compassion when they volunteered for a local soup kitchen and made banners and sidewalk designs. They were able to learn more about serving their community and some of the needs that our community has by serving poor, homeless, and elderly individuals at the soup kitchen. Their banners and sidewalk designs where used to spread prevention messaging around their campus.
Northside Middle school set their sights on recruitment. They made plans to build their club by creating invites. They designed and implemented a flyer campaign that used sweet treats to entice other young people to participate in their events. Then they took the opportunity to teach information about the dangers of smoking and vaping to those students who decided to join the club because of their campaign.
Susan Pipkins group at Pine Ridge Middle School stayed busy. From pizza parties and PSA’s to service project planning for each grade represented, they sought out ways to recruit and give back all year long. They were able to plan door decorations for Red Ribbon week and prepare handouts with smarties attached for our DEA takeback day. They planned refusal skills activities and had a whole lot of fun throughout the year.
At New Bridge Academy the students have the chance to learn from mentors. They participate in a mentor program with students from the University of South Carolina where they engage in meaningful conversation and learn an evidence based curriculum pertaining to life skills.
We are so proud of all of our students for the outstanding job they did last year and we can’t wait to see what our next school year will bring! In the mean-time follow us on social media for all that we will be working on this summer. We have a lot of exciting plans!