That is what prompted officials at Weaver Elementary School to establish an annual event to educate young students on these troubling issues. When the Junior League of Anniston-Calhoun County (JLAC) adopted the school, members were excited to help with the cause by sponsoring a “Love is Louder” lock-in for all 5th- and 6th- grade girls.
Love is Louder is a national movement created by the JED Foundation, MTV and actress Brittany Snow. Its goal is to raise the volume on messages of love and support, making them louder than any negative voices a young person may encounter.
The lock-in was a fun-filled event that included guest speakers, movies, skits, fitness lessons (including a Zumba class) and the making of friendship bracelets.
“These young ladies realized just how important it is to build each other up — not only for others, but also for themselves,” said Maggie Beam, president of the provisional class. “By the end of the night they were teaching me what it meant to let love overcome obstacles.”
School principal Summer Davis and counselor Tawana Bonds were equally impressed.
“The 5th-grade girls are already asking about next year,” Bonds said. “They received so much from that night, much more than we ever expected.”
The event was also chaperoned by Assistant Principal Amber Ray and teachers Emily Reece and Kay Adams.
In addition to the lock-in, JLAC members are spearheading the establishment of an outdoor classroom at the school. Located on school grounds, the area should be completed by March and will include a garden, music station, gazebo, butterfly exhibit and water features.
“It will provide hands-on learning in a fun and exciting environment,” said Kristi Yates, vice president of Community Services.
To further promote JLAC’s mission of healthy lifestyle choices in children, members will be working with school officials to implement “The Gotcha Program.” According to Yates, students who are “caught” doing something good will be recognized for their positive behavior.
JLAC volunteers are also promoting reading within the classroom by working one-on-one with students as part of the school’s Title One program requirements. Lana Hurst, the League’s vice president of finance, finds such work rewarding.
“The kids’ innocence and trust is refreshing,” she said. “They blush when they stumble over words and beam when you tell them they did a great job.
JLAC adopted Weaver Elementary through the Chamber of Commerce’s Adopt-a-School program. If your business or organization would like more information about adopting an area school, contact Haley Gregg at 256-237-3536. And if your business is interested in becoming a community partner with the JLAC, visit jlanniston.org
SAVE THE DATE
JSU’s art department proudly presents “Prof’s Pic,” an exhibit of student work from the fall 2013 semester. Artwork will be on display between now and Jan. 31 at Hammond Hall Art Gallery on the JSU campus between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, contact Jane Greene at 256-782-5626.