Working together, Ridgemont FFA members developed activities to help in the prevention of violence.
Some studies show that as many as one in four children are being bullied at school. It’s not always easy standing up to a bully. That’s why Ridgemont FFA in Ridgeway, Ohio, decided to do something about it.
“A student’s sister had been getting bullied at school,” chapter president Malana Ledley explained. “We researched what we could do about it in our school using the FCCLA (Family, Career and Communication Leaders of America) initiative.”
Ridgemont FFA collaborated with the Crossroads Crisis Center (CCC), gifted English classes, geometry classes and FCCLA. Their goal was to create the first-ever “STOP the Violence Week: Students Taking on Prevention.” They hoped toinvolve 100 percent of the STOP committee and 65 percent of the student body in the week’s activities.
Working together, Ridgemont FFA members developed activities to help in the prevention of violence. During the week, they dedicated themselves to teaching students the importance of respecting one another, leading by example,
and the repercussions many young people face as victims of bullying and domestic
“What makes our activity so special is that it’s student-led,” Ledley said. “We deliver the message through our peers.”
Shawn Smith, chapter vice president, added, “A program is more effective when you have a student who is empowered, and most students understand that we’re tying to make a difference for the right reasons.”
“It turned into a service-learning activity where you get kids out of the classroom and allow them to impact the community,” Grace Poeppelman, chapter secretary, said. “It impacted our school and made kids think about domestic violence.”
To further educate the community about the problem and help those who might be silent victims of abuse themselves, Ridgemont FFA hosted a “Please Remember Me” assembly.
Using silhouettes depicting actual people who had died from violence, they told 25 different stories about abused children and women.
Chapter advisor Stephanie Jolliff was moved by the students’ dedication to the project. “At the end of each story, they blew out a candle and said, ‘Please remember me,”’ she said. “It was riveting. It’s amazing how impactful words can be.”
Jolliff said school bullying dropped 65 percent during the STOP program. Better yet, Ridgemont FFA has already begun expanding the program. “We love sharing and partnering with other schools, and we
want to share these amazing activities across Ohio and the entire country,” she said.
“Outreach and extension is our long-term goal.”
Ridgemont FFA won the 2010 National FFA Chapter Models of Innovation Award in Chapter Development.