The Decatur County Community Action Coalition (CAC) has announced a significant revision to its Role Model program.
According to CAC Chairwoman Leslie Asche-Thackery, through the Role Model program, CAC produces a yearly poster featuring high school students who’ve been selected as “role models” of their respective schools. The chosen students have been selected for “making healthy decisions throughout their high school careers,” making them good examples to their peers.
In regards to the role model program and the CAC’s overall mission, “healthy choices” relates to a drug-and-alcohol free lifestyle.
In the past, Asche-Thackery explained, the principals and guidance counselors at each school selected the winning students. The revised program takes the decisions out of the hands of the counselors and guidance counselors.
“Instead,” Asche-Thackery explained, “this year, students will apply to be named a role model. We’ve structured the process to be like a scholarship, so that each student gets an equal chance.”
Each winner will be selected by committee, based on an application that can be accessed at: www.decaturcocac.org/downloads/2013-Role-Model-Application.pdf.
Part of the application process, Asche-Thackery added, includes two references and a written recommendation from some significant adult in the applicant’s life — a teacher, school administrator or someone else.
Additionally, for the first time, the 2013 role model will include eighth graders.
“We’re encouraging seventh-graders to apply for this year’s program, too,” Asche-Thackery said.
The Role Model posters feature the winning students from each school posed against a brick wall.
That wall, Asche-Thackery said, represents a wall against bad, unhealthy choices.
“We have cardboard ‘bricks’,” she explained, “that we take to all our events and encourage adults to sign. By signing a brick, the adult pledges to be a wall and say no to kids gaining access to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. They’re promising not to be a resource to unhealthy choices for kids. We add each brick to our ‘wall,’ which we also take from event to event.”
The events Asche-Thackery referred to include the annual Health and Safety Fair, and the 4-H fair — among others. Besides those events, the CAC currently doesn’t have an adequate place to publicly display the wall.
“We can’t display it at the Sheriff’s office where we meet,” she said. “No one would see it.”
The CAC was created in 1991 as part of Governor Evan Bayh’s Drug Free Indiana initiative. Its mission in Decatur County and in other communities across Indiana is to address drug and alcohol abuse.
The group is funded, Asche-Thackery explained, by fines and other fees charged to offenders arrested for drug-and-alcohol-related offenses.
To apply for the role model program, students must:
—Be a current 7th or 8th grader.
— Be a student in good academic standing.
— Be willing to sign a pledge, indicate the intention to make healthy choices, and live alcohol, drug and tobacco free.
— Be a student in good standing in extracurricular activities, including, but not limited to: Work, clubs and sports
— Complete an application, including a paragraph explaining “What a Role Model is to Me.”
— Include two references.
The deadline for applications to the role model program is March 29, with winners being announced at each school’s respective end-of-the-year honors day.
For more information on the program or about the CAC, call Leslie Asche-Thackery at 663-8341 or visit http://decaturcocac.org. To apply for the role model program, visit www.decaturcocac.org/downloads/2013-Role-Model-Application.pdf.
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011.