GALION — On Friday, 44 students from Galion High School participated in a leadership event presented by the Marion Crawford Prevention Program.
Students were chosen by the staff at Galion High School based upon their participation and leadership within the school and represented grades 9-12.
The program was based on a visit from members of the non-profit COR Foundation, based in Virginia. According to its website, the COR Foundation strives to provide “research-based programs for youth to change their own school climate with innovative peer-to-peer implementation models.”
The foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, which translates scientific research into school-based youth programs and research-based practices for school personnel to facilitate prosocial development and reduce violence in K-12 schools and higher education.
The event was the only one of its kind in Crawford County, and students at River Valley High School in Marion County were given the same experience the previous day.
COR founder and executive director Shane McCarty is a graduate of Virginia Tech with a degree in psychology. He attended college in the aftermath of the horrific shooting at the school in 2007.
He made note of the change and compassion that was brought about by the events of the tragedy, and wanted to further affect today’s youth as a result.
“COR is about addressing school climate issues to create more bonding among schoolmates,” McCarty said. “We firmly believe that students have the ability to solve some of their own problems, not adults.”
Students met as a large group to begin the day, and the first topic presented was “how to actively and purposefully care for others.”
From there, the students split into three mixed groups of boys and girls, freshman through seniors to discuss and work out a strategy for change within the walls of GHS.
Many of the Galion participants are members of the Teen Institute organization, which is a division of the Marion Crawford Prevention Program that focuses on promoting drug-free student led activities as well as positive life choices. The Teen Institute representatives at Galion High School are responsible for teacher appreciation gifts for GHS staff as well as a Powderpuff Football game last November that was held as a fundraiser for future TI activites.
Students were challenged to address issues and interactions that aren’t positive in their day-to-day life and how best to respond to those situations. The day included multiple group brainstorming sessions numerous thought-provoking discussions and activities based upon how to show kindness along with how best to implement their ideas to create a better environment for all students.
“Students have been raised to solve problems by looking things up via the internet”, said COR Director of Programs Kyle Pacque. “We are trying to teach critical thinking and accountability.”