John Gleason and Lesley Blake are halfway into their third season of their “Respect Starts Now!” campaign and Gleason said that with 66 scheduled presentations through October and November, they are projected to reach over 400 more students than last year’s campaign.
Gleason, Wendell Foster’s community outreach specialist, and Blake share stories and provide information on how to interact respectfully, eliminating the “R” word and putting an end to bullying. Blake, who shares her personal experiences with cerebral palsy, said that several students who have been to previous presentations have approached her.
“A lot of people say, ‘You came to our school last year,’” Blake said.
Gleason said that last year, Blake was unable to make the presentations at Highland Elementary School and that the students were excited to see her when they presented this season.
“It’s neat that they connect the campaign to Lesley,” Gleason said, adding that it is made clear that Blake is there and she is leading by example.
Gleason said that they have made changes to their program to keep it interesting but that the core of the program remains the same.
“We’ve gotten great feedback,” he said.
Along with the presentations by Gleason and Blake, students can enter contests that Wendell Foster runs during the campaign.
BULLETIN BOARD CONTEST: Special education teachers and their students design a “Respect Starts Now!” school bulletin board advocating the message to show respect to all. Prizes will be awarded to the best elementary, middle, and high school.
1st Place: $100 for a celebration lunch/party. 2nd Place: $50 for a celebration lunch/party.
The bulletin board contest deadline is Nov. 15.
ESSAY CONTEST: Students in grades 6 through 12 are invited to write an essay with a theme reflecting the respect campaign. There will be two grade groups: 6-8 and 9-12.
1st Place: $50 Visa gift card, “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt and their essay will be published on the Wendell Foster website. 2nd Place: $25 restaurant gift card and “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt. 3rd Place: $15 restaurant gift card and “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt.
The essay contest deadline is Dec. 13.
POSTER CONTEST: Students from K to 8th grade are invited to design a poster with the respect campaign theme. There will be three grade groups: Kindergarten -2, 3-5 and 6-8.
1st Place: $50 Visa gift card and a “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt. 2nd Place: $25 restaurant gift card and “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt. 3rd Place: $15 restaurant gift card and “Respect Starts Now!” t-shirt.
The poster contest deadline is Dec. 13.
Campaign contest details can be found online.