Loveland, Ohio - The Loveland High School (LHS) gym was full; the music was pumping; the students were excited and seated in chairs that formed a circle wrapping around the edge of the basketball floor. This was the scene of an exercise that had nothing to do with physical well-being; the goal was altering the mental state. The message organizers wanted to permeate the group was powerful: Respect Everyone Despite all Odds (REDO).
“Unity – that was the goal for this event,” said Amy Van Strien, LHS psychologist. “We wanted to break down the barriers that often divide our students; disrespect, stereotyping and bullying can be lethal to a school’s culture, and this was a way to combat those obstacles through education.”
The sophomore class participated in the day long Be The Difference session hosted by Changepoint and funded through the Natalie Fossier Memorial Fund. Students learned skills to help them break down stereotypical barriers by learning the life stories of their classmates.
“In the end, it’s about communication,” said Van Strien. “Once those lines are open between our students, the results can be both positive and lasting.”