CJ, Rosary Partner in Walk to the Kroc

Joining with various Dayton community partners, students from CJ and Our Lady of the Rosary made a memorable “Walk to the Kroc” together during this fall’s Red Ribbon Week.

Red Ribbon Week (Oct. 23-31, 2014) is meant to educate and galvanize communities in the fight against drugs and alcohol. The week has been sponsored by the National Family Partnership nonprofit organization since 1985.

On Friday, Oct. 31, a throng of CJ musicians, student athletes and OLR alumni marched with K-8 students from the school’s location at 40 Notre Dame Ave. through the neighborhood to the Ray & Joan Kroc Community Center on Keowee Street in Dayton.

“The day was phenomenal,” described Leslie Lenoir, student support coordinator at Our Lady of the Rosary, who planned a week of celebrations at her school leading up to the walk.

Ms. Lenoir organized fun awareness activities and encouraged parent involvement at OLR throughout the week, then invited neighbors to participate in the walk Friday. Walkers were boisterously led by members of Eagle Pride, CJ’s pep band and color guard, en route to the Kroc Center.

“We were really happy with the participation by parents and local businesses, like the PepsiCo Company at Milburn Avenue, and very proud of all the students involved. CJ really helped make it a memorable day,” Lenoir said.

Celebrations culminated at the Kroc Center, where children heard presentations from Dayton Police officers, including OLR and CJ grad Officer Karen Clark ‘91 (pictured below). Those in attendance were also treated to a special Halloween performance by Vega, CJ’s pop a cappella group.

According to Jama Badinghaus, student support coordinator at CJ, the morning walk provided a unique role modeling exercise for the roughly 45 Eagles who participated.

“Rosary students got to experience our students as leaders, and our students had the opportunity to give back to the community,” she said. “The older kids I think helped affirm for the children of OLR that this celebration of Red Ribbon Week is truly a worthy cause.”

Badinghaus and Lenoir are each pioneers of City Connects in Dayton. The student support program was first initiated by Boston College in 2001 and, with aid from a local private foundation, expanded to Ohio at OLR in 2008-09 and at CJ in 2010-11.

“Both of our schools are so invested in building strong community partnerships through the City Connects program, so we really wanted to invite CJ and have their school’s strong presence at this event,” Lenoir said.

Fellow community partners in the local celebration of Red Ribbon Week included the Dayton Fire Department, Dayton Children’s Hospital, Catholic Social Services, the Ronald McDonald House, the University of Dayton, and the Dayton Dragons and Cincinnati Reds among others.