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Proud 2 Be Me

Washington Writers Academy

2011-12 Program Highlights
2010-11 Program Highlights
2008-09 Program Highlights

Located in Kalamazoo, Mich., Proud 2 Be Me (P2BM) is one of Turn 2's signature programs. The goal of Proud 2 Be Me is to provide fourth, fifth and sixth graders with the opportunity to increase their ability to withstand the pressure to use drugs and alcohol. For the past seven years, the Proud 2 Be Me Program at Washington Writers Academy has served an average of 15 students each year. Children participate in enrichment activities, study life lessons and develop leadership skills that help keep them healthy as they grow into young adults. The P2BM program provides opportunities for students to grow academically, remain physically fit, work with other Kalamazoo community organizations and receive mentoring from other Turn 2 signature programs, including the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and Youth in Action.

2008-09 Program Highlights

APRIL 2009

April was a fantastic month at the P2BM-Washington program. Upon return from spring break, the group took a trip to Camp Copeniconic in Fenton, Mich. At camp, the children bonded as they explored a wide variety of programs and activities including team-building exercises and horseback riding. "We've continued to build on many of the experiences the students had on the trip. We're doing a lot of the same activities and asking students to direct the group during games. This gives them the chance to build on what they have learned about being leaders." said Mike Wilke, co-director of Proud 2 Be Me-Washington.

Throughout the rest of the month, the students became masters at Derek's 10 Life Lessons. The P2BM staff was very impressed with how the students embraced the lessons and incorporated them into their daily lives.

MARCH 2009

March was a busy month at P2BM-Washington! The staff continued working with the students on Derek's 10 Life Lessons. The staff was impressed by the impact the lessons have had on the working relationship between older and younger students.

Students who regularly turned in their homework and daily work, and who also exhibited the 10 Life Lessons throughout their school day, were rewarded with a trip to Jungle Joe's Family Fun Center. Turn 2's Youth in Action program joined the students at Jungle Joe's where everyone had a great time!

P2BM-Washington once again enjoyed working with the mentors from the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders. During March's visits, they worked on team-building and communication skills. The P2BM staff was delighted with how well the Leaders and the students worked together to accomplish the task that each group presented.


In February, P2BM-Washington saw a positive impact on participants' behavior due to their work with Derek's 10 Life Lessons. Mark Wilke said, "The students are showing that they really do understand what each lesson means!"

The students also began working on their community service project -- helping clean up their school. The students assisted teachers, administrators and custodians with projects that would make the building shine. The students were complimented for their contribution to the school community.

P2BM-Washington had the privilege of working with both the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders and the Youth in Action programs in February. The students of Youth in Action worked with the P2BM students on teamwork and honesty, while the Jeter's Leaders worked on respect and bullying -- concerns that students in elementary and middle school may encounter.


January's focus was on team building. Throughout the month, students participated in a variety of team-building exercises that allowed them to work together to achieve desired outcomes. The students also chose to clean up their school building as their first community service project together planned for February.

"We were very fortunate to have the Jeter's Leaders come and work with the students twice during the month. The students connect wonderfully with the high school leaders, and it shows them what making positive decisions in your life can lead to," said Mark Wilke, P2BM-Washington's Director.

After enjoying the holidays together at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo in December, P2BM-Washington scheduled a mentoring session with middle school students from Turn 2's Youth in Action program for early February.


P2BM-Washington joined the Jeter's Leaders as well as children from the other Turn 2 After-school programs for the Turn 2 Foundation's Holiday Express at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. They were able to see exhibits, go on rides, eat great food and receive a special gift from the Turn 2 Foundation!

In the New Year, the program will plan community-service projects with the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders, and also with the Douglass Community Association, host of the Proud 2 Be Me-Douglass program.


November was an extremely successful month for P2BM-Washington! The program began its focus on Derek's 10 Life Lessons and learned how to incorporate them into their daily routines.

The children continued taking part in Tae Kwon Do on Tuesdays, allowing them to learn self-discipline in a fun, interactive way. They finished up their swim lessons for fall and are planning on taking more swimming lessons again in April so they can continue to improve.

The students also worked hand in hand with the Kalamazoo Jeter's Leaders on how to control anger and build self-esteem in school. They went on field trips with the Jeter's Leaders to the Kalamazoo Nature Center and to a Western Michigan University football game. On both occasions, the students enjoyed being with the high school leaders who are truly role models to them.

2011-12 Program Highlights
2010-11 Program Highlights
2008-09 Program Highlights

Since its launch in 1996, the Turn 2 Foundation has awarded more than $23 million to create and support signature programs that motivate young people to turn away from drugs and alcohol and "Turn 2" healthy lifestyles. Learn more »

Social Change Project
The Project is an event created to share one of the Foundation's principles with communities. Learn more »

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