Miss Virginia partners with Virginia ABC to teach students about healthy choices
The Miss Virginia Organization and Virginia ABC share the combined goal of educating students about making positive decisions to better prepare for success. Supporting the Virginia ABC Education and Prevention mission to prevent high risk and underage alcohol use, Miss Virginia educates elementary school students about the risks of alcohol and other drug use as outlined in the Virginia Health and Physical Education Standards of Learning.
Supported by a $17,500 ABC grant, this school year’s tour features several options for elementary schools across the state. Schools can request a visit from Miss Virginia in a variety of formats including live virtual, pre-recorded video and in-person, following federal, state and local COVID-19 guidelines. For in-person visits, each school will have health and safety activity books delivered for distribution prior to Miss Virginia’s visit. Schools opting for virtual visits will be able to order these books (free of charge) for distribution.
During visits with students, Sheppard’s messages about making healthy, smart and informed decisions will feature:
what positive choices are and how to make them, and how to say “no” when something is not healthy for their bodies,
what it means to be a leader in their community and among their friends, and
how to identify who is a trusted adult and understand the role they play in their lives.
The Liberty University graduate was active as a volunteer with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Virginia organization during high school and college and created a program, “Mentoring Matters.” Her passion for mentoring will inspire her engagements with Virginia students throughout the commonwealth.
“It is imperative that we set young people up for success in every aspect of their life,” said Sheppard. “In addition to teaching the students about substance use prevention, how to be a leader and how to identify who is a trusted adult, I will introduce components from ‘Mentoring Matters’ as another key element to help them make healthy choices and will provide resources on how to get involved with their local Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Whether it’s in person or virtual, I know we are going to have a great year!”
Since 1953, the Miss Virginia Pageant has provided a platform for young women to advocate for causes and issues important to them. Virginia ABC has a long-standing partnership with the Miss Virginia Organization. Last year’s Miss Virginia Dot Kelly visited 16 elementary schools reaching 4,228 students promoting healthy decision making and leadership through the Miss Virginia School Tour Program.
“As educators around the country continue to observe protocols to keep everyone safe and healthy during these unusual and difficult times, Virginia ABC and the Miss Virginia Organization have also collaborated to meet students where they are with age-appropriate information about drugs and alcohol to protect them from dangerous behaviors as they grow older,” said Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Crumble.
Schools interested in scheduling a Miss Virginia presentation may request a school tour stop by visiting www.abc.virginia.gov/education/programs/miss-va.
The Virginia ABC Education and Prevention Section provides free educational publications which can be ordered online. This includes one created specifically for elementary school students, which is distributed to all tour stop participants. For the order form, visit www.abc.virginia.gov/education/publications.