Richland One launch R1 CHAMPS Initiative

Richland One held a news conference on Jan. 10, to announce the upcoming launch of the R1...
Richland One held a news conference on Jan. 10, to announce the upcoming launch of the R1 CHAMPS (Caring Hearts Making Positive Shifts) initiative. From left are Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon; Commissioner Angela Clyburn, secretary-treasurer of the Richland One Board of School Commissioners; R1 CHAMPS volunteers Tre Randle and Roosevelt Jenkins III; Richland One Dropout Prevention Coordinator Kerry Abel; R1 CHAMPS volunteers Jimmy Mickel and Jaquan Riley; Richland One Board Chairwoman Cheryl Harris; and Commissioner Jamie L. Devine, board parliamentarian.(Richland One School District)
Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 10:16 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Richland One has created a new initiative geared towards putting more positive adult male role models in the district’s schools.

R1 CHAMPS (Caring Hearts Making Positive Shifts) will have thirty-nine men from the community who are retirees, college students, church pastors, active-duty military members, etc taking part in the program.

The idea to create the initiative was motivated by similar programs such as Dads on Duty in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Richland One is now another district in South Carolina geared towards having more positive role models in schools after the Colleton County School District started its own initiative in 2021.

Kerry Abel, Richland One District’s dropout prevention coordinator, said the program needs more volunteers.

“We want our students to know there are men in this community who care about their well-being, education, and success,” he said.

Officials say the goal of R1 CHAMPS is to have volunteers provide an extra adult presence during the school week.

Volunteers will greet the students in the mornings and help school staff with dismissal time.

Also, volunteers will help monitor the halls and assist with special events and school assemblies.

Single father of two, Jaquan Riley volunteered for R1 CHAMPS because he cares about children and loves volunteering.

“Even in the smallest things, I’m making a difference in my children’s lives,” said Riley, a father with two children in the Richland One District. “I want to be a light to other students who need that male figure in their life.”

The first day of the program will begin on Jan. 18.

“The beauty of this initiative is these volunteers can give time when they can,” said Richland One Superintendent Dr. Craig Witherspoon.

The program is open to any adult male who wants to volunteer their time at a Richland One school.

Volunteers must undergo a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) background check and a Department of Social Services (DSS) Child Abuse Registry check.

Men who are interested in volunteering for the R1 CHAMPS initiative can click here to sign up.

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