In 2009, Deanna Lambson, a U of U graduate, elementary teacher and mother of 6 decided to help the children at her local elementary school use technology in healthy and positive ways. She discovered that although there were a few lessons here and there saying ‘Don’t post personal information!’ or ‘Be kind online’, there was a huge void when it came to teaching kids how to navigate through a media saturated world. No one wanted to touch the topic of pornography. Deanna noted, “No one knew what to say. And no one knew how to say it to little ones as young as kindergarteners.”

Deanna was determined to change that. She enlisted the help of Sarah Jane Weaver and Lisa Anderson to develop a program to teach principles of media safety in a kid-friendly way. “Our goal is to help kids WANT to make healthy choices online. Our purpose is to leave kids feeling strong and empowered. And they do!” After a week of memorizing and discussing power boost messages, kids know what to do when they encounter media that isn’t good for them. They have the power over what they view, what they post and what they share.

“The response to our first White Ribbon Week program was astounding.” Deanna said. “Many parents told us that their kids were coming home and teaching younger siblings the skills they were learning from the program. The kids really got it and that was exciting!”

The program, “I’ve Got the Power!” quickly spread to other schools, was endorsed by the Utah State PTA and utilized nationwide. Deanna and her growing team have since published “Let’s Get Real”, “Be a Media Detective” and “Brain Power!”. Together they have formed a nonprofit organization, whiteribbonweek.org, to provide materials and support to other schools across the county. “We just wanted to help as many kids as possible,” says Deanna. “We provide the step by step program so any volunteer can lead a successful White Ribbon Week.”

“White Ribbon Week is fun!” says Deanna. “If you see a bunch of kids excitedly searching the school for hidden messages while wearing media detective mustaches, you’ll know white ribbon week is in full swing!”

Deanna is a frequent speaker and presenter. She and her husband Don live with their six children and three fainting goats in Sandy, Utah.

 

Volunteers

Sarah Jane Weaver

Sarah Jane Weaver has worked as a reporter and editor for the Deseret News since 1995. She has traveled to numerous nations, most recently visiting to the Philippines, Japan and the Middle East to cover humanitarian efforts. She has also written about many social issues, including the harms of pornography. She served as the research director of “Out in the Light,” a Deseret Media Companies initiative with the aim to empower and educate women impacted by pornography. Sarah graduated from BYU in with a degree in journalism and history and served as editor and chief of the BYU student newspaper, the Daily Universe. Before joining the Deseret News staff, she completed a national Pullman Fellowship at the Arizona Republic in Phoenix, Ariz. Sarah has also served as chair of the school community councils at her children’s elementary and middle schools. As a wife and the mother of three daughters, she find great fulfillment providing media education as part of White Ribbon Week.

Lisa Anderson

Lisa grew up in Sandy, Utah, playing basketball, softball and volleyball, and has a degree in Family and Human Development. Now she loves watching her daughter and two boys play baseball, basketball and swim. As a wife and mother she has always been interested in ways to protect her family from negative media. Lisa was an elementary PTA president in 2008-2009 when she first learned of White Ribbon Week. She felt prevention was key, and they needed to start one at their school. Since then she has been on Deanna’s White Ribbon Week school committee and enjoys creating fun ways to teach the children lifelong skills and to be their own filters in our ever-increasing world of technology.

Heather Cowan

Heather was born and raised in SLC, Utah, earned a B.S. degree in Accounting from Westminster College, and was a mascot for the 2002 SLC Olympics. She enjoys skiing, running, Zumba, baking, traveling, Etsy, fancy paper, and journaling. As a wife, mother, and community citizen she is passionate about Internet safety. She has headed up White Ribbon Weeks in various elementary schools and is excited about helping others implement this program.