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.