During the 2020-21 school year and in concert with community health partners at the Detroit Health Department, Henry Ford Health System, Ascension Health, and the NAACP Youth Council, Detroit Public Schools Community District (DPSCD) student leaders launched DPSCD Teens for Vaccines campaign. The initiative provided vaccine education and accessibility opportunities to COVID-19 vaccines for District teachers, staff, families and eligible students 12+.
Led by DPSCD student ambassadors, Harrison Haywood, a 2021 graduate of Cass Technical High School, Rachel Kabala, a senior this fall at Ben Carson and Demitri Marino, a 2021 graduate from Renaissance High School, the students shared their successful vaccination stories. Universal in their sharing was how being vaccinated allowed them to re-engage in social and extra-curricular activities.
Contributing to the rollout of the Teens for Vaccines campaign was Dr. Dennis J. Cunningham, a Medical Director for Infection Prevention from Henry Ford Health System. During one of the online discussion on the subject, he provided medical insights on vaccinations for the community. DPSCD Board President, Angelique Peterson-Mayberry, Board Members Sherry Gay-Dagnogo and Corletta Vaughn also joined the conversation while Deputy Superintendent, Alycia Meriweather helped to facilitate it. Dr. Cunningham was among the myriad of leading medical professionals who contributed their insights to the campaign.
“We as students welcome the opportunity to lead on what is one of the most impactful circumstances of our young lives,” said Haywood, then a senior at Cass Technical High School, referring to the effects of the pandemic. “We look forward to sharing our own vaccination stories through Teens for Vaccines to help educate our friends and fellow students.”
During the successful campaign, multiple Teens for Vaccines events, were held in May and in June (2021).
“I commend our DPSCD students for the leadership they are showing by lending their voices to the Teens for Vaccines campaign,” said Peterson-Mayberry. “Their displays of courage are something for all to emulate as we seek to beat the pandemic and restore a sense of normalcy to our lives.”