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Riverdale Wellness Week Women Care Wednesday Panel

Source: Marsha B. – (L-R) Pastor Kimberly Headley, Tia Tabbs, Vicky Jocelin, Dr. Arabelle Pembroke, Marsha B, Chelsea Madramootoo, Allegra White, Berenice Kernizan

Empowering children to become the best version of themselves is something Dr. Arabelle LaCroix Pembroke, principal of Riverdale Avenue Middle School, takes seriously. Children start having internal conversations regarding self-worth as early as five years old. These positive and negative thoughts shape who they become and what they choose to believe about themselves as they grow older. As a principal, Dr. Pembroke looks for various ways to equip young adults with strategies to navigate middle school and beyond.

During RAMS Wellness Week, Riverdale Avenue Middle School hosted a variety of activities, including panel discussions engaging parents, teachers, and students on the best ways to manage their mental, emotional, and physical health. The week-long fete featured Manly Monday, a men’s panel discussion focusing on health and wellness; Talk that Talk Tuesday, a student government roundtable discussion on healthy food and drink options; Women Care Wednesday, a women’s panel discussion focusing on health and wellness; Health is Wealth Thursday, a health fair for the RAMS community; and Fitness Friday, a day of fitness featuring soca aerobics, yoga, and smoothies.

Riverdale Avenue Middle School’s Women Care Wednesday panel

Riverdale Wellness Week Women Care Wednesday Panel

Source: Marsha B. / Marsha B.

Dr. Pembroke selected five influential women in the health and wellness space to extend their voices to the Riverdale Avenue Middle School students for the Women Care Wednesday panel. That day, Allegra White, Doula and owner of MILF-Made; Tia Tabbs, certified body sculptor and business owner; Chelsea Madramootoo, health educator; Berenice Kernizan, coordinator at By My Side Doula Services; and Pastor Kimberly Headley, held an insightful conversation about peer pressure, managing depression and anxiety, and strategies to diffusing girl drama. I had the pleasure of moderating the discussion with Vicky Jocelin, owner of Reform Consulting.

As a collective, we created a safe space for students to ask questions without judgment, recognizing a lot of the issues middle schoolers deal with today are things each panelist has had to overcome at some point in their lives. From dealing with the loss of loved ones and strategies to making friends and building substantial relationships to navigating social media dramas and appropriate ways to handle conflicts, we did a deep dive into the qualms of pre-teens and how to overcome them. The discussion concluded with a brief Q&A session, where students asked for advice regarding  their current hurdles.

Students mustered up the courage to hop on the mic and ask, “How can I prepare for High School?” or “How can I stop negative self-talk?” Each panelist removed the bricks students were carrying on their backs with every word used to pour into them. The Women Care Wednesday panel proves that young adults have questions, and if we remove judgment and extend a double dose of grace to them, they’ll be able to hear us.


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Riverdale Avenue Middle School Is Providing A Safe Space For Pre-Teens To Discover Themselves  was originally published on