May 23, 2019  

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Gulf Park Social Work Students Raise Awareness for Nonviolence Center

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Members of the BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) Club at USM's Gulf Park campus participated in the national Red My Lips campaign to raise awareness of sexual violence.

Social work students at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Gulf Park campus raised $500 for the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence during a special promotion that included a mini-makeover for several male faculty, students and administrators.

Participating for the fourth year in the national Red My Lips campaign to raise awareness of sexual violence, members of the BSW (Bachelor of Social Work) Club secured promises that if they met their goal of $300, Dr. Steven Miller, Vice President for the Gulf Park campus, Richard Ladner, Assistant to the Vice Provost at Gulf Park, and social work Assistant Professor Bret Blackmon would wear red lipstick in support.

Through a mix of donations for temporary tattoos and baked goods, the fundraiser reached $485. A rounded-up check for an even $500 was presented to the Biloxi-based center earlier this week. In addition, other feminine products were collected as donations to the center.

“Our three ‘celebrity’ volunteers were such good sports” says Karen Aderer, social work clinical instructor and club adviser. “These events allow all of us – faculty, staff and students – to feel a part of something bigger than us, but also remind us of how lucky we are to be surrounded by compassionate folks.”

The School of Social Work has strong ties with the nonviolence center.

“It is so gratifying to see a former social work student who was involved in this as an undergrad now working full-time as an outreach counselor at the center,” Aderer says. “And one of our current seniors who is doing her field practicum at the center came to this year's event to answer questions and hand out material. It was amazing to see how knowledgeable and professional she has become.”

Students Lance Horton and Joseph Miller also wore red lipstick to show their support. Such events are an integral part of the social work program’s experiential learning.

“Students are able to put their organizational, fundraising and leadership skills to practice, while also actively living out the ethical principle of service,” Aderer says. “Our students are some of the most passionate, creative and charitable people I have ever known, and I feel blessed to be a part of the magic that they create.”

Blackmon says his red-lipped look was a winner. “A student told me that the red lipstick really made my eyes pop. Another student complimented my color coordination, as I wore a red shirt today. I was really proud of how the students came together and raised this much money for such a noble cause. More importantly, I looked stunning in red lipstick.” 

Learn more about the USM School of Social Work and Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence.