OXFORD — The Oxford Area Coalition for a Healthy Community works to “Plant the Promise” of a healthier and happier community every fall.
Originally started in 2007 as a part of Red Ribbon Week, a national campaign whose goal is to provide awareness about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, Plant the Promise is the Coalition’s signature program.
Now that it’s spring, proof of that promise is beginning to pop up all over the Oxford area in the form of red tulips.
Schools throughout the community celebrate Red Ribbon Week at the end of October, but Plant the Promise is year round, beginning during Red Ribbon Week. According to Amy Macechko, Coalition for a Healthy Community Health & Wellness Coordinator, this was a way to engage the entire community in the program, instead of just focusing on the school system.
She added, “This is the Coalition’s overarching campaign to engage the community in recognizing that we all have a role to play in a healthy community.”
Every fall, volunteers all over the district plant the tulip bulbs.
“We’re asking them to plant their promise to do what they can to make this a safe community,” Macechko said.
Since it’s beginning in 2007, close to 15,000 red tulip bulbs have been planted at more than 60 locations in the Talawanda School District. The promise is for individuals and groups to do their part in helping young people grow up in a safe and healthy community, while supporting their good choices, futures, and dreams.
Businesses, faith-based organizations, agencies, offices, and both Miami University and Talawanda Schools have planted tulips to support the community. The bulbs are planted in the fall and then in the spring signs are placed which declare the spot a Plant the Promise location.
Macechko realizes this campaign will not solve any of the major problems in the Oxford area, but it is organized in order to send a message to young residents. “Several years ago I had a mom of a eighth grader come up to me and said that her daughter came up to her and said, ‘Mom, I know what those red tulips mean. They mean my community cares about me.’ And I knew I’ve done my job. That’s what we want,” she said.
“Do I really think a red tulip is going to solve the opiate epidemic or solve the obesity crisis in our community? No, but what it does is it provides that unifying symbol that we’re all in this together and it brings sectors of the community together that might not understand the role that they have to play, but understand that they have a role.”
The Coalition for a Healthy Community is always looking for more Plant the Promise locations in the Talawanda School District. Those interested can visit healthyoxfordarea.org/contact-us/ and send the Coalition a message indicating their interest. They are looking for neighborhoods, individuals, groups, organizations, businesses – anyone who is interested is welcome to become a Plant the Promise location.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH