Eddie Coker’s Wezmore Project comes to RISD today/Friday

To close out Kindness Week, Richardson ISD students in grades 4, 5, 9 and 10 will travel to Pearce High School on Friday for a performance by local music celebrity Eddie Coker. The interactive media show focuses on teaching students, families and educators about emotional intelligence and is designed to help them navigate feelings, relationships and pressures of teen and pre-teen years.

The hour-long 10 a.m. performance is tailored to 4th and 5th graders, while the 2 p.m. show is geared to students in 9th and 10th grades.

Sponsors of the event, including the Richardson YMCA, RISD Community Partners and the Wezmore Project, say the emotional health of students is worthy of attention. About 157,000 American youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries each year, they say, and 17% report being bullied 2-3 times within a semester – a number which grows to 43% in teen years through cyberbullying. Fast-paced competition is blamed for symptoms of burnout in kids as young as 10 or 11, and about 25% of elementary school bullies will have a criminal record by age 30.

Kindness Week began in 2017 as a student-led initiative and has grown each year. All week, kids throughout the district have engaged in activities promoting tolerance, patience and support of their fellow students, and they’ve shared their stories on social media with the hashtags #KindnessWeek and #RISDKindness.

Eddie Coker grew up in Highland Park and graduated from SMU. He’s the founder of Wezmore, and he’s frequently seen performing at the Dallas Arboretum and other local venues.