We will provide a safety net in our community for anyone who experiences violence or abuse for as long as there is a need - but real change begins with education. Here is how we do it!
We teach our youngest community members how to stay safe if the adults around them are fighting. In simple concepts and easy steps, we teach them the difference between arguing and fighting, and that it's never their fault when adults fight. We explain never to get in the middle. Lastly, we have them visualize at least two safe adults they could tell.
These workshops are critical for all children. Even if they live in a home where their parents don't fight, they might need these skills if they are on a sleepover. And the workshops open doors for teachers and social workers into the home life of our students - in every workshop, anywhere from one to five children tell stories of violence in their homes. These programs help us identify and help our at vulnerable community members.
We work in upper elementary and middle schools to teach respect and kindness in relationships between classmates. We explore what is - and what isn't - bullying, and the different ways people can bully. Then, we provide the students with simple strategies they can use to stop bullying when they see it. Lastly, we have them practice those techniques in skits that they design. This practice cements their learning, and gives them the chance to find an intervention style that works for them.
We teach students what healthy relationships look like - before they start dating. Our programs start in middle school, and become more sophisticated as they reach into high school. Younger students explore concepts such as trust, communication, and safety in the context of relationships with their parents, teachers, coaches, and friends. We move on to dating relationships, teen dating violence, social norms, and the challenges of technology.
All students learn not only what unhealthy relationships look like - most of them can tell you that before we start - but what they want in a healthy relationship!
We believe that for every act of violence - bullying, sexual assault, stalking, teen dating abuse - there is a moment when someone can step in to stop it. This is the principle behind Green Dot.
We are currently bringing Green Dot to all our area high schools. We teach students how to recognize an act of violence as it - or before it - happens. We teach them to check in with each other when they are concerned. And we teach them simple techniques that they can use to intervene for a friend, loved one, or even a stranger.