National Youth Violence Prevention Week

By Dana Orr – Senior Health Educator

This week is the observance of National Youth Violence Prevention Week. I recently learned of an organization called Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE). I was attracted to their goals, mission and vision because they seem to align with much of the work we do here at the Alice Aycock Poe Center for Health Education. They are a nationwide group of student volunteers who are focused on making schools and communities safer. I always enjoy reading about peer focused groups and seeing students taking a stand against vitally important topics such as youth violence. We have all been directly or indirectly affected by some form of youth violence. This group provides positive peer influences to teach and model peaceful conflict resolution, stress and anger management. As we know, anger and stress are a reality in our lives. SAVE focuses on strategies and techniques to cope, manage and redirect these feelings in healthy and productive ways.

Bully Free Friends: Everyone's a StarThe Poe Center offers bullying prevention education programs to help teach children and youth how to make a positive impact against bullying in their schools and communities. Our preschool program, Bully Free Friends: Everyone’s a Star, introduces preschoolers and their caregivers to the importance of healthy and effective interpersonal communication and relationships. Specially designed puppets explain how to recognize bullying, teasing, and aggressive behaviors and address appropriate ways to respond. Don’t Stand By: Be a H.E.R.O., our 4th-5th grade program uses an intervention strategy that focuses time and skill building to help bystanders stand up and speak up when it comes to bullying in their schools, neighborhoods and communities. Our in-depth four-session series for middle school students, The Alphabet of Anti-Bullying, challenges students to “dig deep” into themselves and overcome real and perceived pressures in order to do the right thing. Each session includes exercises, activities, and reflection time with journaling responses to thought-provoking prompts. There is a pledge at the end of all of the sessions, describing what is expected of those who have been through the program.

Check out the Poe Center’s Facebook and Twitter pages throughout this week for various awareness tools that are recommended by SAVE. The Poe Center’s website also provides Resources and Games & Activities related to Bullying Prevention.  The Poe Center wants to do our part to eliminate youth violence.  If you are interested in scheduling Poe Center programming please visit our website.

Let’s ask ourselves this week:

What can I do to promote a more peaceful environment?