Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence. Violence Abuse ProtocolDownload Our PDF The Best Friends Foundation was a recipient of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Healthy Marriage/ Healthy Relationships grant for middle and high school students. An important component of the grant was the focus on teen violence and abuse in intimate relationships. We want to expand our program to offer our HHS approved curriculum and Violence and Abuse Prevention Protocol to more students and teachers in the Washington, DC area and to extend the bullying prevention program, an offshoot of the risk prevention Best Friends/Best Men curriculum promoted in schools with US Department of Education funding, to elementary and middle schools. The “Stop the Silence, Prevent the Violence” Seminars are held at the National 4H Youth Conference Center for elementary and middle school students or on-site after school for high school students. The 4th -8th grade under-served youth are provided bus transportation for the field trip seminars, where they receive lunch and snacks, seminar materials, booklets, t-shirts, and resource information for parents. High school students also receive these items and are invited to be “peer facilitators” who commit to helping students in crisis access services in the school and community. High schoolers learn to recognize early warning signs of abuse, how to help friends and family members who are victims or perpetrators of abuse, understand the cycle of abuse, and how to utilize community resources. They also participate in small breakout sessions with information on topics such as: What’s Wrong with Marijuana, Specific Drugs and Their Effects, Sex and Alcohol, “Animal vs. Honorable”, Respect Rap video, Traits of a Leader. The middle schoolers learn the definition of bullying and cyberbullying, constructive approaches to confronting and discussing bullying with friends, empathy and identification with the target of bullying, the motivations of the bully, and when and how to seek help from caring adult and where to go. During the breakout sessions, middle school girls focus on a “My Self-Respect” activity, and boys work with role model teachers on “Respect, the Real Deal.” Through the utilization of evidence based curriculum which encourages stu-dents to think about the impact of their behavior on their peer groups and to work toward future success both in school and in the job market, the seminar provides a much needed opportunity for students to consider how their actions affect their future. The elementary and middle school program is designed to teach skills in the intervention with peers who are bullying and to motivate their rejection of the bystander mentality. 2016 evaluation data showed that 20% of elementary school students, 39% of middle school students, and 38% of high school students were bystanders to bullying. 27% of high school students, 30% of middle school students, and 32% of elementary school students had been bullied. We know that students who bully are often drawn to the use of drugs and alcohol. Marijuana use has increased in middle school. Our evaluation data demonstrated that 27% of middle school students have used drugs and alcohol. In our post-seminar survey of 71% of elementary school students, 74% of middle School students, and 71% of high school students said the seminar caused them to think about their behavior. 76% of elementary and middle school students and 34% of high school students said that they need to change their behavior.
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I love Best Friends, and hope to come back someday. ES student
This is really good, and other people need to go here. ES student
Our students truly embraced the experience, and it was obvious to their teachers. ES teacher
This program was very helpful and influential. HS teacher