Sexual Harassment in Grades 7-12

Monday, a study was released providing the prevalence of sexual harassment in our schools. The study was done on youth in grades 7-12 and demonstrated some rather startling results. You can read more on the study here. While this information isn’t anything new, it could be very useful for making the case that sexual harassment is an issue that needs to be addressed.

How can we as agents of change use this information to mobilize our schools and communities?

Inspiration station!

Sometimes I get a bit down just reading the news and learning about all the hate, violence and discrimination around us. Every now and then we all need a ‘pick me up’. A coworker here at our office found this super adorable site with free downloads and inspiration. I’ve placed several up around my office. They’re wonderful little reminders to stay positive and look on the bright side. But don’t take my word for it, check out Kind Over Matter for yourself!

What do you do when you’re feeling a little downtrodden? Have you ever gone out of your way to show another person a random act of kindness? How did it make you feel?

Share This: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking

Social networking has become the way our world mobilizes, communicates, and interacts. Many revolutions, protests and uprising across the globe are able to blast activists, volunteers and protesters via Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc (seriously, I don’t even know what else is out there and available any more). The task of staying current is overwhelming. Trying to figure out how to best use these outlets for creating change and reaching youth is even more confusing and tricky. Luckily for us, there’s a new book out called “Share This: How You Will Change the World with Social Networking”, but Deanna Zandt.

Here’s an excerpt from the Preface:

“All this activity leaves us little time to contemplate any forest for all these trees, let alone think about the bigger picture of how this technology will change the future. But here’s the secret: How we share information, find community, and both connect and disconnect will give us unprecedented influence over our place in the world. Social media technology holds some of the biggest potential for creating tectonic shifts in how we operate, and the overall open-ended promise of technology gives us a great shot at creating the systems for change. Technology isn’t a magic bullet to solving the world’s problems, but it’s certainly a spark to the fuse of one of the biggest shifts in power that the world has seen in a thousand years. In this book, I hope to show you how.”

Another book I’ve recently ordered and am looking forward to getting through. Seems my social change reading list is growing and growing! More thoughts on this books soon to follow.

NEW! Prevention Blog: opt4

It’s no secret, part of creating social change involves partnerships, coalitions and allies. We at Peaceful Paths Violence Prevention Program are fortunate enough to be part of the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV). Through our coalition and our largest grant, the DELTA Project, we’re constantly in touch with other violence prevention advocates, coordinators, directors and amazing agents of social change on a very frequent basis. One of our friends in the Clearwater area just launched their very own Prevention Team blog! The blog is called opt4, as in opt for change, opt for peace, opt4 equality… I’m totally digging it. At the blog you’ll find awesome food for thought, news in prevention, and much more from the team at The Haven of RCS. Go team, go! And welcome to the blogosphere!

Teen Dating Violence App

There’s an app for that?! Apparently so! The smart phone ‘app’ was developed and made available to help young people recognize the signs of abuse, and learn what they can do to stop it. According to the WTNH.com article, “Most teenagers spend a lot of time on their smart phones, and now there’s a new app, a ‘td4-1-1’, that’s available to help them address a real concern for too many of them, teen dating violence.” It was just released in Hartford, Connecticut. You can read more about the free download here.

Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets

My previous editor at Elevate Difference, Mandy Van Deven, just co-authored a book titled “Hey, Shorty!: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets”. It is a narrative account of how teen women of color at Girls for Gender Equity have organized over the last ten years to end gender-based violence against girls, women, and LGBTQ folks living in New York City. They’re taking the book on a nationwide tour to facilitate conversations about street harassment, sexual harassment in schools, and strategies to increase safety in public spaces. The goal is to build connections among organizations and individuals doing anti-violence work and encourage youth to become agents of social change. You can learn more about this project at http://www.indiegogo.com/HeyShortyontheRoad

While I haven’t read the book yet, I wanted to pass this resource along and encourage you to check it out yourself! Van Deven has done a lot of great organizing and work to end violence in our communities. I’m sure it holds some useful tips and fresh ideas!

Do you have a favorite book or resource addressing grassroots organizing and/or social change? If so, what is the title? What do you like about it?

Importance of Self-care

At the beginning of the month, the Violence Prevention Team had the pleasure of attending the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence’s Annual Child & Youth Institute. This institute offered professional trainings, tools and skills for engaging in social change work with youth. While some content was intervention focused, there was definitely useful and helpful information for everyone. The VP Team thought it would be helpful to attend a workshop on self care. This is a crucial, but often overlooked aspect of the work we do on a day-to-day basis. We care so deeply for the youth we work with, for our community, for the well being of all things big and small, but do we take the time to take care of ourselves? To be honest, only sometimes. The workshop was a great reminder to make sure we get that invaluable ‘me’ time. Ricky Roberts III, fellow advocate at CASA in St. Petersburg, FL, facilitated the workshop aptly named, “Taking Care of Yourself First.”

The presentation was focused on the importance of self-care for advocates and reminding them of why they continue to participate in the movement for peace and equality. During the workshop, we were asked to do a free write on our feelings at the exact moment, discussed as a group what we do for ourselves, and wrote a letter to our future selves as a reminder to take some ‘me’ time. After the workshop, Roberts shared some more about his own process. You can learn more about Roberts at his website.

What do you do to care for yourself? In what ways to you make space and special time just for you? How often do you do it?

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