An achievement of the Hope Harbor Education Program is related to the Green Dot for High Schools project at Warren East High School. One of the unique parts of the Green Dot for High School project is that it gives our Prevention Specialist multiple contacts with the same group of students. We are able to gain trust and influence the students by becoming more of a part of their high school experience. The school Family Resource and Administrators are playing a vital role in allowing access to the students, and find it a valuable tool in reducing violence among high school students.
In May of 2010, the first group of 29 students took part in a 5-hour interactive curriculum about the importance of bystander intervention to prevent violence (specifically sexual violence). The students were chosen by students and school staff and identified as peer leaders or popular opinion leaders (POLs) of the Warren East High School community. The second contact with these POLs was a "Booster Session" in September 2010. The Prevention Specialist has provided another 28 students in the 5-hour curriculum. The program is teaching these young natural leaders to be pro-active bystanders and how to safely intervene in high risk situations. The Prevention Specialist conducts booster sessions with the POLs she has trained at 3 weeks and again at 6 weeks after the initial training to keep them engaged in the project. By training these leaders among their peers, research shows that others are influenced by their actions. Currently, this is about 5% of the population of the high school. The other students at the school have been introduced to the Green Dot project, as a way of violence prevention, by taking part in a 30 minute persuasive speech about why and how they can and must all do their part to reduce violence.
"I am here because I see someone at least once everyday who is getting hurt. I can't stand by and do nothing. That is why I am here!"
The students are excited about participating in the Green Dot program. The students that were trained last year are now helping with the Awareness programs of the incoming freshman class by performing skits about each of the Three Ds (Direct-Distract-Delegate). They are making their own posters for the hallways and responding well to the Facebook page designed for the Warren East High students. During the Peer Leader training, students are asked to share their connections to the issue by saying why they are there or how they will use the information these are some of the responses:
"I had a friend who was sexually abused by her own family member. But, she has recently told others and I want to learn ways to help others in need."
"Reducing violence is very important .......... I am here because I see someone at least once every day who is getting hurt. I can't stand by and do nothing. That is why I am here!"
This program is important to me because I know what it feels like to be power-based personal violence victim. 1 want to try to prevent it from happening to someone else."
"My past. It just follows me...it never leaves my mind."
"Violence is an issue that throughout the years is becoming so common that it is almost accepted. This issue should be addressed more in trying to stop it."
These high school students "get it", and unfortunately many know violence too well from personal experiences. The Green Dot for High Schools will have valuable information for us know just how much high school students are experiencing sexual violence, and gives us an opportunity empower others as we try to prevent violence from touching someone else.