Sandy Hook Promise Launches National Youth Violence Prevention Week

Call-to-Action Week Spotlights Effective Strategies for Keeping Schools Safe

Newtown CT — Anxiety, depression, and an increase in suicide rates among our youth have become the top concern for educators, parents, and health experts during the pandemic. And with firearms now being the leading cause of death for children and young adults, schools and communities must take action now to keep kids safe. 

National Youth Violence Prevention Week, the annual call-to-action campaign led by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Clubs, a program from Sandy Hook Promise, is a week-long celebration of “upstanders.” Through a wide variety of events and activities, the campaign raises awareness about effective strategies to keep schools and communities safe for kids. The week culminates with the National SAVE Promise Club Youth Summit, where more than 1,000 middle and high school students will gather virtually to share best practices on staying connected “Beyond the Screen” and being vigilant for warning signs someone may be in crisis.

“Kids are the eyes and ears of their school. They often see warning signs or threats before the adults do. Empowering them to know when and how to speak up to get help is critical to preventing violence,” said Nicole Hockely, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. “Instilling the fundamental values of empathy and compassion at a young age can bring the cultural change we need to end school shootings and address the alarming, ever-increasing rates of youth suicide.”

The free online resources developed by Sandy Hook Promise’s National Youth Advisory Board, staff, and educators offer valuable tools to keep young people engaged. Activities, suitable for students of all ages, illustrate ways the entire community can participate. The Action Kit maps out a week’s worth of activities — making it easy for students, educators, and parents to get involved.

Activities include creating an Instagram photo booth, celebrating “Upstanders,” organizing a violence prevention invention convention, art and poetry competitions, and starting a mentoring program in your school by connecting students with “trusted adults.”

“Now, more than ever, students need to feel a sense of belonging, a sense of connection,” Hockley said. “By adapting our action kit to include community-wide activities, Sandy Hook Promise is helping students remain socially engaged while they are practicing physical distancing.”

To date, more than 12 million people nationwide have participated in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programs that focus on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence by training youth and adults how to identify at-risk behavior and intervene to get help before a tragedy can occur. Through these no-cost programs, Sandy Hook Promise has averted multiple school shooting plots, teen suicides, and countless other acts of violence.

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About Sandy Hook Promise 

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national nonprofit organization with a mission to end school shootings and create a culture change that prevents violence and other harmful acts that hurt children. Through its life-saving, evidence-informed Know the Signs prevention programs, SHP educates and empowers youth and adults to recognize, intervene, and get help for individuals who may be socially isolated and/or at risk of hurting themselves or others. Through nonpartisan policy and partnerships, SHP advances gun safety, youth mental health, and violence prevention education at the state and federal levels that protect all children from gun violence in their schools, homes, and communities. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. 

Media Contact: 

Aimee Thunberg | [email protected] | 646.761.5579