Student leaders from across the country discussed proven gun violence prevention methods, as well as their “superpowers” for keeping their schools and communities safe
Newtown, CT – On Saturday, April 13th, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) hosted its annual SAVE (Students Against Violence Everywhere) Youth Summit for its SAVE Promise Club members from across the country at H.E. Winkler High School in Concord, NC, the state where SAVE was started 30 years ago. Students leaders, advisors, and advocates came together to showcase successful tactics and training to make schools and communities safer. The theme for this year’s event was “What’s Your Super Power?,” encouraging students to tap into their personal skillset to help prevent youth violence in their school and community.
Speakers at this year’s summit included, Natalie Barden, Newtown High School student activist, and Nicole Hockley and Mark Barden, SHP’s co-founders and managing directors and the parents of Dylan Hockley and Daniel Barden, respectively, who were killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy.
While Nicole and Mark addressed the crowd, they recounted several anecdotes of when student leaders across the country used their “superpowers” to stop violence from happening in their school and community. “Each year, the number of threats our programs help to avert grows. From bullying to cutting, firearms in school and threats of suicide and homicide, we know without any doubt that our work is saving lives for families and communities everywhere. [Student leaders like yourself] are the eyes and ears – and the heart – of your school and you are uniquely placed to look after each other and get help. Your voice, knowledge, and skills are benefiting your entire community. That’s your superpower.”
The day-long summit provided student- and educator-led workshops to share best practices for implementing, leading, and sustaining SHP’s proven Know the Signs programs like Say Something and Start with Hello in schools nationwide. Topics included conquering conflict, ways of using words to create positive outcomes, how to continue a conversation after “hello,” advocating for change with elected officials, recognizing the signs of social isolation, how to navigate change, how to resist bullies and more.
“While legislation is essential in this movement, treating others with respect, compassion, and kindness — little things like this — really do matter. That’s why Sandy Hook Promise and the SAVE Promise Club work is so important. Gun violence prevention is more than a political issue. It is a human decency issue. There is no reason for this to be a divisive argument. We, as humans, need to care about each other,” said Natalie Barden, Newtown High School student activist, and sister of Daniel of who was killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.
In addition, the exemplary schools from SHP’s national Start with Hello Week this past September presented the videos and activities they implemented during the national call-to-action week to Summit attendees. As a part of their prize package, winners and runners-up each received a stipend to attend and present at the summit.
The winning schools/school districts include:
– Madeira Beach Fundamental K-8, Madeira Beach, FL
– Bloomfield School District, Bloomfield, NJ
– St. Stephens High School, Hickory, NC
– Hermosa Beach City School District, Hermosa Beach, CA
– La Quinta Middle School, La Quinta, CA
– Seaman Elementary School, Jericho, NY
– Smyrna School District, Smyrna, DE
– Mannsdale Upper Elementary, Madison, MS
About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut. They are led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook School on December 14, 2012. Sandy Hook Promise is focused on preventing gun violence (and other forms of violence) BEFORE it happens by educating and mobilizing parents, schools and communities on mental health and wellness programs that identify, intervene and help at-risk individuals. SHP is a moderate, above-the-politics organization that supports sensible non-policy and policy solutions that protect children and prevent gun violence. Our intent is to honor all victims of gun violence by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation. For more information visit www.sandyhookpromise.org or call 203-304-9780.
Dini von Mueffling Communications | Stephanie Morris
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