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The Safe Strength Project

A Sexual Violence Prevention Program
by

Savannah Williams

on 15 November 2012

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Transcript of The Safe Strength Project

A Sexual Violence Prevention Program Safe Strength Project The goal is for youth to receive consistent positive messages about healthy sexuality, healthy relationships and sexual violence prevention. The Advocacy Program at Umbrella partnered with North Country Union High School (NCUHS) to coordinate the development and implementation of an effective sexual violence prevention program. This involved using universal prevention activities and bystander training, such as:
multiple small group sessions with students referred by guidance staff
interrelated presentations to larger groups
teacher/professional training
youth leadership development/education
media campaigns
and other awareness activities Community Partners that worked closely with youth were asked to participate and form a collaborative work group to guide the program. The Advocacy Program at Umbrella
NCUHS
Newport Police Department
Orleans County Special Investigations Unit
North Country Hospital
Orleans County Community Justice Center
Orleans County Diversion The work group consisted of
community partners from: Goal: Based on the risk and protective factors chose best practice curriculum's that could be implemented at NCUHS. Vision: to support, shape and sustain the
program at NCUHS. Rape Prevention & Education (RPE) CDC:
Center for Disease Control VDH:
VT Department of Health WISE: Woodstock Union High School VNADSV:
VT Network Against Domestic & Sexual Violence The Advocacy Program at Umbrella: NCUHS FUNDING Historically the RPE funding has been distributed throughout all Network programs in small amounts. In an effort to have greater impact the CDC made the grant competitive wanting it focused on one or two specific teen populations. Act 1 of the 2009 Vermont Legislation Session mandated all schools to implement a sexual violence prevention program by July 2011. The intent is to increase child sexual abuse prevention efforts, to coordinate and properly fund a statewide approach, devote appropriate resources and programming to stopping the abuse before it happens, not just responding to the event after the fact. Act 1: An Act Relating to Improving VT's
Sexual Abuse Response The Grant Years . . . Violence Prevention Specialist (VPS) was hired in December, she drafted a needs assessment was drafted, there was a setback when she had to move out of state.
Current VPS was hired in March, she has significant experience working with youth in the field of DV & SV prevention & was already trained as an advocate, she was immediately able to connect with administrative staff at NCUHS & with other community partners.
A challenge was the school was int he process of accredited, & given the pressure that staff was under with the end of the school year looming, faculty didn't have a lot of time to devote to the initiative. 2009 The VPS attended NCUHS Annual Community Resource Day - 161 students participated in the youth surveys!
31 NCUHS faculty & staff participated in a Teacher Focus Group.
An Introduction Packet was created for new work group members.
There were 9 community members around the table.
A Teen Advisory Board (TAB) was developed - there were five participants. 2010 The SSP Work group & the TAB sponsored the Paper T-shirt Project at NCUHS's Annual Community Resource Day - 112 paper t-shirts were created & displayed at NCUHS to be viewed by the school community.
The Advocacy Program at Umbrella hosted an Open House the VPS was interviewed by a staff writer from the Orleans County Record about the Safe Strength Project.
85 NCUHS Faculty & Staff participated in an Act 1 Mandate/ Sexual Violence Prevention training. 2011 Is a condensed version of the "Clothesline Project" that originated in Massachusetts. Anyone who has experienced and/or witnessed sexual violence at any time in their life, or if they have known someone who has experienced such violence were encouraged to design a paper t-shirt with quotes, poems, emotions, & appropriate drawings. The Paper T-Shirt Project The SSP sponsored "The Yellow Dress" performance. Approximately 800 students attended the show.
Annual NCUHS Community Resource Day - 102 Paper T-shirts.
Savannah & Jennifer Harlow presented at 8 trainings - 152 attendees on Act 1 & Sexual Violence Prevention through the year.
They also presented "Relationships: Are You Ready?" & "Technology: You Can Run, But You Can't Hide" to 177 students in Orleans & Northern Essex County. 2012 An actress from Deana's Educational Theater was hired to come perform for students at NCUHS. The play was a one person act that told the story of a young woman who was in a dating relationship that ended in tragedy. After the performance the actress had a discussion with the students about warning signs that they saw, how to be an active bystander, & how to access local resources for help. The Yellow Dress The Advocacy Program at Umbrella was one out of two programs in the State of Vermont to be awarded the funding. Even though the grant funding has ended the Safe Strength Project continues to live on through the community partners and school that it was invested in. The project has opened a lot of doors, it’s created partnerships and awareness, and created a forum for open and honest conversations that were uncomfortable and considered taboo.
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