National Youth Violence Prevention Week Activities & Challenges
Each day of the week highlights a specific challenge to prevent youth Violence and is sponsored by a national premier youth-serving organization. The challenges include:
Lead Up Awareness Activities
You can begin organizing many activities before National Youth Violence Prevention Week (NYVPW) to engage communities early and bring awareness to your upcoming week long emphasis:
- Register a Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club and have the club plan your #NYVPW activities! Clubs will be entered into a #NYVPW drawing for special prizes.
- Conduct Workshops and share tips, lesson plans, and ideas for preventing youth violence. Utilize free Know the Signs Programs from Sandy Hook Promise
- Raise Awareness through PSAs, posters, and social media sharing for NYVPW. Use #NYVPW on social media. Help change Tomorrow’s News.
- Visualize Six out of Ten. Place six large orange ribbons and four green ribbons in a highly visual place. This represents the statistic that 60% of American children are exposed to violence, crime, or abuse in their homes, schools, and communities. Share the meaning of the ribbons on your morning announcements or post stat with ribbons.
Day 1: Know the Signs! Sponsored by Sandy Hook Promise
- Be Aware! Share the Evan Video with youth and adults to facilitate conversations on how to Know The Signs and prevent violence BEFORE it happens.
- Learn about Warning Signs, Signals and Threats. Learn how to Say Something when you see Warning Signs, Signals and Threats.
- Identify Trusted Adults in Your School. Ask the trusted adults in your school to hang a sign on their classroom door so youth know they can go to them with concerns.
- Know the Rules. Ask your school resource office or local law enforcement to discuss with youth what is considered a weapon on campus and what the punishment is for the different types of weapons – legally and school policy wise. Create a bulletin board to create greater awareness.
- Act On It! Develop a suggestion box, locker, or tip line so students can anonymously report threats or provide suggestions to improve safety.
- Sponsor Spotlight: Say Something
Day 2: Promote Respect and Tolerance! Sponsored by Teaching Tolerance
- Respect & Tolerance Essay Contest. Have the winning essay read at an event or over morning announcements. Share on social media with #NYVPW
- Think Before You Speak. Conduct an activity to identify words that include instead of exclude and help create a culture of acceptance. Create posters or a bulletin board with positive, encouraging and inclusive words.
- Mix It Up! Eat lunch with someone new, and learn about each other! Creatively assign random tables (birth month, colored objects). Place cards with conversation starters on tables that ask questions that begin with “Would you rather…”
- Reduce Stigma. Build capacity for youth empathy, social responsibility, and social activism, by providing them with vital knowledge through the Signs of Suicide
- Sponsor Spotlight: Mix It Up Activities
Day 3: Be An Upstander!
- Start With Hello. Use the Start With Hello program to create a more caring and inclusive school and community! Challenge all students to get to know at least one person they do not know each day of #NYVPW
- Build a Team! Conduct teambuilding activities that utilize sharing and group participation to complete a common goal.
- Create PSAs. Create public service announcements on what it is to be an upstander. Role play different scenarios. Share on morning announcements, with local media or social media with #NYVPW
- Poster Contest.Conduct a super hero upstander-themed poster contest. Create posters displaying why upstanders are super heroes. Share posters on social media with #NYVPW
- Pledge to be an Upstander! Create a banner with the Say Something Pledge and ask youth to sign to be an upstander in their school and community. Explain they are the Guardians of their Communities and to look out for each other.
Day 4: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully! Sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics
- Don’t Let Anger Heat You Up! Pass out hot chocolate with this phrase attached. Share Tips on Staying Cool When Things Heat Up
- Exercise the Anger Away. Organize a school “walk-a-thon.” Have students carry backpacks with canned goods they can donate to a food pantry. During the walk, these cans (weight) represent the weight anger puts on them, and how good it feels to let it go (when they take the backpacks off).
- Perform Role Plays or Skits. Illustrate positive ways to deal with difficult situations such as bullying and peer pressure. Everybody Gets Mad, Ideas for Coping.
- Mind your Mind. Lead students through a guided reflection where they can learn to pause and observe their own thoughts as they come up, assigning each thought a color: yellow for happy, green for neutral, blue for sad, red for angry. Discuss using this practice as a tool when blue and red feelings come up. Start With Hello can help you reach out to friends experiencing difficult feelings.
- Spread the Peace. Paint a peace mural over graffiti or host a peace themed sidewalk art event. Share photos of your art on social media with #NYVPW
- Sponsor Spotlight: Emotional Wellness
Day 5: Unite in Action!
- Form a Club. Be part of the national effort all year long by registering as a Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) Promise Club. Clubs will be entered into a #NYVPW drawing for special prizes.
- Unite in Service. Organize a service project where youth and adults come together and make a difference. Create a connected community – empower youth to think of ideas, like organizing a park clean-up, or planting a garden to help feed community members in need.
- Share Resources. Work with community agencies to create a community card with mental health, suicide, and runaway resources and other youth focused resources.
- Be A Buddy. Pair adults or youth mentors with other youth for positive role models and positive peer activities. Utilize the trusted adults that you identified in your Say Something activities.
- Host a Safety Fair. Coordinate a safety fair with exhibits and activities involving first responders, local health departments, medical agencies, safety groups and community agencies. Try to have someone from each sector of the community wheel involved.