National Youth Violence Prevention Week Activities & Challenges

Each day of the week highlights a specific challenge to prevent Youth Violencechallenges.  Download the entire NYVPW Action Kit. The challenges include:

Create Awareness! Lead-Up Awareness Activities

Organize awareness activities leading-up to NYVPW to get communities interested and excited about community wide efforts to reduce youth violence! Use Public Service Announcements, posters and social media.

  • Register a SAVE Promise Club and empower the new Club to plan NYVPW activities! #NYVPW.
  • Conduct Virtual Workshops to share tips, lessons, and ideas for preventing youth violence. Utilize the free Know the Signs programs from Sandy Hook Promise. Review the Sandy Hook Promise Digital Training Center to watch the Say Something student training and interact with a Start With Hello elementary blended learning program.
  • Provide educators with research and project-based learning (PBL) opportunities that activate students’ knowledge about violence prevention strategies used in major historical events, such as civil disobedience. Refer to Facing History and Ourselves and Sandy Hook Promise’s Say Something Educator’s Guides with lesson ideas on upstanders.
  • Set-up visual cues in your neighborhood that remind the community about the prevalence of youth violence. Place six large 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 broadcasts.
  • Use Jared’s Heart of Success’s idea and make orange bracelets for survivors of gun violence and students who have lost family members to gun violence the week preceding NYVPW. The bracelets can be worn as a symbolic, visual reminder of the tragedy of gun violence. Post your bracelets on social channels to inspire others to engage in this symbolic activity.

Day 1: Know the Signs and SAVE the Day 

  • Raise Awareness! Let your school community know that your SAVE Promise Club is active during this time of social distancing. Host weekly virtual meetings or phone conferences and select a Know the Signs topic that is especially
    timely during a period of social distancing: creative ways to reach out and say “Hello,” strategies for self-care, maintaining connections to trusted adults, reinforcing warning signs and acting immediately when school is out of
  • Educate with Videos! Schedule film screenings for back-to-school. Invite parents, guardians, educators, and peers to view the Say Something student training, Evan and Point of View PSA’s as teaching tools and host a forum to discuss ways the community can continue to reinforce the three steps of the Say Something program to prevent
    violence, suicide, and threats.
  • Host a Virtual Youth Conference. Involve youth and community leaders to an online community forum to address
    the unique needs of preventing violence in times of social distancing. After panelists present, run a circle dialogue
    so that all participants have the opportunity to voice their opinions, concerns, and solutions.
  • Break the Ice. While many classes are held virtually or over phone conference calls, incorporate class initiations and
    icebreakers to continue to build connectedness among classmates. Use modified icebreakers from the Start With Hello program or 5 minute Social-Emotional Learning student connectors found on the NYVPW webpage.

Day 2: Promote Respect and Tolerance

  • Run a Compliments Drive. Ask students to give out at least five compliments – either by texting a picture of a compliment card, posting a kindness note, or giving an old-fashioned phone call – to students or adults with whom they do not typically talk to or to someone who may be feeling emotionally disconnected during this time of social distancing.
  • Mix It Up Virtually! Schedule virtual lunches using Hangouts, Houseparty, or Zoom with a few new students each day while school is out of session. Use conversation starters provided on the NYVPW webpage to get to know one another.
  • Give Yourself A Boost. Run a Boost Your Confidence Campaign by asking students to share what they love about their ‘Unique Self’ write it down on sticky-notes or note cards and share on social channels.
  • Host a “Random Acts of Kindness” Day. Encourage students to go out of their way to be kind to one another. Borrow General Stanford Elementary School’s idea and ask students to make-and-share kindness bookmarks!
  • Think Before You Speak. Conduct an activity to identify words that INCLUDE instead of EXCLUDE to help create a culture of acceptance. Create posters or a bulletin board with positive, encouraging and inclusive words.

Day 3: Be an Upstander 

  • Acknowledge Your Trusted Adults! Ask staff and teachers to hang signs in their home offices during times of social distances to remind themselves and their students that they are appreciated! See template below.
  • Celebrate Your Superheroes! Recognize Superhero students who go above-and-beyond to help create a positive, safe, and friendly school culture. Surprise them with a shout-out from the Principal on the school website, broadcast, or newsletter.
  • Launch a School-Wide Essay Contest. Ask students to submit essays on the topic: “I am an Upstander because.” Share on social media, #NYVPW
  • Recognize Super Hero Adults: Post pictures of your Super Hero Adults in your school and community on social. Be sure to share your gratitude and why they are super heroes. #NYVPW
  • Produce PSAs. Create PSAs on what it is to be an Upstander. Share on social media and with local media and #NYVPW
  • Pledge to be an Upstander! Create a sign and spread the upstander message on social channels: I am an Upstander in school and my community.

Day 4: Resolve Conflicts Peacefully 

  • Don’t Let Anger Heat You Up! Share Tips on Staying Cool When Things Heat Up. Mindful breathing or Mandala coloring books are a couple of ways to start.
  • Mind your Mind. Lead a virtual Mindfulness practice for your Club or class – organize a guided meditation where students 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. Calm, 10% Happier, Mindful, Mind Up, and Headspace are resources for free mindfulness tips and practice.
  • Discover Your Happy. This program aims to create awareness that happiness is more than a fleeting feeling, that sustainable happiness is achievable, and that there are a set of skills that can be taught, learned and practiced to help anyone in their journey toward happiness.
  • Spread the Peace. Use art to promote peace, just like Miami Dade County Public Schools Superintendent of Indian County School District did last year! Paint a peace mural over graffiti or host a peace themed sidewalk art event. If you’re unable to paint the mural while school is out of session, host a mural design contest and select the winning
    entry to be created on the school campus in fall 2020. Share photos of your art on social media with #NYVPW
  • Research Best Practices. Learn about the best practices to manage conflicts peacefully and bring restorative practices and emotional intelligence-boosting programs to your school.

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
  • Recruit and Promote SAVE. Reach-out to existing clubs and make announcements over the loudspeaker to increase your SAVE Promise Club membership. Highlight the impact SAVE Promise Clubs have on a positive school culture.
  • 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 creative ways to be of service during.
  • Share Resources. Work with community agencies to create a community card with mental health, suicide, and runaway resources and other youth focused resources. Share the guide on community
    agency websites and social platforms.
  • Be A Buddy like a Hero. Pair adults or youth mentors with other youth for positive role models and positive peer activities.air adults or youth mentors with other youth for positive role models and positive
    peer activities. Launch the new youth mentoring program in the
    fall of 2020 – youth and adults alike will look forward to meeting their new buddies in person at the start of the school year.