National Youth Violence Prevention Week Activities & Challenges

Each day of the week highlights a specific challenge to prevent Youth Violencechallenges.  This year’s theme is BE A SUPERHERO:  ACTIVATE YOUR SUPERPOWERS!

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 activities! #NYVPW – tag Twitter @SandyHook or Instagram @SandyHookPromise to 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 — tag Twitter @SAndyHook or Instagram @SandyHookPromise. 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.
  • National Youth Violence Prevention Week Proclamation. Ask the Mayor, City Council, or Governor to make a community wide proclamation for National Youth Violence Prevention Week! NYVPW Proclamation.

Day 1: Know the Signs and SAVE the Day! 

  • Raise Awareness! Set-up a display table in the main lobby or cafeteria that promotes your SAVE Promise Club and brings awareness to the Know the Signs Programs: Start With Hello and Say Something.
  • Be the Light! Share #TomorrowsNews with youth and adults to facilitate dialogue on how to Know The Signs and prevent violence BEFORE it happens.
  • Use Your Spider-Sense! Teach others how to Say Something when you see Warning Signs, Signals and Threats.  Share Helpful Tips with families and school staff.
  • Act On It! Develop a suggestion box, locker, or tip line so students can anonymously report threats or provide suggestions to improve safety.
  • Create a Chalk Walk. Write the 3 Say Something steps in chalk on sidewalks and pathways leading-up to the school, in courtyards, and other high-traffic areas.
  • Break the Ice. Give your teachers icebreakers from the Start With Hello program and encourage them to have a SAVE Promise Club member facilitate these getting-to-know you activities throughout the day.

Day 2: Promote Respect and Tolerance: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility!

  • Mix It Up! Eat lunch with someone new, and learn about each other! Creatively assign random tables (birth month, colored objects). Register your Mix It Up day on the Teaching Tolerance website: Teaching Tolerance.
  • Give Yourself A Boost. Run a Boost Your Confidence Campaign by asking students to share what they love about their ‘Unique Self’ and create a Superhero Slogan for themselves on sticky-notes or note cards. Celebrate Unique Selves and Superhero Slogans on a prominent display board.
  • Host a “Random Acts of Kindness” Day. Encourage students to go out of their way to be kind to one another. Create an oversized poster where students can write an act of kindness they engaged in or an act of kindness someone did for them.
  • In a Flash! Set-up a selfie station where students take a picture of themselves and a new friend and upload it to Instagram to document new friendships.
  • Link Your Superpowers. Organize a time of day to form a human chain around your school to promote unity and acceptance.
  • 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.
  • Run a Compliments Drive. Ask students to give out at least five compliments – either verbally or written – to students or adults with whom they do not typically talk.

Day 3: Be An Upstander! Use Your Superpowers!

  • Advertise Your Caped Crusaders! Ask staff and teachers to hang signs in their offices and classrooms that state “I Care About You and Will Be Your Trusted Adult.”
  • 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 morning announcements.
  • Launch a School-Wide Essay Contest. Ask students to submit essays on the topic: I am an Upstander because___________________. Read submissions at an event or over morning announcements. Share on social media with #NYVPW
  • Create an anonymous Upstander Box. Provide a box where all people in the school community can drop in notes of someone they caught being an Upstander. Recognize those students with Upstander certificates.
  • Display an Upstander Gallery Walk. Research the origin and meaning of an Upstander and the role of Upstanders throughout history (e.g., during the Holocaust or Civil Rights Movements in the United States, India, or South Africa). Display your research on flip-chart paper, display boards, or school TV monitors in the school library or lobby.
  • Create a Wall of Fame. Display those identified Superhero Adults in your community on a highly visible Wall of Fame and invite students and faculty to write messages of gratitude and encouragement to those Superheroes.
  • Produce PSAs. Create public service announcements on what it is to be an Upstander. Share on morning announcements, with local media or 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 with Super Human Strength! 

  • Don’t Let Anger Heat You Up! Pass out hot chocolate with this phrase attached. Share Tips on Staying Cool When Things Heat Up
  • 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 a Mindfulness practice – 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.
  • 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. Paint a peace mural over graffiti or host a peace themed sidewalk art event. Share photos of your art on social media with #NYVPW
  • Research Best Practices. Learn about the best practices to manage conflicts peacefully through the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center Facts for Teens.

Day 5: Unite in Action! Organize Your Justice League! 

  • 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.
  • 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 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 like a Hero.  Pair adults or youth mentors with other youth for positive role models and positive peer 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.