SAVE encourages positive peer influences within the school and community through violence prevention efforts.
Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) can be modified to suit the needs of school and community groups. The SAVE Essentials Manual offers step-by-step procedures for the implementation of SAVE as a chapter or into a total school or classroom setting. SAVE is currently being implemented in elementary, middle and high schools, on college campuses, in youth-serving organizations, at community centers, and in faith based organizations.
Young students at the elementary level are primarily engaged in the educational component of the SAVE program. Classroom teachers, assistants, parent volunteers, mentors, or older SAVE students teach lesson plans from the SAVE Essentials Manual to entire classes or grades within the school. Conflict management is one of the more popular Essential Elements focused on at this level. For primary grade level students, there is the Ernie the Elephant Coloring Book series designed by students. Ernie helps young students learn about weapons safety, communication, and respect towards others. Service projects are conducted at the elementary level either by a class, grade level, or the entire school. Such projects have included: collecting canned food, creating posters or drawings with nonviolent themes and displaying them in their school and community, or establishing a peer mediation program involving students to aid in conflicts with their peers and younger students.
With students progressing into adolescence comes new challenges within their young lives and within their school. Many SAVE chapters at the middle school level expand upon the Conflict Management Essential Element adding in educational lesson plans from the SAVE Essentials Manual on “Bullying Prevention”, “How to be a Good Listener”, as well as continuing or establishing peer mediation programs. Crime Prevention lesson plans also become more of a focus as young teens are faced with many difficult decisions and are more susceptible than any other segment of the population to be victimized by crime. To some degree these lesson plans are infused in the classroom setting, but often times SAVE has become a voluntary club in which students can chose to participate. Therefore, these topics and lesson plans may be covered during meetings. Service projects become more advanced in planning and purpose, but often still involve the entire school, specific class or grade level. Examples of service projects at the middle school level include school or community beautification projects, hosting blood drives, or taking on a local school or community problem, such as vandalism or theft, and conducting awareness campaigns.
At the high school level, teens are well on their way to becoming responsible, young citizens. Typically SAVE is established as an extracurricular club in which students choose to participate. High school SAVE chapters are very involved in the service project element of the program, and traditionally outreach to their peers in awareness activities, rallies, and pledge signings for nonviolence. These events aid in establishing chapter members as positive role models for others. Issues at this level are quite diverse ranging from physical and verbal assaults, relationship violence, bullying and harassment, and teen driving safety to substance abuse related problems. SAVE chapters assess the needs and issues of their school and community and address them in their chapter activities and projects. Many high school students involved in SAVE often reach beyond their school level and present information, skits and role plays to youth at elementary and middle school levels. Service projects at the high school level include: conducting peer surveys on school and community safety concerns and publicizing these to their peers, family, and community members; hosting “stop the violence” concerts or jams with local musical or performing artists; or possibly even adopting a local shelter, family, or community center to aid or support.
SAVE has much to offer for college campuses. As more and more young people become involved in SAVE at the K-12 level, it is natural for alumni to want to continue with the SAVE program in their collegiate years and beyond. SAVE has successfully been established as a recognized organization within student activity boards at community, public, and private colleges across the nation. Students seek a faculty advisor to aid them in their work of promoting personal safety, reducing violent crimes and victimization, underage drinking and contraband, as well as encouraging traditional violence prevention ideals as set forth by SAVE. Chapters typically meet in the evenings, once or twice per month, and establish service projects and awareness campaigns around how to stay safe on and around campus, as well as continuing to outreach to local schools and community based organizations to mentor youth using violence prevention information. Ideas, guidelines, and tips on establishing a Collegiate SAVE chapter are available from the National Association of SAVE.
Many community-based organizations, faith-based settings, after-school programs, and community centers use SAVE and the SAVE Essentials Manual as key components to the work of their programs and activities. The messages of violence prevention through positive youth engaging activities and fun educational materials are appealing to leaders and organizers of many community organizations and programs. Recreational and educational clubs for youth, church youth groups, and law enforcement agency programs have used SAVE in their work. Since the SAVE Essentials Manual contains lesson plans for youth in grades K-12, the curriculum is perfect for programs serving youth of various ages.
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