In honor of National Youth Violence Prevention Week (April 4-8), we want you to know the steps that you can take to get involved and help prevent violence.
Youth violence refers to harmful behaviors that can start early and continue into young adulthood. The young person can be a victim (for example, someone who is being bullied), an offender (for example: someone who is a bully), or a witness to the violence. Youth violence can include different behaviors, including: bullying, slapping, or hitting. Robbery and assault (physical attack with or without weapons) can lead to serious injury or even death. (CDC Youth Violence)
How does youth violence affect health?
Deaths resulting from youth violence are only part of the problem. Young people may also need medical care for violence-related injuries. This could include cuts, bruises, broken bones, and gunshot wounds. Some injuries, such as gunshot wounds, can lead to lasting disabilities. (CDC Youth Violence Fact Sheet)
Youth violence can cause major depression, increase the risk of suicide, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse/dependence. (UNITY)
Why is this important?
Raising awareness about youth violence and discussing how it can be prevented can help you and everyone around you lead better quality lives. You can learn to identify things that may trigger violence and how you can prevent that from happening.
Here are some ideas you can use in your school or community. Share this with parents, teachers, or other adults and get them involved! (SAVE Action Kit)
Day 1 (April 4): Promote Respect and Tolerance
- Respect & Tolerance Essay Contest. Have the winning essay read at an event or over morning announcements. Share on social media with #NYVPW.
- Mix it up! Eat lunch with someone new today and learn about each other.
- Experience History. Identify examples of respect and lack of respect for others in history and literature.
Day 2 (April 5): Manage Your Anger
- Pledge to be Fight Free. Create and sign fight free or bully free pledges. Share on social media with #NYVPW.
- Perform role plays or skits. Illustrate positive ways to deal with difficult situations such as bullying or peer pressure.
- Exercise the anger away. Use physical exercise to release anger and stress.
Day 3 (April 6) Resolve Conflicts Peacefully
- Think before you speak. Conduct an activity regarding homophobic or racial words. Research shows these slurs are often unintentional when used by teens.
- Mediate this! Establish a peer mediation program where youth learn how to identify triggers, active listening skills, and how to talk differences out.
- PSA. Create a public service announcement on peaceful conflict management.
- Establish Fight Free Days. Reward students who can go so many days fight free with a small reward such as ice cream or early release.
Day 4 (April 7): Support Safety
- Poster contest. Conduct a safety themed poster contest. Share posters on social media with #NYVPW.
- Safety Fair. Organize a safety fair with exhibits and activities involving local safety officials and agencies.
- School Safety Committee. Volunteer to serve on a school safety committee and encourage accurate incident reporting.
Day 5 (April 8): Unite in Action
- Unite in Service. Organize a service project where youth and adults come together and make a difference.
- Peace Murals. Paint a peace mural over graffiti or host a peace themed sidewalk art event. Share art on social media with #NYVPW.
- Runaway Resource. Work with community agencies to create a Resource for Runaways card for your community. Include numbers and safe locations where they can get help.
- Be A Buddy. Pair adults or youth mentors with other youth for positive role models and positive peer activities.
Tell us how you are getting involved to help prevent youth violence in your school or community. If you use any of these ideas, please share with us in the comments!
- CDC – Youth Violence Fact Sheet
- Healthy Children – Staying Cool When Things Heat Up
- National Save – NYVPW Action Kit
- UNITY – Violence and Mental Health