Peace Over Violence is in the midst of holding our third annual Summer Youth Leadership Institute on Violence Prevention. Twenty-five youth are participating in a month-long training learning about the dynamics of relationship and sexual violence and about healthy relationships. These youth are prioritizing violence prevention and learning skills and tools to take with them as they become leaders in their own lives and in their communities.
These middle and high school youth, male and female are devoting their summer free time to collaborating on learning about healthy relationships and violence prevention strategies and connecting the dots to social change and social justice.
A segment of the Youth Leadership Institute this year includes three internship tracks: creating a violence prevention application for smartphones; writing, performing and recording songs about healthy relationships; and developing community and online organizing campaigns focused around healthy relationships.
Last week, these engaged and engaging young people participated in the Start Strong Virtual Conference, a national initiative supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Blue Shield of California Foundation. Eleven Start Strong sites from around the country connected virtually around the theme of what it means to be an “upstander” as opposed to a “bystander.”
Upstander is the opposite of bystander. A bystander is someone that does not speak up or act when they witness acts of intolerance, disrespect, bullying or violence taking place. They just go about their business. The attitude is, “it’s none of my business.” An upstander is someone who takes action when faced with these acts. It’s not just about an individual standing up, it’s about institutions also. The Penn State child sexual abuse tragedy is an example of an institution led by people that stood by and did nothing to protect children. One of the young men in the youth institute said, “Everybody should learn about how harmful sexual and domestic violence can be.” Another young man talked about how he had heard the phrase “be the change” a few times and really didn’t understand it until he joined the Leadership Institute. This young football player now says “I really get it now and now I am the change. Change starts and continues with me.”
Unfortunately, we live in a world with way too many bystanders and not enough UPSTANDERS! But while observing these youth leaders in action here in Los Angeles and across the country, I have a strong and hopeful feeling that this is about to change and youth will be leading the way!
Patti Giggans is the Executive Director of Peace Over Violence. Peace Over Violence is dedicated to building healthy relationships, families and communities free from sexual, domestic and interpersonal violence. She is also the Vice-President of the Board of Directors for 1in6.
The mission of 1in6 is to help men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences in childhood live healthier, happier lives.
1in6′s mission also includes serving family members, friends and partners by providing information and support resources on the web and in the community.
The views expressed above are not necessarily those of the Joyful Heart Foundation or 1in6.
Some days 4 o’clock just hits me like a brick wall. That’s when Jackie and I close the door, turn the music on high and dance our brains out! A good laugh and some air punching is a calorie-free way to snap out of an afternoon slump, and if that doesn’t work, there’s always chocolate.
It’s 3 p.m. and staring at your computer screen just isn’t an option anymore. You’d do anything to break up the day and keep your heavy eyelids open, so you stroll to the vending machine for a sugary pick-me-up.
For many of us, this scene is a daily occurrence. But instead, try one of these tips that’s sure to power you through the rest of your day.
- Grab a friend and go on a brisk walk outside for a change of scenery.
- Do some simple breath work at your desk and if you have a little more time, take a mini meditation break.
- Try standing instead of sitting. You’ll burn 1.5 more calories than you would sitting.
- Hungry? Drink a glass of water first (if water’s too boring, try coconut water) to see if you’re actually hungry or dehydrated.
- If it is hunger, avoid the sugar—it’ll make you sleepier. Instead, snack on something healthier like granola or nuts.
- An overall big way to avoid the slump is to exercise in the morning before heading into work.
- Last but not least, if you have a little privacy, try office yoga to get your blood flowing again.
For more tips on living well, visit The Well Daily, your ultimate guide for creating health and happiness. Get the best wellness techniques, products, recipes and general goodness by signing up. Make sure to follow The Well Daily on Twitter and like it on Facebook too!