May 7th – 13th

Hey Readers!

The weather is getting so warm it already feels like summer!  Now is a great time to get to the beach, hit the back yard, go for a hike, or enjoy some of your favorite activities under the sun.  Officially summer will begin June 21st during the summer solstice, but even now the weather is beautiful in our home the sunshine state.

Today’s message is about the bystander effect!  If you were in a situation where you needed someone around you to help you, which would you prefer?  Would you rather have many people around you or only a select few?  Naturally you might assume that it’s better to have more people around you and that there is safety in numbers.  However, an interesting thing happens when there are many people witnessing something that makes them uncomfortable; we call this social diffusion of responsibility.  Basically, the more people are around you, the more you’ll assume someone else will take care of the problem and you won’t have to.  It’s kinda like when you encounter litter in a public space and you just assume you don’t need to pick it up because someone else will probably take care of it anyway.  This phenomenon was first discovered after the murder of one Kitty Genovese.  She was killed just outside of her apartment, but what’s most interesting is that over 30 people from her apartment building heard her.  All of the neighbors had assumed one another would have already called the police, so no one was called until it was too late. 

The bystander effect is one example of what we at Green Dot would call a barrier.  Barriers are anything that make it hard for us to do the right thing in a difficult situation.  Deep down I think the majority of us are good people, but sometimes it can be hard to do the right thing (especially if it involves strangers).  Too often we assume social situations that involve other people are none of our business and we shouldn’t get involved.  However, if a situation makes you uncomfortable, we think you should definitely get involved.  Sometimes being a good bystander can be as easy as delegating to the right person.  Whether it’s talking to the school counselor about the behavior of one of your classmates, or letting the resource officer on campus know about someone who’s been exhibiting violent tendencies. 

No matter what your Green Dot, by getting involved you’re making it less likely that people in your community will get harmed.  Big or small, together our good actions will add up to something great!

April 30th-May 6th

Hey Readers!

May is in full swing and with it comes summer! I was lucky enough to enjoy some good weather this weekend down near the Suwanee River. Hopefully the rest of the month will bring us clear blue skies and light showers.

Over the weekend I was fortunate enough to take a trip up and down the Suwanee River. It was a great opportunity for me to see some ‘authentic’ Florida, emerald green water and 8 foot wide cyprus trees dominated the scenery and set the mood. Many of Florida’s rivers feature some of the best fresh water springs in the country; this includes the particular section of river we were traveling to, the Ichetucknee. The sun beat down on us as we approached the large spring head, but this made the spring all the more refreshing as we took a dip. We finished up our journey with some much needed cool drinks and a real barbecue.

It’s interesting that even though the world around us changes every day the river seems to be at a standstill (both literally and figuratively). The slow moving green water has been there sporting its trees and natural scenery since long before any of us were here. Even since times of Spanish explorers and Native Americans, Florida’s rivers have been frozen in time, ever sporting leaf bearing trees and wild game. Interestingly, what has changed most about the river over the last several hundred years are the boats that traverse up and down its murky channels.

In Calhoun County, we should be experiencing beautiful weather this week, like that of my last weekend. It’s the perfect time to invite out some friends, have a barbecue, or sunbathe out in the back yard! Social events are a great opportunity to be proactive or to talk about preventing violence. Keeping our community safe can be as easy as having a conversation about how to deal with a bully, or talking to your loved ones about how they’d react to a school fight or any other social disturbance. Being prepared means being safe!

So next time you find yourself hanging out with friends on one of these beautiful Spring days, find a way to create a Green Dot! Big or small, anyone can make a difference in keeping our community safe

April 23-29

Hey Readers!

The last month of the school year is finally here and I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s the best month.  End of school sports events, school wide fun days, state wide testing, and summer fever are taking over the schools and I don’t think there’s another time in the year that is this exciting!

Last week Blountstown High School enjoyed their school wide field day. The event was a big success and I think most students had an excellent day!  Field day featured snow cones, obstacle courses, and some other blow up attractions.  On top of that all of the student’s got the opportunity to hang out, play some games, and enjoy the sun shine!

Last week Green Dot had four overviews at Liberty County High School. The students were great and sharing our message with them was a joy.  The overviews focus on Green Dot’s goals and a few ways we can get involved in preventing violence in our communities.  If you’re looking for some ways to get involved at your school or in your community this blog might be a great place to start.  Thinking about the safety of those around you and imagining yourself in positions where you would need to act is a great way to begin becoming the bystander that future you would be proud of!

Last week we were also able to get some great face to face time with some of Blountstown High’s students in the library.  You may know that your student’s are smart, but did you know that they’re so good at games like chess!  Many of the students use their free time in the library to play different games like Yugioh, and a lot of them have gotten really good at them!

If you can think of an upcoming school event that could use a little violence prevention messaging, get in touch with us!  A great person to talk to about getting in touch with us is your principal, or reception in the front office at your school.  And remember, big or small anyone can make a difference in their community.  Just by being prepared and watching out for your friends you could end up as someone’s hero!

April 15th – 22nd

Hey Green Dotters!

May is fast approaching and with it comes prom, end of school activities, and something everyone can get excited about!  Summer!  Whether you’re a student or a staff member, I don’t think it’s possible to not be excited about summer vacation.  With just 6 weeks left in the school year we’re planning to send you off right with some Green Dot activities, and a few well timed events!

This past week at Liberty County High School we held our most recent ice cream social.  The event was a big success as we were able to serve as many students that wanted to participate, (as well as slip in some anti violence messaging.)  The messaging focused on being proactive and how just by getting involved through conversation, preparation, and ending isolation; you can make a big difference in the safety of your school.  We hope you enjoyed the event and that we started a few conversations at your table!  IMG_0005.JPG

If you want to be more prepared in case you encounter violence, knowing how you can respond is a great way to start.  In our program we like to divide up reactive Green Dots into 3 categories: Direct, Delegate, and Distract.  Direct  means that when you see something that makes you uncomfortable you’re going to get directly involved.  Pretty simple.  This means you have to know what to say, know who to address, and know what to do if the situation escalates.  If you’re anything like me getting Directly involved is no problem at all, you’ve spent every shower winning arguments in your head and you’re more than prepared to handle this situation.  As cool as getting directly involved can be, it’s not the only way to end up being the hero.  Another great Green Dot is to delegate, this Green Dot is perfect for our chatty students that love to socialize.  Delegating just means to tell someone else, this means knowing the man for the job and having the contacts to call on in case an emergency happens.  Being someone who delegates might mean maintaining personal relationships with your peers and teachers, as well as calling on them when someone needs their assistance.  It might also mean having hot line numbers ready if it’s something serious.  Last, but definitely not least; we have Distract.  Distracting can be a great Green Dot if you’re someone who usually delegates, but there’s noone around you to help.  It might also be a great Green Dot for those of us that want to get directly involved, but don’t like interpersonal conflict and only want to diffuse the situation before it escalates.  Distracting means changing the subject of conversation, or making people feel more comfortable, or sometimes drawing attention away from a conflict and onto yourself.  It might be grabbing someone’s attention before a school fight, or sitting with 2 people at lunch that you know have an unhealthy relationship.

No matter what your Green Dot is you can have a huge impact on your peers.  Sometimes all it takes to be the hero is asking someone what’s wrong.  Not only will you be making the school safer, but you might even make someone’s day!

April 8th – 15th

Hey Readers!

Last week blinked by!  Tonight (April, 15th) is Blountstown High School’s poetry slam.  If you’re a Blountstown High School student, you ought to stop by this evening from 5 – 8 pm to hear some great rhymes by some great students.  

Tomorrow at Liberty County High School is our Green Dot ice cream social!  Don’t worry too much about showing up, because we’re bringing the event right to you!  All you have to do is show up to lunch regularly and stop by our table. The event will focus on some different ways we can be proactive through really simple things a lot of us do everyday!  It might be asking one of your teachers to be there if you need them, or asking a parent about how they dealt with a bully in high school. No matter what your proactive Green Dot, together we’ll add them up to something great!

Doing Green Dot’s can be really easy, you just have to know here to start.  Sometimes to get started on anything, whether it be exercising more, or eating better, or going to bed on time, it’s best to start with one task.  For example, if you were lifting weights but had never really done it before, it might be best to start with your form. Don’t worry about how much weight you’re taking on, or how many reps you can do, for the first couple of weeks you may want to just practice squatting with your chest out.  Once the form feels natural and you’ve made a habit of going to the gym, you’ll be ready to take on greater challenges. If you start out engines blazing, you might burn out sooner than you thought you would, and similar to any exercise, the best way to do Green Dot’s consistently is to make a habit of it.  

Some great early Green Dot’s might just be talking to one person about violence prevention a week; you don’t have to know what to say, you just have to make the commitment to doing it first.  Another great starter Green Dot might be getting to know that quiet person in class. It may be awkward at first, and they might not know what to talk with you about, but by doing it consistently you’ll become an expert.  Who knows, even from humble beginnings you may go from asking someone about their weekend, to becoming someone’s hero!

April 1st-8th

Hey Readers!

I hope you had at least half as good of a spring break as I did!  Personally I went to the beach once and spent more than enough time lounging around the house.  Time off always leaves me refreshed and ready to take on new challenges wherever they might be, which really means I laid around long enough that I finally got bored.

If you’re a student at Liberty County High School, boy do we have a lot planned for you this month!  Later this week we have some overview speeches planned, which we will be conducting primarily in the English classes.  Later in the month we’ll be conducting a 6 hour bystander training with around 20 students, so if you’re excited about the possibility of attending I’d go bug Mr. Willis in the front office to make sure you get placed on the list.  Not only do we have our regularly planned activities, but we’ll be conducting a school wide ice cream social somewhere in between for anyone that wants to participate!  For the Ice Cream social you don’t even have to worry about showing up, you’ll see us in the lunch room waiting on you!

Remember that big or small you can do so much to make your community safer.  Just by being a friend and a good neighbor you can really make a difference in your school or community.  We call these small good deeds Proactive Green Dot’s and there’s countless things you could be doing to make your school safer.  It might be sitting with someone at lunch that appears to be alone, or sharing your phone number with a new student.  You might do your part by wearing a Green Dot t-shirt, or having a conversation with a family member about how they handled a bully when they were in school.  No matter what your Green Dot your actions have a huge impact on the students around you!  As long as we all do a few small things, it’ll add up to something great!

March 12th – 19th

Hey Readers!

Spring break is right around the corner and I am more than excited!  I hope ya’ll have made some plans to go to the beach this next week, because the weather is supposed to be great!

Our only update for this week is our bystander at Altha School from last week.  The training was a big success and we had so much fun sharing our message with you.  I hope we inspired some students that together we can make a difference in our community, and that our small actions add up.

The core message of our bystander training is that anyone, when given the right tools, can have an impact on the violence in their community.  A great way to get involved is to categorize the different ways we can react to a possibly violent encounter.  We call these categories the 3D’s and they’re really the heart of our program.  The first of the 3D’s is Direct, this just means getting directly involved if the need arises; it might be telling someone their behavior is in inappropriate, or standing up for someone who’s being picked on, or maybe even breaking up a fight.  Direct is a great option for situations you know you can handle and when you know that no harm is going to come your way.  The second of the 3D’s is Delegate.  Delegating is really simple, it just means to tell someone else.  If you saw something that made you uncomfortable, but you don’t really know how to go about solving it, the best thing you can do is tell someone else.  It might be telling the resource officer about something you witnessed, or having a difficult conversation with a teacher you trust, or disclosing something private to your principal on campus.  Last but not least is Distract. Distracting is a good option when you need to get directly involved, but you don’t want to draw attention to the conflict that you’re trying to disarm.  It might be changing the subject on a touchy topic, or cheering up someone whose day isn’t going well.  Even by just distracting you can really turn someone’s day around!

By sorting out the different methods we have at our disposal we are better able to assess our own strengths and know how we are going to get involved.  If we know how to want to react to a given situation, then it’s more likely that we will respond when the need arises.  Who knows, if you’re prepared, you just might become someone’s hero!

March 5th – 11th

Hey Readers!

This past week has come and gone faster than jambalaya over white rice. We had an Ice Cream event at Altha School (more on that below), as well as some effective planning for our upcoming bystander training. We’re hoping we can make it a great couple of weeks before closing out the month with Spring Break!

Last Friday we held an Ice Cream social during lunch at Altha Public school. The event was focused around staying proactive, as well as serving as great face to face time with the students. We hope we were able to spark some wonderful conversations by thinking about how you can get involved when the need arises. The ice cream event also was a good opportunity to have some fun before we get back to doing our regular work at Altha School. Just next week we’ll be doing our bystander training and we can’t be more excited to share our message with you! If you’re dying to get an invite, a great way to ensure that you can come is to ask Mrs. Treva in the front office.

icecream

One great thing about violence prevention is that it can be lots of fun! As the end of the school year approaches, schedules and events are coming through the door. On top of planning our usual events, we’re almost always excited to attend community events as well! So if you have any great ideas, make sure share them with either Tyler or Vicki, and we’ll be more than happy to help you bring your thoughts into reality.

No matter what amazing Green Dot’s ya’ll are doing at your schools, one thing is for sure! Our actions, no matter how big or small, add up to something great. If you want to make a difference in your school and you don’t know how, maybe start small. Sitting with someone new at lunch, or asking someone who appears down how their day is going is a great place to start. Who knows, you might even make a new friend!

Your choices, actions, and behaviors have a bigger impact than you know. Sometimes just being yourself and carrying an open heart can make all the difference in the world. So go out there and make it happen. After all, tomorrow starts today!

February 26th – March 4th

Hey Readers!

Spring Break is just 2 weeks away and I couldn’t be more excited! Like many of you, I’m excited about getting a little time to myself and maybe even getting out in the sun.

Not too much is going on at this time in the school year, but I think this slight lull in scheduling is a great time to look for fun opportunities going on at our schools. Before statewide testing inevitably takes over our campuses in the coming weeks, we really ought to squeeze as much as we can out of the time that we have at our disposal. One such student is doing just that by scheduling and running his own game tournament on Blountstown High’s campus. ‘Yu-gi-oh’ is a card game that has seen quite a bit of attention at BHS in the last couple years and this Saturday at 9 AM there will be a tournament going on! Students will have a chance to not only show off their skills, but will attempt to win one of a few really cool prizes. Entrance in the tournament is granted by just 5 dollars, but there will be ‘friendly’ matches going on throughout the day if you just want to show up and hang out.

Green Dot is always looking to new events and different activities to be a part of on your campus. If you’re planning an event or have a great idea, we’d be happy to help you out! Green Dot is constantly looking for new way’s that we can interact with our students, so if you want a little violence prevention programming, or just have some ideas, then please seek us out on campus! Not only would you be doing something possibly fun and engaging, but you may even be doing a proactive Green Dot in the process!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at lunch we’ll be conducting survey’s at Liberty County High School. It’ll be a good chance to give us some feedback or to share what amazing things you’ve been doing on campus as of late. It’ll also be a good chance to pick up some Green Dot related goodies (pens or pencils, key chains) just by participating.

No matter what your Green Dots are, remember that big or small everyone can make a difference. If we all work together our small actions will add up to something great!

February 18th-25th

Hey Readers!

February is wrapping up and Spring Break is right around the corner!  Like many of you I’ve noticed the weather is already starting to warm up.  Personally I’m so excited for spring.  I’m planning on hopping down to the beach, sun bathing, and not doing a thing for at least one weekend coming up.

This week Green Dot will be collecting surveys while planning something fun for the following week.  So if your head is full of any great ideas please share them with us!  We’re really looking to do more activities centered around lunch time, which if you’re lucky might entail something like another ice-cream social!

One of my favorite parts of working on the Green Dot program is getting to hear everyone’s bystander stories.  Many of our students have at least one story about a time they weren’t feeling well and someone took the time to cheer them up, or a time they were able to help someone out of an unhealthy situation.  Sometimes it’s little things like sitting with someone at lunch who is all alone, other times our students share really amazing stories about getting involved in a bullying incident or breaking up a fight.  Sometimes students end up in a story just by circumstance, other times they insert themselves into a narrative and create their own story with their good actions.

I want to encourage you today to write your own story!  Get involved and do something great, it can be really rewarding and leave you with something great you can pass around.  If you’re thinking to yourself “man I really want to get involved, but I don’t know who to help” then maybe you can start small.  Try being a new friend to someone who you think really needs it.  Or just make it your duty to ask everyone how they’re doing.  Sometimes the first step to becoming a violence prevention expert is setting up your peer networks so that you’re more connected to your fellow classmates.

What ever Green Dots you end up doing I’m sure you’ll end up doing something great.  Who knows, sometimes it’s the little things that end up making you a hero!