November 25-30th

Hey Readers!

The Holiday season is all around us as we move from November to December. It’s crazy to think that Christmas is only 3 weeks away and that it’ll be here in no time. Although Thanksgiving continues to be my favorite holiday, I’m just as excited about Christmas around the corner and the opportunity to see some of my extended family.

Green Dot is excited to tell you that we have an upcoming Action Event that will take place during the Altha boy’s basketball game vs Liberty County High School on December 18th. We hope you’ll show your support by coming to the game and having a great time! It will be a good time to reaffirm your commitment to keeping our community safe, while also having fun.

Sometimes doing the right thing can be hard. We want all of our students to feel empowered whenever they see something that makes them uncomfortable and for them to truly believe they can make a difference. No matter what kind of situation you’re in there are Green Dot solutions for you. We call these the 3D’s and these tips are really the core of our program. The first of these 3D’s is Direct; to direct just means that you are prepared to get directly involved in the situation. Maybe it’s an argument between friends that’s gotten a little out of hand, or maybe one of your friend’s dates pushed boundaries to hard.. Direct means taking charge of a situation and checking in, or standing up for what’s right. The second of the 3D’s is to Delegate; while delegating is pretty easy, sometimes it can take a little preparation and the right state of mind. To delegate just means to tell someone else who will Direct. It might be a teacher you trust, or an outspoken friend, or your parents, or if it’s serious maybe the police/sheriff. If you’re someone who delegates you might need to be prepared ahead of an emergency so you know who to call. The last of the 3D’s, but definitely not least is Distract. Distracting just means getting right in the thick of things without acknowledging that you even have realized something was off about the situation. This means putting yourself in the middle of an ongoing argument or fight and drawing attention to yourself and away from the conflict. This might involve changing the subject, or busting out your best one liner jokes, or being the abundantly funny individual that your classmates love. To be someone who distracts can take the most creative thinking, but it can really pay off.

No matter who you are there’s a Green Dot for you. Even if it’s something small like checking in on your friends. Remember that big or small you can make a difference, even if it’s only one Green Dot at a time. Who knows, you might end up a hero!

Thanksgiving

Hey Readers!

Thanksgiving has come and gone faster than a paycheck before Christmas, and I hope for all of you reading this that it was a pleasant break. For me, Thanksgiving was a little hectic, but was well enjoyed. It started off with visiting my dad’s family down in south Florida and was followed by a stay at my mom’s around Thanksgiving day. Although there was a lot of traveling involved and a little chaos for flavor, I had a really great time over the break visiting everyone. For a lot of families (including my own) the holidays are the only time we really get to hang out with our extended families; knowing this I tried to make the most of our time together.

One key aspect of family gatherings is good story telling; it is one of my favorite things about getting together over the break. A good story can tell you a lot about an experience, but more than that, it can tell you a lot about the story teller. One of my favorite ‘story tellers’ is my Grandma Esther. Over the years she has told me countless stories (many of them multiple times.) And one thing all her stories have in common is that many of them are about her life and what has made her who she is today. A lot of them involve terrible customers, or run-ins with ungrateful people. In fact rarely do I ever hear her tell a story with a pleasant outcome or a positive ending. Although that’s pretty negative, it sheds some light on why my grandmother doesn’t have very many nice things to say to people; it also makes it much more meaningful when she takes the time to compliment me. The way my grandmother talks to people is a reflection of how other people have treated her most of her life as well as how she has viewed people most of her life. A lot of her stories will continue to live through me well after she is gone; they will serve as a reminder to always search for the positive and to try to be a good friend to those in need because a little love can go a long way.

I’m sure many of you have some really great Thanksgiving stories about a crazy uncle or a seriously silly aunt. Whether it was a time the dinner didn’t go as planned or a time someone told the best story about your mom. No matter what your stories, I hope that they continue to shape you into the person (or bystander) that you want to be. I sincerely hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and I can’t wait to share more of what Green Dot has to offer over the coming months.

November 6-12th

Hey Readers!

Most of life has returned to its regular flow, but with a few caveats to keep things interesting! Blountstown High School will be fostering our community’s displaced elementary educational teachers as their school is brought back to full function. We here at Green Dot hope you’ll welcome the new faces on campus with open hearts as BHS staff try to accommodate the additional new students to the school.

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and I don’t know about you, but I am so excited to spend time with family over the coming week and to fill my body to capacity with turkey. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite times of year as it marks a time on the calendar when I get to meet with my extended family. I don’t know of any other holidays when the norm is to lay about the house all day with limited activities just talking and sharing good food, but if you know of any I would probably like to be involved! I hope that this Thanksgiving is especially great this year for those of you reading this, and that you have a continued great rest of your year.

Green Dot will be bringing you plenty of violence prevention in the coming month or so; that means be on the lookout for some of our events! We’re always looking for new ways to get involved on your school campus, so if you have any great ideas bouncing around in your brain feel free to seek us out!

Lastly we want to remind you that every one of us has the ability to be somebody’s hero! Whether it’s something small like: walking someone home, checking on them after class, letting someone know you’re there if they need you or something totally extraordinary like: breaking up a fight, or helping someone in an unhealthy relationship. You have the tools to prevent violence with the 3-Ds, and that’s really super!

Fresh Start

Hey Readers!

School is finally back in motion after all the commotion that Hurricane Michael caused. Many members of our community experienced some property damage and a good scare, but after just a few short weeks, life is returning back to relative normality. Although this was a trying event, it made me very happy to see so many members of our community come together to make things better for the ones who were hardest hit.

When we finally got back into the normal class schedule, I thought it would be a good idea to ask some students about their hurricane experience and what they did to help out after the storm. Randolph from Blountstown High School shared that the storm was very tiring; stating that it lasted a long time and there was a lot of work to be done in the aftermath. He went on to share that his biggest fear was that his step-father who needed oxygen would be at risk while the power was off for the unforeseeable future. Thankfully Randolph’s family came together and made a long drive in order to get a generator to keep the oxygen flowing. Randolph said that after the storm he spent a lot of time working with a chainsaw cleaning up his own yard and a few other people’s yards around them.

Deshawn shared that the storm was a pretty bad time. He went on to say that during the storm he (and his family I presume) had to stay with his Aunt in order to avoid the storm’s danger. When I asked if there were any highlights to the storm, he said that the only thing to add was that he got glass in his feet. Deshawn went on to share that after the storm he helped clean up some of the mess.

Whitney talked about how stressful the storm was and that they were going to need a new house. She shared that they would be staying with their grandma for the time being. Whitney said that during the storm she did her best to keep her sister calm and to let her know that it was going to be alright. She went on to disclose that after the storm she gave clothes to people who needed them and spent time with her family.

We are so very proud of our students that went out and found a place that they could help in all of the storm’s aftermath. Lending a helping hand and being there for another person is exactly what Green Dot is about (even if our regular focus is on violence prevention).

Lastly, remember that big or small you can make a difference! Whether it’s preventing violence or helping out after a natural disaster.

October 9th – 16th

Hey Readers!

As many of you know, Green Dot has been interrupted a little bit by Hurricane Michael. We hope for our community that this turbulent event can be a good time to come together and care for our neighbors. Even though we regularly encourage you to be good bystanders, we encourage you this week to be good neighbors as we rebuild our community.

Today was the first day I got to see Calhoun County since the storm and let me tell you, it was a bit of a mess! I’ve never seen so many trees turned upside down. Florida’s coast experienced wind speeds over 130 miles an hour as the storm crashed into the panhandle. I was very thankful to see that although there was plenty of roof damage, not many buildings were totally destroyed by Hurricane Michael. We should have no problem getting back into full swing in just a few short weeks!

These coming weeks will be a great time to step up and be a hero. Green Dot is encouraging all our students to go the extra mile this year, not only do we want you to be a great bystander, we want you to feel like you can do something super! Whether it’s checking to make sure your friends have drinking water, or making a grocery run for someone in need, or just spending time with those you love while the powers out, we hope you find an opportunity do something great!

We’re very sorry to inform you that some of our events will be moved around as we await each schools reopening. I know some of you were probably looking forward to the upcoming bystander training this week, but don’t worry! We’ll have another one planned before you know it. If you’re wondering when exactly we’ll be up and running again, a good place to start would be checking your respective school’s website. Some may still be awaiting an announcement, but that should give you some idea as to when things will be getting back to normal.

Lastly, we hope everything went smooth and that you were safe during the storm. For those of you that didn’t evacuate, it was probably a pretty scary experience. Hopefully very soon everyone will have power back on and everything will be cleaned up!

October 2nd – 8th

Hey Readers!

We might just have a hurricane coming our way!  Although we will possibly be met with it’s challenges, maybe we can enjoy a day off from school and our regular routines this coming Wednesday.  Although natural disaster prevention isn’t our specialty, we hope you’ll be prepared and keep those you love in mind as you’re planning your hurricane visit.

Green Dot was in attendance at the color run this last Saturday; I hope you took the time to say hey to Ms. Vicki (even if you were just running by)!  If you were a participant, thank you so much for coming out and showing your support to some of our community programs.

Our third Bystander Intervention Training will be held next week at Blountstown High School, if you want to make sure you’re on the invitation list feel free to stop by the Green Dot classroom and talk to either Ms. Vicki or Tyler.

If you’re at Altha School be on the look out for upcoming events!  We have a school wide booster planned and we’re very excited to work with you on completing this project.  It will be a chance for everyone at the school to think about their role in preventing bullying, and it might even include making your own superheroes.  For Liberty County- stay tuned.  We’re looking to do something fun at your school as well.

Lastly, I’d like to take this time to remind everyone that you can be a hero just by being. . well. . you!  By starting with your strength’s and weaknesses as a violence preventing community leader, you can better asses options that will be realistic for you when the need arises.  Some of the best tools that you can keep in your utility belt are the 3 D’s (Direct, Delegate, Distract).  Maybe your super power is a cool head and super strength, in that case, Direct would be a great option for you.  Whether it’s a fight at school, or an argument between friends, use Direct when you’re ready to get in the middle of any Red Dot situation.  Maybe your best quality is being a good leader and knowing the right person for the job.  If this sounds like you Delegating may be the best option.  ‘Delegaters’ use their eyes and ears to expertly asses a situation and then are able to explain it to someone so that they are properly equipped to get involved.  Last but not least, we have Distract.  Your super power may be having a great personality, maybe your humor carries you, or you just need a way to get involved indirectly.  ‘Distracters’ get involved by taking attention off the potential violence and unto themselves, diffusing most situations.  Whether it’s making a joke, or busting out your best dance moves, ‘Distracters’ can really make things better with their words and behaviors.

No matter what your super power is, there’s a Green Dot option for you!  Big or small we all have choices, and if we each just do one little thing, it’ll add up to something great!

September 25th – October 1st

Hey Readers!

September has come and gone and October is here to (hopefully) bring some much needed cooler temperatures. Changing seasons means changing colors, as well as many Green Dot and community activities planned for the coming Fall.

Thursday brought us another successful bystander intervention training at Liberty County High School, and for those of you that attended, thank you so much for coming out! We had a really great day working with you, and we hope you learned something new by the end of the day!

This coming week we have overviews planned for Altha High School, and we are more than excited to share our message with you and to inspire you to be active bystanders in your community! This weekend we will be attending the color run that will be held this Saturday at Sam Atkin’s Park; it will be a great chance to come out and show some support for your local prevention and awareness programs, as well as be a lot of fun!

This week’s highlighted superhero is Spider-Man. This weekend I re-watched the first Spider-Man movie to get inspired about violence prevention. Personally, I chose to watch the Toby Macquire version of the film. I know this is most people’s least favorite as of late, but personally I think I like this one the best since I saw it before any of the others.

In the film, Peter Parker goes from being an absolute nobody, to an extraordinary hero overnight. He does this of course by having the unfortunate encounter with a radioactive spider, transforming our hero into the web flinging night stalker we know and love. When young Peter is faced with his newfound power for the first time he, unfortunately, misuses it. His first idea is to abuse his power to win fights for free in order to earn some quick cash on the side. Karma catches up to Spider-Man quickly, however, when his Uncle Ben is accosted in the street directly as a result of Peter’s prior actions. Before his last breath, Uncle Ben utters the following: “with great power, comes great responsibility.” This becomes Spider-Man’s personal creed and follows him for the rest of his time as a hero.

Like Spider-Man you can go from being a zero to a hero overnight. You may never have an encounter with a super power giving radioactive spider, but you can become a better bystander overnight just by learning a few simple tips. Whether it’s browsing online for some bystander tips, or signing up for a bystander training, your decisions have a major impact on your school and community!

Remember that big or small you can make a difference! Take the time to do something great, because you never know. You just might become someone’s superhero!

September 11th – 24th

Hey all you readers!

Green Dot has been extra busy these last couple of weeks with: overviews, planning booster events, and preparation of another bystander training.  I’m so excited to bring to you this week’s message and to inform you on some of our upcoming events.

September the 11th marked Patriot Day as we take time to remember those that lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.  We hope  that for those of you that lost loved ones you found solace in this day of remembrance.

Throughout most of the first week we were doing overviews at Liberty County High School, sharing our message and, hopefully, inspiring others to be a change for good.  We even had enough moments in the day to squeeze in time to hang up our Superhero posters around Altha Public School and Blountstown High School!  For those of you at Liberty County that are wondering where your Superhero posters are, don’t worry!  We will be hanging them shortly (most likely after your bystander training this week).

Last week we conducted Green Dot overviews with the freshmen at Blountstown High School; I like to think that it was a big success and that we were well received!  I hope we grabbed your attention, and that we encouraged you to get involved with preventing violence with us on campus.  Maybe we’ll even see you at your bystander training!  Later this week we planned an upcoming event at Altha Public School.  We’ll probably schedule it for the end of October, so be on the look out!

I hope you’ve realized by now this year is all about Superheroes and trying to become a hero yourself!  Over the weekend I re-watched the film ‘The Dark Knight’.  I’m sure that like myself many of you enjoy a good Batman movie.  Although the legacy of Batman is a work of fiction, I think there are some parallels to reality that we can gather some lessons from.  In the movie ‘The Dark Knight’, Gotham City has become intolerant of Batman’s crime fighting and has begun to blame him for the rise of ultra-violent crime within the city limits.  Despite their hatred toward the masked hero, Batman remains undaunted in the face of conflict.  He continues to do his good work and to save those in need, regardless of public opinion.  Many characters in the film state that ‘He is not the hero Gotham needs, but the hero it deserves.’  Batman continues to battle evil and to do good no matter what.  My favorite Batman quote is “It’s not who I am under the mask, but what I do that defines me.”  I think this is a quote that we can all live by; regardless of how other people perceive us, our good deeds are what define us as human beings (whether or not we get the recognition we deserve).

And remember, big or small, any one of us can make a difference.  Just by using your words, actions, choices, and behaviors you can make your community safer and become someones Superhero!

Tyler Wertenberger, Green Dot

 

September 4th – 10th

 

Hey Readers!

It seems the summer showers are finally coming to an end as we approach the middle of September.  Which is great for me because I’m more than tired of worrying whether or not I brought an umbrella with me.

Green Dot has overviews coming up this week with students from Blountstown High, as well as Liberty County.  We might even be coming to your classroom!  We’re very excited to share a little bit about our program with you and fill you in on all the new happenings for this school year.

At the end of this month we have a Green Dot Bystander training planned for Liberty County High School; if you’re not already on the list of attendees and you would like to be you should stop by the front office to make sure you get on the invite list!  The day will be full of games, activities, and tons of great information about violence prevention.  We have a lot planned for you to do and are so excited to spend the day teaching you how you can make a better difference in your community.  I can’t wait to see who all will be there!

Every coming day has new opportunities and possibilities; it can seem like all the days blur together at times, but I can assure you that only one thing is guaranteed and that is change.  With change comes fresh ideas, new challenges, and chances to learn and grow.  I hope for all our readers that when they’re faced with adversity they will feel empowered to act in a way that would make their future selves proud.

Remember that big or small, you can be a hero to someone in need.  With the right tools and a little courage you can fix any problem (even if you need a little help).  My favorite thing about Green Dot is that you have options (what we call the 3 Ds) in any given situation.  Maybe you’re someone who feels comfortable getting directly involved and being in the action during a crisis situation, or maybe you’re someone who delegates and can get the right people involved when needed.  You might even be someone who distracts effectively and can get involved with diffusing violent situations without the people involved even knowing that you’re resolving conflict.  Whatever your Green Dot may be if we all do something small it’ll add up to something HUGE.

I hope you have a great coming week and a successful implementation of your Green Dot strategies!

 

August 21st – 27th

Hey Readers!

Today has been a long one, but I’m happy to be sharing our message with you on this fine Monday afternoon!

I’m so excited to share with you our events for this week.   I think I’ll start by announcing that we have an upcoming Bystander Training for this Thursday at Altha Public School.  We are so excited to see your bright faces as we share the message of violence prevention and bystander intervention with you.

Moving into a new area can be pretty exciting, but scary.  Recently I’ve moved across town to a new building and it has had it’s share of delays, disappointments, and frustrations.  In my case not having hot water.  It is times like these that can really remind us just how well off we are regularly.  Things like a fridge full of food, air-conditioning, running water, and wifi are all relatively new on a human timeline and we often take that for granted.  Just 200 years ago, none of these things would have been available to us.  Which is so weird considering how long humans have been around!

When you think of all the blessings that modern life has afforded to us, we often forget that some of us forgo these meager offerings despite it being so readily available.  If we take a minute to look around our public spheres, even somewhere as close as a classroom you might just see some people “going without”.  Using our eyes and ears for observation make for powerful tools when in search for new information.  This is especially important when applied to bystander intervention, and even more important when applied to being a good neighbor.

I challenge you to find someone in need this week.  Big or small, it could be someone who needs something as little as some help with their homework.  If we all work together to do one little thing, it’ll add up to something huge!