Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It Takes a Village!

Monroe County, Florida could be considered a model community for using our program, Speak Up Be Safe™ (SUBS) to protect children, doing it in a collaborative and comprehensive way – starting a true community initiative to protect children from bullying and abuse.  In March, after a meeting was arranged for the Monique Burr Foundation for Children (MBF) by the Chief Assistant State Attorney for Monroe County, Manuel Madruga, the Superintendent of Monroe County Schools, Jesus Jara, approved Speak Up Be Safe™ to be implemented in all Monroe County elementary schools.

One month later MBF was back in the Keys, and on April 30th we trained not only all elementary school counselors, but for the first time in SUBS history, all middle and high school counselors as well. Even more impressive, Manuel Madruga, Jesus Jara, and State Attorney Dennis Ward attended the Facilitator training as well.  Before the end of the school year, Monroe County had provided SUBS to 2,227 students, a great accomplishment in a short time.

A great first step in preventing bullying and abuse; yet Monroe County seemed to want more.  Several recent bullying incidents brought Dennis Ward and Jesus Jara to MBF yet again in a quest for additional bullying resources.  So we’ve added another partner to the Monroe Community Initiative.  This time Jenny Craig, of Live Your Power attended a Bullying Prevention Community Presentation with Lynn Layton, MBF Executive Director and Stacy Pendarvis, MBF Trainer.  Participants attended a two-hour awareness and education seminar at Metropolitan Community Church in Key West on June 25th where they learned about bullying, cyberbullying and learned practical, effective solutions.

Monroe County Schools has now asked MBF for a bullying awareness and education training at the beginning of the school year for all teachers/staff and is considering implementing the Live Your Power bullying prevention curriculum for middle and high schools.  This is truly a community working together to protect their kids and prevent bullying and abuse.  It takes a village and Monroe County knows and is living it!

Written by Guest Blogger Stacy Pendarvis, MSW, MA of Pendarvis Consulting & Training and former Program Manager for MBF with over 16 years in the child safety and child abuse prevention field.

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