Chapel Hill High School SAVE Chapter Works to End Bullying and Violence
At Chapel Hill High School, our Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) chapter works to make our school a more inclusive environment. We work hard to promote kindness in an effort to end issues we face each day, such as violence and bullying. Our goal is to empower each student at Chapel Hill High to feel that he or she belongs and others care about their well-being.
This school year, SAVE received a $75,000 grant from the Allstate Foundation. Thanks to this grant, 20 elementary, middle and high schools across the Carolinas received aid for their SAVE chapters to further its mission to encourage and empower students to keep their schools safe from bullying, crime, violence and reckless driving. We are so thankful our chapter was selected as one of those 20 schools, as the mini-grant we received has helped fund youth safety campaigns we plan and execute for our peers. We generally coordinate at least one program each month for our peers, typically planning the programs around national holidays or other outside events going on in the community. For example, this year we celebrated the National No Name-Calling Week by distributing candies with kind messages to the student body. We also painted the speed bumps in the student parking lot to encourage safe driving habits and observed Kick Butts Day, a day that encourages youth to speak out against Big Tobacco, by picking up cigarette butts in downtown Chapel Hill.
Our chapter hosts weekly meetings and invites guest speakers to attend from various anti-violence groups in the area to educate our group on the dangers of behaviors such as vaping, smoking and alcohol abuse. We also partner with Tobacco Reality Unfiltered (TRU), which works to create large-scale tobacco prevention. With this partnership, we create programs for our school to decrease the number of students who smoke and prevent the addiction from starting.
Several members within our chapter will join other SAVE members from across the country at the National SAVE Summit in Raleigh April 1. This youth-led conference will give our group the opportunity to experience motivating workshops, peer-to-peer presentations and speeches from nationally acclaimed speakers. Our chapter will also lead a break out session on “Toilet Talks,” a program that was created at Chapel Hill High School several years ago as a way to involve the entire school with our SAVE chapter.
Toilet Talks are surveys we conduct based on various topics, such as “toilet-themed” current events or a theme we generate at our planning meetings. We tally the results and post the responses on inside of all of the bathrooms at school, along with helpful facts about the SAVE theme of the month. The facts we share on these posters help spread awareness about various issues our chapter works to improve, such as dating violence, safe driving and substance abuse. These small posters have been a staple in our school environment for many years. They help spread important messages and make our school seem like more of a community. Our SAVE chapter finds this program to be essential to our overall outreach and we can’t wait to share it with other chapters from across the nation at the Summit!