Blog posts tagged with "Bystander To Upstander"


Bullying Prevention Month – Youth Empowerment

October 31 2017

As National Bullying Prevention Month is recognized in communities across America, with schools and other organizations joined as partners, awareness of bullying and its consequences continues to be a vital part of our nation’s conversation.


Bullying and Suicide – A Strategy For Intervention

September 25 2017

If we know that bullying can lead to suicide, how do we intervene and interrupt in order to promote an alternative response, both by the target as well as by the bystanders, the roughly 85% of a student body that holds tremendous power to change the course of someone else’s life?


Endings and New Beginnings

May 17 2017

Serving as the Founder and Executive Director of Community Matters has been one of the greatest gifts in my life. Working on behalf of all children and youth has grown me as a person, helped me address and heal my own childhood history of bullying and trauma and strengthened my skills and expertise as a thought leader in our areas of service.


From Safe School Ambassador to Middle School Teacher and SSA Program Leader

May 2 2017

Back when I was in high school in Red Bluff, California, I was a Safe School Ambassador. Recently I was reflecting on how this program had made a difference in my life, because in fact, if it hadn’t been for the SSA program, I would never have become a teacher, and I never would have met Nate.


Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Creating Safer Schools

April 18 2017

As educators and caring adults, we’re always looking for ways to reduce student’s risky behavior, increase their attendance and improve their achievement. What we have often failed to recognize, is that having students serve as the “change agents and peace makers” on school campuses goes a long way to optimizing the conditions for learning and positive behavior to occur.


An Intrapersonal Narrative of LGBTQ+

March 21 2017

The truth is that LGBTQ+ folks still suffer a myriad of struggles on a daily basis. If we cannot change the world around us to be more accepting overnight, then how do we cope and/or strengthen our internal selves to take on the day-to-day struggles?


What to Do About Hate Crimes in Our Schools

February 8 2017

It’s clear that our children have not gone unscathed in the current political climate. Bullying and cyber-bullying, already a major problem in America’s schools, have now been exacerbated by an elevated awareness in student’s minds of homophobia, Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism, misogyny and xenophobia. Just like the rest of us, young people are trying to make sense of what they’ve heard and seen in the “adult world”, and they’re acting out from a place of confusion, frustration, fear and heightened stress.


The Most Effective Way to Change School Climate: Student Engagement

October 11 2016

When school norms change from meanness and indifference to kindness and compassion, that’s when disciplinary incidents and suspensions begin to decrease and students can get back to focusing on learning.


Bullying in Japan: Expanding the Upstander Revolution

April 12 2016

In 2014 at an International Bullying Conference, I was introduced to a Japanese organization called Learning Disabilities of Kanagawa (LDAK). LDAK was intrigued by Community Matters’ Whole School Climate approach. They had reviewed our Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA) program and wondered whether the embedded principles of bystander education -- waking up the courage of kids to say and do the right thing -- would transfer to their culture, and to their schools.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Inspired Us to be Courageous Upstanders

February 1 2016

Dr. King said that “we must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Although he spoke those words a long time ago, the need for courage in the face of fear is no less prophetic today than it was in the midst of the American civil rights movement of the 60’s.


Youth Voices - Empowering Students As Peacemakers

October 27 2015

As a Programs & Services Coordinator at Community Matters, I have the unique opportunity of working with hundreds of schools across the country to help them launch Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA)- our flagship bystander education and youth empowerment program. One of the best parts of my job is hearing student feedback on the two-day training.


5 Ways to Create a Positive Climate For the New School Year

August 10 2015

Back-to-school is obviously an exciting time, yet for many children, starting the new year can seem like a minefield filled with risk, vulnerability and concern for their safety. Here are some concrete and effective actions you can take to help your students start the school year with the best chance for success:


A Grateful Mother Speaks About the Impact of Being an Upstander

May 11 2015

This week's guest blog is written by the mother of a Safe School Ambassador in northern California.


Community Does Matter – The Longing for Belonging

March 17 2015

The evidence-based Safe School Ambassadors Program (SSA) empowers elementary, middle and high school students to recognize mistreatment when it’s happening, to have the courage and skills to intervene, and to transform it into self-awareness, kindness and compassion.


School Climate and Student Empowerment

April 29 2014

Students are 90% of a school population, yet they are often underutilized.  Adults often see students as consumers rather than contributors.  If students are part of the problem, we also know that they must be a part of the solution.  At Community Matters we believe that if we can harness their power and potential, we can begin to shift the climate from the inside out.


5 Action Steps For Reducing Suspensions and Creating Safer Schools - Costs of Suspensions Part 2

November 26 2013

In Part 1 of our “The Costs of Suspensions” series, we looked at the rising use of out-of-school suspensions in districts all across the country. Establishing higher control procedures, instituting “zero tolerance” policies and increasing student suspensions has been a means to combatting relational aggression, violence and other disruptions in the school environment. But this “outside-in” approach is costing dearly. Click here to read the rest of the article...


Giving Thanks

November 19 2013

I’m a person who really appreciates the Thanksgiving holiday. Not only for the turkey and fixings, but because my greater focus is on gratitude and taking time to reflect on all that I have to be grateful for. It’s easy to lose sight of gratitude in the fast paced, 24-hour news cycle we live with every day.  Click here to read the rest of the article...


Building a Safer, Thriving School through the Inside-Out Approach

October 24 2013

We all want schools to be safe and thriving places where students can excel, staff are inspired and parents are comforted in knowing that their children are in safe and nurturing environments. Unfortunately, as we hear on the news too often, many schools have become places where violence and mistreatment is the norm. School successes are secondary to school safety, teachers are suffering from burn out, parents are distrustful of schools, and students are subjected to the norm of “cruel is cool”.

So what can be done about this toxic school bullying virus? How do we protect our children, staff and communities from the violence and mistreatment? Click here to read the rest of the article...


From Bystander to Peacemaker - One Student's Journey that Changed Their Life

October 22 2013

Students are confronted with bullying at every turn. Often they look to the popular 'leaders' in their group for cues as to whether to passively stand by or speak up to stop it.

Meet Donny Giovanni, one student who made a decision to learn valuable skills to stop bullying and how it changed his school and his life.

Donny's talk was taken from a presentation he gave in November 2012 on his experience as a Safe School Ambassador - the bystander education training program. Click here to read the rest of the article...


Bus Monitor Bullied by Middle Schoolers: A Call to Action

June 29 2012