Blog posts tagged with "Safe School Ambassadors"


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.


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.


The High Value of Student Engagement in Creating Safer Schools: A Risk Management Perspective

January 23 2017

One of our forward thinking principals had already brought the Safe School Ambassadors Program (SSA) to our district, having learned of it from a friend in another district. As our JPA promoted SSA to more schools, we determined that beside the social and cultural benefits of reducing acts of bullying, it was also likely to reduce the number of insurance claims.


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.


LGBTQ Students Need Support: How Safe School Ambassadors Can Help

May 25 2016

When we take a sober look at harassment and bullying in school communities, we know that anti-gay bullying is rampant and often unchecked. As students realize their sexual identity and gender orientation younger, it is essential that this school community’s population have the emotional support to ensure their mental and physical health and well-being.


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.


Alcohol and Drugs with Teens Today – Beyond “Just Say No”

March 28 2016

Community Matters' Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) Peer to Peer Prevention training was introduced after school district officials in San Jose, California approached Community Matters to see if the same strategies used in the evidence-based Safe School Ambassadors® (SSA) training could be applied to decisions young people make surrounding substance abuse. 


Youth Empowerment: An Essential Driver for Reducing Discipline and Creating Safer Schools

March 1 2016

As educators and caring adults, we’re always looking for ways to reduce students’ risky behavior, increase their attendance and improve their achievement. What we have often failed to recognize is that student empowerment is the most effective strategy for reaching these desired outcomes. Empowering youth requires seeing students through a strength-based lens, not a deficit-based one; viewing young people as assets and not problems.


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.


National Bullying Prevention Month - Making a Difference

October 1 2015

Increasing student voice and utilizing a peer-to-peer role-modeling approach is the quickest, most cost efficient and effective way to change the social norms on campus and reduce bullying, cyber-bullying and harassment.


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 Matters partners with Twitter to reduce and prevent cyberbullying

April 28 2015

Twitter and Community Matters are teaming together via a combination of shared resources to help reduce cyberbullying, by both identifying and preventing online abuse.


The Pain of Being Bullied – One Student’s Story

March 30 2015

It’s likely that at some point in your life, either you or someone close to you has been subjected to the effects of cyberbullying, bullying, hazing or harassment. But nothing hits home more than when it happens to someone you care about.


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.


10 Ways You Can Help Stop Bullying – A Guide for Parents & Teachers

March 2 2015

As bullying, cyberbullying and intolerance affect more and more children, it’s increasingly crucial that adults, both parents and teachers, increase their awareness and understanding of how their children interact with each other, both in person and online. Here are some practical steps you can take to better protect the young people in your care.


Making Sense of School Climate - Part 5: Measuring, Collecting and Reporting Data

January 20 2015

There’s no way around it… whether you’re conversant and comfortable with the “ins and outs” of data collection and measurement - or not -  at the end of the day, data drives decisions. That’s why it’s important to understand what the data is illustrating about climate and then to select measures that are easy to collect and simple to explain.


Students Creating School Climate Improvement

September 18 2014

We know we can’t legislate civility nor can we punish children into being more tolerant. The only viable solution to the spread of the bullying virus on school campuses today is to change the social norms that allow it to occur.


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.


Happy 13th Anniversary!: Safe School Ambassadors First Ever Program Launch

January 6 2014

I am writing this blog on the 13th anniversary of the first ever Safe School Ambassadors program ever launched. On December 13 and 14, 2000, three of our local high schools attended a two-day training conducted by Rick Phillips and Chris Pack for a brand new program they called Safe School Ambassadors (SSA).


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...


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...


Waking Up Courage in Students – It Works!

September 25 2013

Adults make the rules, but the students set the norms on a school campus.  So how can we, as adults, empower students to positively impact the school climate?  For the past 12 years, Community Matters has begun this change process through our flagship program Safe School Ambassadors. Read the rest of this article...


National Bullying Prevention Month

October 18 2012

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, a time when we are reminded of the importance of preventing and stopping bullying from happening in our schools and communities.


The Epidemic of Silence: How We Can End It

May 21 2012

In more than 85% of bullying situations there are witnesses, and more often than not, these bystanders do not say or do anything. The effect of their silence is “deafening”, because silence is a form of consent. It emboldens the bully who perceives the silence of others as permission and tacit approval of their actions.


Bully movie opens Friday, March 30th - Waking Up Courage is the Solution to Stopping Bullying

March 27 2012

The new movie “Bully” opens March 30th in major cities nationwide. The film documents bullying between real kids and outlines the extent of the bullying epidemic. But solutions do exist – in the form of programs like Safe School Ambassadors that awaken the courage of bystanders to speak up when they see bullying occur.


Safe School Ambassadors school nationally recognized for its tolerance efforts

May 31 2011

Mesa Linda Middle School in Victorville, CA was recognized as a “Mix It Up” Model School by the Teaching Tolerance Project.


Rick Phillips - Keynote Speaker at the National School Board Association Conference

April 11 2011

Rick Phillips presented a two-hour keynote at the National School Board Association’s 71st Annual Conference on Saturday, April 8, held at the San Francisco Moscone Convention Center.



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