Being a Safe School Ambassador builds emotional intelligence

by Olivia Scaperotti, former Safe School Ambassador

My name is Olivia Scaperotti and I am a graduate of Carmel High School in Carmel, New York, and I am an alumnus of the Community Matters Safe School Ambassadors program. SSA had a significant impact on my development in middle and high school back in my hometown, and I know that my fellow ambassadors and peers were affected in the same manner. The culture created within our community of ambassadors and faculty leaders seemingly seeped into the culture of our school, and I believe it promoted a widespread custom of compassion, and thus, a safer school environment. The lessons I learned have stuck with me since graduating, and through the program and its trainings, I have become a more emotionally intelligent, empathetic, and action-oriented person.

The work done in small environments through family groups affected not only the students within the program, but also invited a healthy and safe school culture. This program encourages having tough, yet important, discussions, following lines of thought which we do not consistently nourish, and most importantly, acting to better communities and human relationships. Specifically, I recall the part of the training where students and faculty form small groups and each group member discusses different times when they have been a victim, a bystander, and an aggressor. This exercise helped me realize the extent to which we may never know of the internal turmoil others face, and thus, the importance of being socially and emotionally educated.

I have seen and experienced the impact of the Safe School Ambassadors program, and upon beginning my studies at college, I imagined how wonderful it would be to see SSA encompass an even greater population. Through working alongside passionate leadership at Community Matters, I envision facilitating the creation of a Safe School Ambassadors program modified for a college-age community. I am forever grateful for my experiences with SSA, and I eagerly anticipate watching the magic of this program reach and affect more young minds throughout the country.

Olivia is a sophomore at Cornell University studying Industrial Labor Relations. She most recently worked as an intern at McCabe, Coleman, Ventosa & Patterson PLLC in Poughkeepsie, NY. In her free time, she sings with the Cornell Chorus, teaches clarinet lessons, and performs musical theatre.