Endings and New Beginnings

May 17 2017


Where do I start? What do you say after 22 amazing years of being the Founder and Executive Director of Community Matters?

How about I begin with this . . . On this past April 28th, we conducted our 12th annual Fundraising and Recognition Luncheon. More than 150 people attended to celebrate, learn, and support the work we do to “wake up courage”. The revenue raised there helps us to provide scholarships to North Bay schools that empower more students to become Safe School Ambassadors.

It was a day filled with hope, inspiration and gratitude. We were all moved by the courage expressed by the young Ambassadors who attended and spoke about their experiences. They and 1000’s more students are serving as “upstanders” every day, speaking up when they encounter bullying, cyber-bullying and harassment in their schools and communities. It was a wonderful and heartfelt experience, and a great way for me to mark the end my tenure here at Community Matters.

Recently, some people have asked me if it’s bittersweet to be stepping down as Executive Director.  It’s a good question, which gave me pause. And when I listened to my own truth, what I discovered is that I am so filled with gratitude, joy, pride and satisfaction, that I am the “cup filled” and running over.

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.

Please know that I’ll never forget the confidence that schools and districts have placed in us. Today, thousands of students are confronting injustice and standing up and speaking up for those who are often targeted and abused. Guided by our incoming Executive Director Diana Curtin, Community Matters will continue to support them in amplifying hope, and spreading courage and compassion throughout our country and beyond. It is the voices and the actions of Safe School Ambassadors everywhere, and the adults who support them, that fills me with hope and the belief that we can create a more just, peaceful and compassionate world for all.


With gratitude,

Rick Phillips

Stay Connected - Subscribe to Community Matters Newsletters


Connect with Us

Join the 
Waking Up Courage Community

Facebook Twitter YouTube Blog

Subscribe to our blog



Tag Cloud

zero-tolerance policy, youth violence, youth substance use, youth gang prevention, whole school climate, ways to stop bullying, waking up courage, teen suicide, teen drug use, teen alcohol use, teacher-student relationships, suspension costs and losses, suicide prevention, social-emotional learning, social media, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment on campus, school safety, school climate research, school climate legislation, school climate, school bus bullying, school bullying policy, school bullying, safer schools, safe schools, safe school ambassadors, risk management, rick phillips, restorative practices, restorative justice, post-election hate crimes, peer pressure, peer intervention, peacemaker, pbis, national bullying prevention month, monitoring children's online activity, mindfulness, lgbtqi youth, inside-out approach, how to stop bullying, hazing, hate crimes in schools, gang prevention, cyberbullying, columbine, bystander to upstander, bullying video, bullying prevention, bullying laws, bullying, bully, back to school, atod, adolescent substance use