• The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) Youth Establishing Strength (YES!)
• The website for NCCJ is www.nccj.org. Additional information about the YES! Program (including the full curriculum) can be found at https://www.nccj.org/programs-youth-establishing-strength-YAC.
• NCCJ is a human rights organization that promotes equality and community through education and advocacy.
• YES! is geared towards high-school aged students and their teachers.
• The purpose of this program is to target bias based bullying and help support positive school atmosphere on the community level.
‘YES!’ is a program designed by a conference of high-school students based on their experiences with bullying (both as aggressors and targets). These students came up with a curriculum, which includes specific group activities as well as overall principles. The curriculum was designed in a way that focused less on school assemblies and the repercussions of bullying, and more on positivity and empowerment. The program is based around five specific areas of empowerment. The first, “Culture Shift” is designed to change the way the school community discusses and deal with bullying. (NCCJ) Activities in this area include identifying the roles people play in situations where bullying occurs and discussing how to change their role from bystander to ally. The second and third are “Talk it Out” and “Peer Power”, which focus on discussion of diversity and supporting other students. (NCCJ, 2012) One activity related to these areas is “Common Ground”, where students are asked questions about themselves and answer by stepping into a circle with other students who share that trait or belief. Another activity discusses bias and discrimination by looking ...
... middle of paper ...
...hange the dynamic of the community.
The ‘YES!’ program is a student designed program for high-schools that focuses on reduction of bias-based bullying and support for positive school culture. The curriculum includes specific themes, activities, toolkits, and suggestions for students, teachers, and faculty to apply to bullying and intolerant situations. A study done on a similar program (Anytown) shows the potential for increased acceptance, responsibility, and involvement as a result of the ‘YES!’ program. The greatest strength of the program is the experiences and creativity of the students that designed the curriculum. The greatest weakness is the ‘YES!’ program’s reliance on student motivation, which may be difficult to encourage. In conclusion, the ‘YES!’ curriculum is an intuitive, well-designed program that will make a difference in schools across the country.
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