SEMO chapter of Red Cross gets funds for violence program

Monday, January 13, 2003

The National 4-H Council has awarded the Southeast Missouri Chapter of the American Red Cross $5,000 to fund a program focusing on school violence awareness.

Funded by the Center for Mental Health Services and the Department of Health and Human Services, objectives of this program include: educating youth to identify warning signs of potential youth violence, reducing the risk of becoming a victim to youth violence, classifying forms of youth violence and training students response mechanisms for when violence occurs.

"We are excited about introducing this new program into area schools," said Sandy Vaughn, local American Red Cross health and safety director. "There is a strong need in our local communities for an effective program of this nature, and we are extremely thankful to the National 4-H Council and the Center of Mental Health Services for allowing us an opportunity to reach out to area youth."

Categories of school violence include stranger against student, student against student and personal partner against student. According to a U.S. Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey, approximately 3 million crimes of violence occur each year in public schools.

These crimes include 900 teachers being threatened, 2,000 students and 40 teachers attacked on school grounds, 100,000 children taking guns to school, knife-like weapons outnumbering guns 8 to 1, a school crime taking place every six seconds, and 150,000 students who stay home because they are sick of the violence and afraid they might be stabbed, shot or beaten at school.

Funded School Violence Awareness programs involve youth groups who are taking leadership roles and working with adult volunteer leaders in their communities.

Program organizers believe that community service helps young people build foundation skills and workforce competencies. Youth were actively involved in writing proposals for the program and will be instrumental in project decisions, designs and implementation.

The American Red Cross provides an instructor and manuals to each participating student.

For more information about this new School Violence Awareness Program, call Vaughn at 335-9471.

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