2016 – 2017 Year End Report

To see the full print version of our report, click here.

RESPECT continues to work successfully towards its mission of using educational theatre and community collaborations to help individuals of all ages develop healthy relationship skills.  2017 is the start of RESPECT’s 17th year of programming and our results are outstanding! To date RESPECT has provided over 495,000 participants with 3,406 programs. During the 2016 – 2017 year more than 29,000 individuals participated in 262 RESPECT programs.  Donate to RESPECT to help us continue our important work!

What Students Learn: Program Evaluation Results

During Middle School and High School RESPECT programs we collect notecards with questions submitted anonymously by participants and take questions live from the audience.  In 2016-2017 we collected a total of 823  anonymous questions.  Of those, 152 were about bullying, 69 were about dating violence, 107 were about drug and alcohol abuse, 92 were about suicide, 44 were about self-harm, and 89 were about depression and other mental health issues. Many students asked questions that started with “Why” for each topic such as, “Why do people bully?” or, “Why do people kill themselves?”  Students were also curious if our actor-educators and panelists experienced situations or relationships such as what were depicted in the play.  In addition to those kinds of questions, the following are a sampling of some of the most frequently or serious questions asked by students:

  • “What do you say or do if your friend or loved one is depressed?”
  • “How often does dating abuse happen?”
  • “Why don’t people in abusive relationships leave?”
  • “What are the most harmful or addictive drugs?”
  • “What are the signs of depression or suicide?”
  • “What do you do if your boyfriend/girlfriend sends you [nude] pictures?”
  • “What can you do to help if you think someone is going to commit suicide?”
  • “What if you will lose your friend by telling their parent that they are cutting themselves?”

Collecting these questions informs RESPECT about what challenges students grapple with the most and how we can adapt our programs to meet those needs.  We also share the questions submitted with the hosting school so they can continue these important conversations with the students after the RESPECT program has concluded. To review our programs, we established a Student Advisory Council with students at Sacred Heart Catholic School and inspired them to write two scripts relating to what they learned from RESPECT, as well as contributing drawings and poetry for future handouts.

Compared to pre-program responses, after participating in a RESPECT program about bullying, 2nd and 3rd grade students demonstrated:

  • 98% said they learned new information about bullying.
  • A 19% increase in reporting that they would tell an adult about bullying.
  • A 25% increase in reporting that they would befriend a student who was being bullied indicated they would be 6x more likely to stand up to a bully.

4th-6th graders were asked how they would respond to a variety of bullying situations after participating in a RESPECT performance and suggested strategies such as:  directly helping peers who are being bullied, looking a bully straight in the eye and telling them to stop, taking a screen shot of online bullying and showing an adult, and trying to stay calm and not bully back.

Compared to pre-program responses, after participating in a RESPECT program about teen dating violence, high school students demonstrated:

  • A 46% increase in awareness of the Boys Town National Hotline as a resource for help.
  • A 20% increase in reporting that they would go to an adult to help their friend who was being abused even if that friend might get angry.
  • Notably 48 % knew someone in an abusive relationship; 9% had experienced dating violence, fewer than half had reached out for help.

Students who participated in the Promoting Empowerment in our World collaboration between RESPECT and the ADL completed post program evaluations.  96% of participants reported that the program helped them have a better understanding about bullying, name calling and the impact these behaviors have on school and communities.

All educators and administrators whose students participate in RESPECT programs are requested to complete post program evaluations.

  • 90% of respondents stated the program got the attention of their students.
  • 90% agreed that the RESPECT program was interactive and motivating.
  • 92% said RESPECT gave good information about safe pro-social relationships.

This data was collected and analyzed by Stephanie Larsen, MS under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Kelly Vance of UNO and Dr. Newman.  The three evaluators are pictured above with other members of the UNO Psychology Group (SPUNO) after Dr. Newman presented about how psychologists can help with bullying.

Programs Collaborations & Development

RESPECT was honored with the prestigious 2016 Better Business Bureau Integrity Award recognizing our work in going above and beyond in ethical conduct.

One of the great things about live theatre is that it can adapt to every audience. A school asked us to address absenteeism in the programs we were scheduled to perform at their school since students missing school due to social issues was becoming a problem. Our Artistic and Training & Education Directors, Moira Mangiameli and Haley Haas, worked with actor-educators to incorporate situation specific language into a scene and extra discussion into the talkback portion of our program to meet that need. A different school asked us to address sexting with their middle school students because it was something that many of their students were engaging in. For that school, we added on an additional 30 minutes of role-play to our session to bridge the discussion of what they saw in our play to relate to matters of social media safety and sexting.

At the request of and in collaboration with Men Against Domestic Violence and the WCA, RESPECT’s Artistic Director wrote a new script called “Legacy” designed to stage conversations about Teen Dating Violence and Intimate Partner Violence in an effort to encourage young men to become more proactive in stopping this violence. RESPECT premiered this performance at our 2016 Summer Conference and also held two special sessions open to teenagers and their mentors. Groups attended from Boys & Girls Club, North Star, Girls Inc. and Planned Parenthood.

RESPECT worked with five Thrive Clubs throughout OPS to lead interactive sessions about healthy relationships, bullying, peer pressure and bias.

RESPECT collaborated with the ADL to present the first ever PEW (Promoting Empowerment in our World) conference for middle school students to address bias, prejudice and bullying. Thank you to our partners at the Scottish Rite for allowing us to use their wonderful space to provide this workshop. Earlier that year, RESPECT performed Standing Up at the PEW conference for high school students and were treated to a standing ovation by the 200+ students in attendance. Dr. Newman was presented with an award for being the Founder of the PEW 30 years ago.

RESPECT provided a workshop about job retention skills for more than 900 attendees at the Fremont Career Fair for high school students.

Sacred Heart School asked RESPECT to not only perform our usual educational theatre programs, but also to work directly with their fifth graders in a workshop designed to address bullying and acting respectfully.

RESPECT hosted two radio shows on 101.3 Mind & Soul Radio. We collaborated with Girls Inc., the Hope Center, Roncalli Catholic School, and Boys & Girls Club to present audio-versions of scenes from our show “Choices” about mental health followed by questions and answers with our expert panelists and Dr. Newman.

For the first time, RESPECT was selected as a provider for Collective For Youth’s after school programs. We created a Devised Theatre Workshop that we conducted with students in Marrs, Morton, McMillan, Monroe and Norris Middle Schools. During the workshops, participants used literature, theatre, story-telling and other methods to convey messages about bullying and relationships. The workshops ultimately resulted in the development of short scripts performed by the students.

Some of the workshops presented to adults by Dr. Newman and RESPECT staff include:

  • Addressing LGBTQ Issues at Offutt Air force Base
  • Positive Communication skills for teachers at Lincoln East High School
  • Creating Healthy Workplace Relationships at the Omaha Veterans Affairs Hospital
  • Managing Stressful Situations with Clients for the Omaha Estate Planning Council
  • Two workshops at St. Patrick’s Catholic School: One about cyberbullying and another about working with students with special needs
  • Working With Students with ADHD for the Omaha Archdiocese schools’ administrative and counseling staff

RESPECT visited Avenue Scholars groups to provide a workshop about healthy relationships.

Carole’s House of Hope, a program that provides safe, stable, supportive housing opportunities for youth currently in or “emancipating” from foster care system hosted RESPECT to work with their young women on the topic of Healthy Relationships.

RESPECT returned for a third time to Iowa Western Community College to provide a workshop about Dating Violence and Consent.

For the fourth consecutive year, RESPECT provided specialized workshops at the Pathfinder Juvenile Detention Center in Lincoln, NE.

RESPECT collaborated with the Kim Foundation to present a session at the All Minds Matter Conference at Midlands University.

RESPECT’s Training & Education Director, Haley Haas, coordinated Artist in Residence Programs for the following sites: The Union for Contemporary Art, The Kroc Center, The Solomon Center for Girls, The Hope Center, and Girls Inc. which were implemented by RESPECT’s actor-educators.

In addition to our many performances in the Omaha/Council Bluffs schools, we performed in outlying areas such as Fremont, Blair, Lincoln, the Greater Nebraska City area, Treynor, Glenwood, and East Mills as well as tours in McCook, Franklin, Kearney and Shelton, NE.

Staff development is important as is learning from other community organizations. RESPECT staff participated in trainings and workshops with the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, Project Harmony, ADL, the WCA and the Sherwood Foundation, among others.

In addition to training that RESPECT staff receive on content relevant to the shows and discussions we provide to students, rehearsals are essential to make our programs work. This year RESPECT’s actor-educators spent a combined 735 hours in rehearsal