MISSION & HISTORY
BUILDING HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS USING THEATRE AND COMMUNITY COLLABORATION!
When RESPECT started more than 20 years ago many did not believe bullying and violence and their relationship to mental health and child abuse were serious problems. Those who started RESPECT knew otherwise.
They also knew there were ways to prevent many of these problems and to provide help for those experiencing them. RESPECT has been on the forefront of working collaboratively with students, families, schools and communities to help give individuals the information, skills and experiences they need to have healthier and safer relationships and communities. RESPECT was also on the forefront in using theatre as a tool with a data driven model to make sure we did the very best job possible to make this happen!
The founders of RESPECT believed in the power of theatre to help educate and change lives. They “respected” theatre not just as an art but as a tool to help build empathy, demonstrate skills, allow students to communicate and share as they “try on” and explore different ideas and ways to interact with those who are different or who may be harmful to them. Theatre captivates attention and is an efficient way to “Stage Conversations” so that students and teachers can safely learn from each other – it allows RESPECT to adapt and individualize to meet the needs of a variety of communities.
Now, RESPECT is adapting to a new world with even more challenges. We are proud to have created new scripts to meet evolving needs and we have adapted existing ones to be offered remotely in an engaging format. We continue to offer prevention programs covering topics of bullying, dating violence, child abuse, internet safety, and negative peer pressure with options related to suicide, depression, drugs, alcohol, body image and self-harm. Our newest programs address safety and emotional needs related to COVID-19 and identity-based bullying as related to racial inequalities and racism. While still interactive, programs are available virtually to continue our work safely during the pandemic and also be available for groups outside of our geographic area.
RESPECT has provided programs for nearly 600,000 participants since we started and we have cast dozens of actor-educators supporting and benefitting from our talented arts community. RESPECT is a small but powerful organization facilitating changes that make true differences in the lives of others: helping a child report that his uncle is abusing him – helping girls report rape – helping children report that a parent is being abused by another parent – helping students learn how to help others who are being bullied – helping students tell someone they are cutting themselves – helping students know how to tell someone they want to die – helping students know how to make a friend and be a friend. These are skills that last forever. They are invaluable.
OUR GOAL: STAGING CONVERSATIONS
- Provide information about healthy relationships and personal (physical and emotional) boundaries and how to protect these for one’s self and one’s peers
- Demonstrate strategies, problem solving processes, and empathy building
- Provide an opportunity for students to rehearse, practice and model
- Provide community resources available to students, their teachers and parents