October 2013 Newsletter
Dear Friends and Fans of RESPECT,
What exactly does a RESPECT program do? Our educational theatre programs and conversations encourage students to think about what they value in themselves and in their relationships, to stop and think about how they can best take care of themselves and others and problem solve a variety of healthy relationship skills and strategies while using supportive resources throughout our community!
While October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, here at RESPECT, every month is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Even so, RESPECT has never been busier than we are right now. We have about 150 programs completed, in process or scheduled for the 2013-14 year. We have done more training and workshops than ever before in a single year, working with teachers, supervisors, administrators, parents all while pulling together components of forum theatre, best practice knowledge and techniques about healthy relationships and collaborative learning.
We are working with Ralston Public Schools to bring programming to every school building in the district, but we’re not stopping there. In addition to participating in programs, students are being asked to share their ideas about bullying to be part of a Community Awareness Campaign and to help RESPECT develop new materials. Students are also participating in pre and post program surveys and evaluations so we can gague both the effectiveness of our programs and determine what new learning points we need to include.
We are interacting with children of all ages throughout the schools of OPS, McCook, Pierce, Beatrice, O’Neill and Center City. RESPECT is presenting with and for many community partners: Omaha Public Library; Partnership 4 Kids; Mosaic; Building Bright Futures; Open Door Mission; Project Everlast; the Hope Center; Girls Inc; Project Harmony; Girls and Boys Club. We’ve been to camps, synagogues, churches, parochial and private schools, youth centers and after school programs. More than ever we are working to “Stage Conversations” with students, families and communities.
We have honestly never worked harder or done better work! Check out our web site, calendar and Facebook page. Email or call me. Attend a program. Find a way to facilitate more RESPECT into our community because every action counts!
Patricia Newman, PhD
This month, RESPECT introduced Austin, our newest actor-educator, to our audiences. Austin has appeared in shows at The Rose, the Omaha Community Playhouse, and others. You’ll be seeing him in our performances of Teaming Up for grades 4-6 and Cracked But Not Broken for high school audiences. He’s a quick study and a talented actor, and we’re overjoyed to have him aboard.
One of the most exciting things we did this past month was to revisit the format of our Community Advisory Committee meetings. In addition to the opportunity always present at our CAC meetings to network and see what other organizations are up to, Artistic Director, Greg Harries and Education Director, Ilana Weiss worked together to build a format that would both showcase RESPECT’s work, and also highlight one of our partner organizations.
For our kick-off CAC meeting this year, we featured the Domestic Violence Council. We performed selected scenes from our teen dating violence program, Cracked But Not Broken, interspersed with Q&A sections from the DVC’s Kim Carpenter and our own Dr. Patricia Newman. We then had a bonus scene where attendees could address how to approach counseling with a perpetrator of intimate partner violence. This new format allows CAC members to dig deeper into the current issues that we face as organizations and professionals who work to promote healthy relationships.
Of course, we’re still booking plenty of shows, and while our calendar is filling quickly, we hope to visit as many different schools as possible to contribute to their vital work on the topics we address.
Featured Resource: Adults Aren’t Sole Victims of Domestic Violence
The Omaha World Herald reports on intimate partner violence among teenagers stating that “9.4 percent of high school students reported being hit, slapped or physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend in the 12 months prior to a national intimate partner and sexual violence survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2010.” RESPECT’s Executive Director, Dr. Patricia Newman is interviewed in the article sharing her take on this alarming trend.
Frequently Asked Question: My pre-schooler often tells me everything that other kids in his class did wrong. How can I stop him from being a “tattle-tale.”
We always want our children to talk with us about their day to day experiences. If they are simply sharing their experience about something that happened to them, it is probably just that and not considered “tattling.” Nearly always parents and teachers know their children and students well enough that they have a good idea if the child is asking for help and wants them to get involved in stopping another child’s behavior and why. It’s important to use your knowledge of an individual child’s history of behavior and relating to others as well as the situation to make that determination.
Depending on your interpretation of their intent you might just nod and express your interest as they share the events of their day. You might just say something like “It sounds like you handled that well!” (And then move on to the next topic.) Or you may need to clarify what they want or need. Some ideas of what you might say, depending on the situation are:
- “Michael took your football, but you did a great job getting it back by yourself. I don’t think you need my help with Michael since it seems like you have it covered! What do you think?”
- “If you keep having problems with Michael at recess, can you let me or a teacher know? I like that you handled it yourself, but I am here for you if you need help.”
- “Sounds like Michael had a bad day and he didn’t get to play with the football. It seems like he had enough consequences for the day. What do you think.”
- “You know, I kind of wonder if since Michael is bugging you a lot you might kind of want to get him in trouble a bit? It’s normal to be frustrated with someone, but you took care of it and this could really could be considered tattling. What do you think about that?”
By distinguishing between tattling and reporting we are not trying to prevent kids from talking with us but to encourage them to manage a challenging situation on their own and to avoid using a relationship with us to have a negative consequence on another child. (At some point, such behavior can look much like social bullying or relational aggression!)