Violence Prevention Partnership
“Violence is a learned behavior. Like all learned behaviors, it can be changed.”
The Midland County Violence Prevention Partnership’s mission is to actively promote the safety and well-being of its citizens by preventing youth violence through awareness, education, collaboration, and involvement.
Since 1998, roughly 12,000 students are impacted each year by the Violence Prevention Partnership.
Prevention is the Key
Youth violence is not a new problem in our society. While most think this is just a “big city” problem, it also has crept its way into the backyards of hometown families. The Midland County Violence Prevention Partnership realizes the urgency of this epidemic and agrees with the American Medical Association in that “More school suspensions and more prisons are not the answer. The answer, rooted in public health, is prevention.” The Midland County Violence Prevention Partnership helps our young people through engaging communities and building awareness of the issues young people could face on a daily basis. Education and awareness are two key partners in prevention.
Intercepting a problem before young people can act upon their negative ideas or intentions is key. It shows young people that violence isn’t the answer to their problems. By offering more positive solutions, it can help steer kids in the right direction before they make a decision that could negatively affect them for the rest of their lives. Since the program was developed in 1998, it has committed to engaging young people in ways that will curb violence and promote unity.
How Do We Work?
The Midland County Violence Prevention Partnership of the Midland Area Community Foundation works to eliminate violence and promote kindness among youth in our communities. We interact with city officials, community leaders, youth service organizations, schools, and families to identify areas on which to focus to be most efficient. Through these various relationships, a number of programs have been established and supported to help in the effort to keep youth violence to a minimum. These programs include:
Week of Nonviolence
This event seeks to engage all school-age children in Midland County as participants in a week-long campaign that addresses the issue of youth violence in its many forms. The week is filled with activities such as student assemblies and special presentations. Each participating school chooses a team of students that decide what events take place and the means by which they are going to build awareness among their peers.
During our annual student leadership conference, 5th – 12th-grade students are invited to take part in a workshop to develop an action plan for the Week of Nonviolence. This ensures students are involved from the very beginning and helps us cover the topics they care about.
During Book Read days, trained middle school and high school students come to Kindergarten, first and second-grade classrooms to read a book and present an age-appropriate anti-violence and kindness message.
Each spring, purple and orange flowers are planted at middle school and elementary buildings. At the middle school level, they represent suicide prevention. For grade school students, we focus on kindness to self.
Cyber Safety Presentations
At the fourth-grade level, we talk to students about the importance of protecting their information online. They learn to think more before sharing on social media, what cyber-bullying is and ways to prevent it, and navigating the Internet and social media safely.
Break Out Presentations
For fifth-graders, we offer a “break out” session, covering healthy relationships with peers, cyber safety, and controlling anger.
In each elementary and secondary public school in Midland County, age-appropriate monthly announcements are read with a new theme each month. We cover topics that the students have identified themselves and reported to be an issue. For each topic, we provide an example to help illustrate the message.