Courtesy Karin Sullivan, OPRF High School
In an effort to encourage conflict resolution, support positive bystander actions, and foster a sense of community, Oak Park and River Forest High School is initiating a school-wide awareness campaign called Students Against Violence Everywhere, or S.A.V.E., March 11-15, 2013. The week was created with input from students, who helped plan a variety of positive lunchtime activities.
The campaign kicks off with an assembly for students on Monday, March 11. Using video, music, roleplaying, and thought-provoking questions, speakers from Alexian Brothers, which offers programming around social-emotional issues, will engage and challenge students on how to prevent violence.
The assembly will be repeated for adults that evening, and all local parents and community members are invited to attend. For parents, the program will include a focus on building children's resiliency and ability to deal with bullying. The adult program takes place Monday, March 11, from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. in the Auditorium.
Messages from the assembly will be reinforced through a variety of activities during the week, including:
- Writing compliments and venting frustrations on a "scrawl wall"
- Participating in a "mix-it-up" lunch where students sit with students they don't know and participate in table discussions guided by student leaders
- Practicing forgiveness and letting go of grudges on Peace Day
- Holding a school-wide fundraiser for Sarah's Inn
The week culminates with "The Starfish Project," a play directed by English teacher Avi Lessing. For the play, students interviewed students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and others about how they understand the role of love and violence in the school community and their own lives—how have they been affected? How do they retain their sense of humanity in the tumult of school? The students are transforming the interviews into monologues that they will perform on the following dates: Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 17, 3:00 p.m.; Monday, March 18, 4:00 and 7:30p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.