works to Stop Bullying
Waking Up the Courage of Young People
Rick Phillips, founder and executive director of Community Matters, www.community-matters.org, was recognized as one of 12 finalists for the 2012 James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award. The James Irvine Foundation is a private, nonprofit grantmaking foundation dedicated to expanding opportunity for the people of California to participate in a vibrant, successful and inclusive society.
A nationally-recognized educator, facilitator, and presenter, Rick is the lead author of: Safe School Ambassadors: Harnessing Student Power to Stop Bullying and Violence and “Ten Years after Columbine: School Violence-Prevention Report Card.” He also co-created the Safe School Ambassadors® program, a youth-involvement, violence-prevention program implemented in nearly 1,000 schools across North America.
Now in its 7th year, the Awards aim to uncover and spotlight breakthrough solutions that have the potential to better the lives of more Californians if policymakers and others expand and replicate these approaches.
Rick says, “I’m honored to receive this prestigious award and to use the $25,000.00 grant to further our approach to continue waking up the courage of young people to stand up and speak up when they see or hear intolerance, incivility and mistreatment of all kinds.”
Despite the best efforts of policymakers and educators, bullying has become a national crisis affecting schools across the U.S. Each day more than 160,000 children stay home from school because they are afraid of being bullied. According to the U.S. Department of Education, each year as many as 900,000 secondary students are cyber-bullied by their peers, often with dire consequences.
Safe School Ambassadors (SSA) is a student-centered program that engages the socially influential leaders of a school’s diverse groups and cliques. SSA equips these young people with powerful, nonviolent communication and intervention skills that lead to: i) a decrease in suspensions, detentions and incidents such as bullying, cyber bullying, harassment and gang-related activities; ii) an increase in attendance, self-confidence and academic performance of students; and iii) increase acceptance and improved relationships among students.
Founded in 1996, Community Matters is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit headquartered in Sebastopol, California. The organization is a national leader in school climate improvement, bullying and violence prevention with a mission to collaborate with schools and communities in creating safe and inclusive environments where all youth and adults thrive. Their groundbreaking work has been featured on the NBC Today Show, CNN, Chicago WGN-TV, NPR and numerous other television programs.