Safety and Wellness

Safety and Wellness provides health and intervention specialists to work with schools and local organizations to create and sustain opportunities for improving health, safety and wellness. The safety and wellness staff has introduced opportunities for increasing physical activities and nutrition at schools. They’ve also raised awareness about teen dating violence and prevention. Their efforts help to create a safe and healthy environment in the schools and community. The safety and wellness staff collaborates with all of the Promise Neighborhood initiatives to achieve their results.

  • Students are healthy
  • Students feel safe at school and in their community
  • Students live in stable communities

Safe Dates: Teen Dating Violence Awareness in the Neighborhood

DSC_0016Many schools and organizations in the U.S. have adopted Safe Dates an Adolescent Dating Abuse Prevention curriculum. Safe Dates informs and ignites conversations about the awareness and deterrence of teen dating domestic violence. In addition to Owsley County, the Safe Dates project has been reproduced in the Clay and Jackson counties. Frankie Baldwin, Junior at Owsley County High School, was interested in filming and made contact with Promise Neighborhood artist, Bob Martin, who was Director for the Safe Dates film. After reading the Safe Dates Script, Baldwin says she was taken aback. She felt like if she and Martin could adapt the script for Owsley County, students would learn and benefit from the film . 

DSC_0026Baldwin was right she accepted the role as Assistant Director. As Assistant Director, Baldwin got support in the schools for casting, practicing and filming. In her free time she made contact with cast members to go over their lines and help develop the characters. Baldwin says, after casting they rehearsed for five days. “When the time came, I helped get the whole crew ready to film from bell-to-bell,” which is equivalent to one full school day of recording.

Safe Dates is normally performed as a play, but Baldwin and Martin believe the film method is best for screening and sharing for years to come. Baldwin hopes to continue working on Safe Dates for as long as she can. Baldwin says, “I loved being assistant Director for Safe Dates! I would jump at the opportunity to do more film work…I plan on doing many more projects in my time left here at Owsley County High School.” DSC_0110

Although the purpose of Safe Dates is to ignite conversations about teenage dating violence, when asked about the importance of combining art with topics like teenage domestic violence, Baldwin says, “It’s so very important to combine these topics to really get students interested in the bigger picture. When you have students reading drab old articles, students lose their interests in the real topic at hand. By giving them this message through film, it will be a much better form of drawing their attention to what’s really important: teenage dating violence.” Statistics show that 1 in 3 students in the U.S have been a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner, and nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year http://www.teendvmonth.org/research.*

Baldwin expresses the importance of topics such as teen dating violence. She voices her opinion by stating, “Because many teenagers don’t know if what they’re going through is normal or not, they don’t know whether or not they should speak out about what they see going on, or what they may be going through. I think that if students see a serious play, done by students they know and admire, that they will be more apt to be an ally and speak about the injustices done to themselves and their classmates.” Baldwin has witnessed teen dating domestic violence among her peers and believes that Safe Dates will give people the courage to stand up and speak out.

Baldwin is not only active at OCHS. She runs a bible study group before school every week and is a youth leader with her church’s youth group during the weekend. She is a percussionist in the school band, a member of the Beta Club and a member of Destination Imagination team at OCHS. Baldwin not only excels in projects, and leadership skills, but most importantly as a student, being accepted into The Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, a residential program for bright highly motivated students.

Although this program is meant to be two years, Baldwin spent one semester at the academy. While there, she participated in a research project called Genome Discovery and Exploration, and had the opportunity to isolate and characterize her own bacteriophage, as well as participate in many high school and collegiate clubs. Baldwin says, “Gatton was a great experience for me, it just wasn’t exactly where I belonged.”

As for the viewing of the Safe Dates play, Baldwin, Martin, cast members and a teenage dating violence advocate plan to take the film to individual classrooms’ to promote a healthy environment where students can talk and ask questions about what they have seen. The screening will take place at the end of April and will continue to be screened during the consecutive school year. If you can’t make it to the screening you can watch the video here.

 Safe Dates Group

*Resources for statistics in article:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Physical Dating Violence Among High School Students—United States, 2003,”Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, May 19, 2006, Vol. 55, No. 19.

Davis, Antoinette, MPH. 2008. Interpersonal and Physical Dating Violence among Teens. The National Council on Crime and Delinquency Focus. Available at http://www.nccd-crc.org/nccd/pubs/2008_focus_teen_dating_violence.pdf.

Staff works toward safety for all students

September is Recovery Month and the Promise Neighborhood Recovery Coaches have taken advantage of opportunities to spread the news about Students Signing Banner at OCHS with Thomas, Sue, and Maleiabecoming substance-free. They set up tables in the neighborhood high schools and in the Jackson County Courthouse to encourage people to sign a pledge to be alcohol-free and drug-free during September. They also offered resources related to addiction recovery.

This effort is part of Promise Neighborhood’s safety work. “The safety work we do involves ensuring that students feel safe at school as well as going to and from school,” says Jennie Pollard, Associate Director of Safety and Health. “Part of this is assisting families with reunification in family court which brings stability to student’s home life.”