Our Approach

To form a long-term plan to combat both violence and substance abuse in a serious way, and raise academic test results, we should make certain that:

  • Their is a plan that should be transparent so that every citizen can see what is planned and what they can do to help;
  • Anti-violence and anti-addiction nonprofit groups, foundations, businesses should find common ground to form a mutual plan that backs a long term approach to reduce violence and addiction through education;
  • Led by the community first and foremost, our elected officials should be encouraged to communicate to the public that a long-term approach would assist in allowing children the opportunity to learn with less distraction.

Let’s use the existing infrastructure of the schools to educate young people in habits of thinking that improve the chances of leading a violence and addiction-free life,.

  • Educate both the public and our political leaders that a long-term plan must be in put place as a priority if we hope to win our battle with crime and addiction.
  • Educate both the public and our political leaders about the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL) because of how it changes behaviors that concern and cost our society so much.
  • Educate both the public and our political leaders that violence and substance abuse has an effect on all citizens in the state – if not personally touched by the grief caused to the survivors, then certainly financially, as a family of four spends $4000.00 a year to support the $6.5 billion that is spent each year on just these two issues (based on 2009 estimate of Massachusetts population of 6,593,587).

The plan:

  • Use safe and supportive schools to teach the social and emotional control skills necessary to reduce violence and addictions;
  • Have children develop and practice strategies that result in community service, conflict resolution and mediation;
  • Learn and use a social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum to teach how to manage emotions and control thought so it becomes a habit;
  • Train our teachers in SEL paid for by Title II professional development program funds, Social Impact Bonds and other grants to help reduce the financial consequences of violence and addictions ($6.5 billion annually);
  • Conduct workshops and educate the community in SEL skills to support the schools and improve the quality of life in Massachusetts;
  • Require SEL training for all earning degrees in teaching, thereby reducing the cost of training substantially.

Action Steps:

  • at home by learning and using the material on our site as well as other sources;
  • by telling your friends, colleagues and family about SEL and how it can reduce violence and addictions;
  • by helping to give out information about SEL, including posters and flyers to local businesses to display;
  • by encouraging our elected officials to promote, implement and measure results from SEL programming in order to make our streets safe, our schools meaningful and our society more positive.