MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- More than 14 area schools are partnering with Youth Frontiers, the leading character education organization in the Upper Midwest, to help junior leaders from the Milwaukee area take ownership to build positive school communities.
Hundreds of 11th grade, select student leaders on Wednesday, April 29th participated in this half-day workshop, which helped them define an action plan to make their schools a positive and safe place. The retreat helps build community among students while teaching them to take responsibility for responding to the needs of peers and the greater school community.
"We want to challenge these juniors, these 11th graders, to make our world better, to make our community better, to make our schools better," said Joe Cavanaugh the CEO and Founder of Youth Frontiers.
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More than seven percent of high school students skip school every month because they fear for their safety, according to the Center for Disease Control’s 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance. Schools understand that something needs to be done to change the way kids treat one another.
Each one of these kids has a cell phone and that means they have apps like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat at their fingertips, which they say makes bullying worse, because the bully can just hide behind a screen.
"Social media is the worst. Doesn't matter what site you are on, there is going to be bullying," said Allie Amato a junior at Brookfield East High School.
But as they learn about respect, the hope is students will make good choices.
"To all the people out there that are bullied now, I feel like they need a person there to help them because not everyone has a person there to help them," said Jordyn Searcy a junior at Milwaukee Community Cyber High School.
Last year, the nationally renowned nonprofit held 766 retreats for 118,000 students and educators. Since its inception, Youth Frontiers has reached more than 1.4 million through its character development programs.