I am proud to recommend the Peer Ambassador Program created by Generations Against Bullying (GAB) for any opportunity this organization is seeking.
As the principal serving Greendale High School for twelve years, I have been able to witness both the inception of, and the amazing growth of, GAB.
GAB started in 2012 and began the Peer Ambassador Program in January, 2013. One of my first encounters with GAB was to assist in their planning of a Community Movie Night at our high school in Greendale, WI. The goal of this night centered around increasing awareness about the bullying epidemic in our society and, at the time, what this fledgling organization named GAB could do to assist children and families. To show the “reach” of their program extended well beyond the community of Greendale, GAB collaborated with the Restorative Justice Program within the Milwaukee Public Schools and bussed 225 students to our school to watch the movie and to be part of the night. Former Green Bay Packer Gilbert Brown was the guest speaker at the Movie Night. We had over 500 attendees and it was an eye opener for the entire audience. The night ended with Acappella singers from the Greendale High School Choir singing “Prayers of the Children.” It was a well thought-out evening and a well-run, organized event that helped create awareness about the epidemic of bullying. In short, the night was a wonderful success.
Since that night, I have seen so much growth not only within GAB, but also how their work now focuses on growing student leaders to make this work and its effects sustainable. Over the last five year, the GAB Peer Ambassador pilot program has grown from ten students in the first year to 185 student participants in the present year.
It is inspiring to witness the Peers take on leadership roles to help improve our school climate by addressing the bullying issue and student behavior issues in a positive manner through the GAB Upstander Program. The Peers have made motivational posters that they posted throughout the school and are always available to assist in climate improvement efforts. Students were surveyed at the beginning and the end of the 2016-17 school year and 86% of our students ended the year acknowledging that they have sufficient knowledge regarding how to be an “upstander” who can appropriately intervene in a non-threatening way to mitigate an act of bullying.
With these successes and an infrastructure to support expansion, GAB focuses on planning a process of program replication and offering this experience to other school districts and their students. The dedication of the GAB leadership and their vision will bring improved school climate to more buildings out into the future.
As a principal, I know the students and their trained leadership are the true reason for GAB’s success and am heartened to see that GAB is fully supporting that notion in their future planning. If you have any further questions about his program, do not hesitate to contact me.
Steven J. Lodes Steven J. Lodes
Greendale HS Principal
Greendale High School
Greendale, WI 53129
FAX (414) 423-1667