All the children were glued to the Mirror Image Arts cast. An atmosphere of respect was created, and a safe environment filled the room that welcomed each young person’s uniqueness. Ones that usually misbehave gave their undivided attention to drama that unfolded before them. Youth were taught compassion and kindness learning how to empathize with even the person doing the bullying, who is also worthy.
–Jason R. Takaki (Program Coordinator, Denver Parks and Recreation)


THE ISSUE

The US government estimates that over 70% of students and staff have seen bullying in their schools. Victims of bullying suffer higher rates of behavioral, psychological, and emotional problems that can lead to dangerous consequences such as self-harm and suicide. Those affected fare poorer in school, have lower GPAs and standardized test scores, and are at a higher risk of falling victim to Colorado’s 26% dropout rate. These national and state level statistics alerted us to the severity of the issue. We further defined our programming goals and objectives by this statistic: It has been proven that “when bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds, 57% of the time”.

While we understand that many educators feel it is their job to prevent and respond to instances of bullying, by design, bullying often occurs in settings where adults are not present. Additionally, a new arena of online abuse has emerged in recent years. Cyber-bullying can take place in spaces where adults simply cannot enter.

Our bullying prevention programs are designed to focus on positive behaviors and socio-emotional learning while strengthening leadership qualities in youth. We work with young people in the school year both during the day and after school, as well as, in the summer.

PROGRAM SPECIFICS

“Your Voice Matters”

Build a common language about the bullying system and begin exploring empathy through theatre.
Time: 90 minutes, Single Session
Grades: 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, or 9th-12th grades
# of Youth: 8-50
Our Team: 1 Facilitator and 4 Actors
Cost: Varies

“Finding Your Voice”

Create a community of UPSTANDERS. Young people work with professional actors to deepen their understanding of the complexities of bullying,  to build theatre skills that increase their empathetic capabilities and build confidence as leaders.
Time: 90 minutes, 6-8 Sessions
Grades: 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, or 9th-12th grades
# of Youth: 8-50
Our Team: 2 Facilitators and 4 Actors
Cost: Varies

“Shaping Your Voice”

Continue the learning from “Finding Your Voice” Young People use theatre to practice mindfulness, to deepen understanding of self and how to use empathy in order to take compassionate action.
Time: 90 minutes, 6 Sessions
Grades: 3rd-5th, 6th-8th, or 9th-12th grades (must have participated in “Finding Your Voice”)
# of Youth: 8-50
Our Team: 2 Facilitators and 1 Actor
Cost: Varies

WHAT A PROGRAM LOOKS LIKE

Every program uses a specific series of activities designed and tested to create a safe and inclusive environment that enables participants to open up and explore their thoughts and feelings with dignity, respect, and freedom. We introduce our dramatic characters through a play where several instances of bullying occur. We lead participants through empathy-building exercises where they investigate and learn about our dramatic characters: their backgrounds, their lives, and their relationships. They build skills that enable them to help the characters solve their interpersonal struggles and “rehearse for reality” by applying real-life solutions for each of the characters. Finally, through reflective dialogue, they practically apply their key learnings to their own life.

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