While we’ve been talking about the HOP Mobile Safe Space (MSS) Program for a few months now, behind the scenes about a dozen adult members of our community have been training to be MSS Volunteers, ready and willing to start helping all community members.
If you are a parent or teacher at HOP, now is the time when we need your help to spread the word about the program. With your cooperation, we can ensure that the children at HOP know how to identify Volunteers and can access the help they need when they need it.
Please read the following FAQ and share the information with your children that attend HOP, in whatever age-appropriate manner makes sense to you. With your help, we can make HOP a more welcoming, cooperative, and loving community for all families.
Mobile Safe-Space FAQ
What will the Mobile Safe-Space Volunteers be doing at HOP?
HOP MSS Volunteers have four tasks:
- Speaking up – whenever they encounter unkindness, bullying, or hurtful language or actions.
- Listening – when students need someone to talk to.
- Assisting community members who wish to report a bullying incident or are seeking help.
- Being Visible – so that all members of our community can spot a MSS Volunteer when they need one.
How have your MSS Volunteers been trained?
Our Volunteers have been working hard to learn about many issues, including:
- Constructive ways to intervene when they observe unkindness and bullying.
- Ways to actively respond when bigotry is encountered.
- The many forms of bigotry and hate that occur in society, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, ableism, ageism, and other types of discrimination.
- How to be an ally to LGBTQ people.
- How to be an ally to People of Color.
- How to be a good listener when someone needs support.
Volunteers were provided with learning materials from a diverse array of organizations, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, PFLAG, Teaching Tolerance, and GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network). They also attended a training session and have pledged to continue learning more and examining themselves while they are MSS Volunteers.
What is a Safe-Space?
A safe-space is a place where violence, harassment, or hate speech targeting marginalized groups is not tolerated. It is also a place where people can communicate their experiences as a member of a marginalized group in an environment that encourages respect, understanding, dignity, and self-expression.
What is a Mobile Safe-Space?
In a Mobile Safe Space Program, adults are trained to function as safe-spaces and safe people to talk to for students in the community that need help.
What benefits will my child get from the HOP Mobile Safe-Space Program?
Your child may benefit by:
- Being able to locate a helpful adult during times of stress, especially when you are not within hearing/sight distance.
- Having multiple adults to go to when they have a concern.
- Knowing which adults are experienced in reporting bullying or harassment incidents.
- Seeing our Volunteers in action when they speak out against unkindness and hate, thus having an example of how to speak out themselves.
- Knowing that our HOP community welcomes and supports all people, irrespective of sex, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, abilities, age or background.
- The feeling of safety that comes with knowing that bullying, harassment, and bigotry will not be tolerated or ignored, and that HOP is committed to welcoming diversity, affirming diverse identities, and fighting for acceptance and equality for all.
How can MSS Volunteers be identified?
Volunteers will be wearing silicone bracelets that identify them as trained Volunteers.
Who are the current MSS Volunteers?
To see a list of current volunteers for the semester, please go here.
How can I help my child to access this program?
The most important thing you can do is to talk to your children about this program and introduce your child to the Volunteers.
Here are some ideas for how to talk to your kids about the program:
- Discuss what bullying and harassment are.
- Ask your children to speak up when they encounter bullying or mean language or actions. If they can’t speak up, tell them to find an adult to help.
- Model how to speak up when you witness injustice.
- Show your children a picture of the bracelets that our Volunteers wear (see picture above) so that they can feel confident in finding and approaching our Volunteers for help.
- Read over the HOP Policy on Bullying and Harassment with your child and let them know that MSS Volunteers can help them report incidents or help them by moderating interpersonal conflicts.
- Let your children know that MSS Volunteers are friendly people that they can approach for help.
We appreciate all the support we have had so far for the HOP Mobile Safe-Space Program. If anyone has any questions about the program, please contact the MSS Program Coordinator, Trish Laszlo.