Sheffield Bullying/Violence Prevention
The mothers and children at Sheffield Place demonstrate the pervasive, negative effects of severe trauma. Like their mothers, the children bear deep emotional and often physical scars caused by exposure to pervasive alcohol and drug abuse; domestic violence; sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse; physical and emotional neglect; neighborhood violence; and the trauma of homelessness itself.
Due to the trauma in their lives many of the children at Sheffield Place have the factors that put them at high risk for being bullied and/or bullying. The Bullying/Violence Prevention Project integrates education and skill development to address bullying and violence. The objectives include increasing awareness regarding bullying, teaching skills to combat bullying and empowering children through improved protective factors.
The program also increases the mothers' knowledge of bullying and increase parenting skills.
Sheffield Place • 6604 East 12th Street • Kansas City, MO 64126
816-483-9927 • sheffieldplace.org
2021 COMBAT Funding: $21,000.00
In Sheffield Place's Own Words
For Youth 12-18
Due to the trauma in their lives many of the children at Sheffield Place have the factors that put them at high risk for being bullied and/or bullying. The Bullying/Violence Prevention Project integrates education and skill development to address bullying and violence. The project goal is to decrease bullying and violence. The objectives include increasing awareness regarding bullying, teaching skills to combat bullying and empowering children through improved protective factors.
The program also increases the mothers' knowledge of bullying and increase parenting skills.
The reason for family homelessness can be traced to the severe, chronic and continuous trauma the family has experienced. The mothers and children at Sheffield Place demonstrate the pervasive, negative effects of severe trauma. Like their mothers, the children bear deep emotional and often physical scars caused by exposure to pervasive alcohol and drug abuse; domestic violence; sexual, physical, emotional and verbal abuse; physical and emotional neglect; neighborhood violence; and the trauma of homelessness itself.
In 2019, 98% of the mothers at Sheffield Place had mental health issues; 89% had addiction issues; 94% experienced domestic violence; 39% experienced disruption in childhood (foster care, runaways); and 34% had at least one felony conviction. Their life experiences place them at high risk of a lifetime of adverse mental and physical health outcomes and lives cut short by as much as three decades.
In addition to experiencing family and neighborhood violence, the children at Sheffield Place are high risk for bullying–being bullied, bullying others, or both depending on the circumstances.
Recognizing Risk Factors & Embracing Protective Factors
Through group work and family activities the children will learn about bullying and violence. They will work to recognize risk factors and learn to embrace protective factors. Activities to engage children using bullying prevention messaging include:
- creating songs
- reading books and doing related activities
- role playing
- and more.
The expectations include positive changes in attitude, behavior and skill development. After increasing awareness about bullying and its relationship to family and community violence, changes in behaviors from the children and their mothers are expected. The children are expected to be more empathetic and kind, to refrain from making fun of other children, and to improve their behavior in school and at home.
More Positive Parenting
For the mothers anticipated behavior changes include less yelling, more positive parenting, and less conflict with their children and with other residents. For family units, the anticipated change is that they will enjoying spending time together in a positive, fun way. The activities will improve communication and strengthen family relationships.
Six Pillars of Good Character
Each day the children focus on the Six Pillars of Good Character:
Topics to be addressed include:
- What is bullying?
- Types of bullying
- Bullying vs. conflict
- Why do people bully?
- Cyber bullying
- What can you do about bullying?
New this year is the supportive classroom. The goal is for the children to have a daily school experience that is as close as possible to regular school while the children are in virtual classrooms due to COVID.
The program will be available for families in the residential treatment, aftercare and outpatient programs. The classroom will be in an unused school classroom. The children in the residential program will walk with their mothers to the assigned classroom in the school each morning.
Aftercare/outpatient children will have the opportunity to attend daily and the option to attend part-time depending on their needs and their mother’s work schedules. There will be an individual plan for each child that will address their specific, unique needs.
Bully/violence prevention programming will be part of the daily schedule in the classroom.
Also new this year is guided meditation which will occur in Project Hope (children’s programming area) and in the supportive classroom.
Ripple Kindness Project
Last year the Ripple Kindness Project curriculum was implemented. Ripple Kindness Project uses positive psychology to address anti-social behavior, bullying and exclusion. The curriculum helps replace negative thoughts and actions with positive values and interpersonal skills. The approach is designed to change the individual but also to change the culture and community.
The curriculum is evidence-based and has a three prong approach including
- Social and emotional learning
All to build emotional intelligence and improve well-being.
Responding To Bullying
It is important that adults respond to bullying in an appropriate manner. Positive adult role modeling, mentoring and age-appropriate approaches to kindness, acceptance and inclusion can make a big impact on how children treat each other. The strategy reinforces positive relationships and behaviors and is key to kids getting along, thus preventing bullying.
Cyber-bullying prevention will be a focus this year since the children are spending their entire day online.
This curriculum was a good addition to the Sheffield Place programming because it complements the ongoing bullying/violence prevention curricula and uses mindfulness, an integral part of our approach. Sheffield Place has provided DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) groups for the past nine years, which relies on mindfulness. In July 2020 pre & post testing demonstrated that 56% of children increased their knowledge, 30% remained the same (of those more than half scored 90% or 100%), 14% decreased their knowledge on character traits and bullying.
In addition to the Ripple Kindness Project, the multi-prong approach to addressing bully/violence prevention with high barrier homeless families includes:
For the children 2 to 5 years the curriculum used is The Kindness Curriculum, Stop Bullying Before it Starts by Judith Anne Rice. The project focuses on relationships and diversity and teaches self-control, friendship, and conflict resolution. Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Strategies and the Ripple Kindness Project are currently used.
For the children 6 – 9 years old, Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Strategies are used as well as various books that focus on kindness, positive self-esteem and friendship. After reading a book the children and the mothers do activities and discuss the book. Ripple Kindness Project is also used.
For the kids who are 10 years old and above, “The Bullying Workbook for Teens” and “Bullying from Both Sides” are used. The older kids focus on cliques, gossiping, kindness, exclusion, self-esteem, and cyber bullying. The activities for them have included creating an anti-bullying mural and initiating kindness movements.
Participants of all ages engage in activities like art, role playing, playing games, sharing toys, and making friends. Working together creates relationships and prevents bullying.
Family groups include projects and activities to help the families learn to work together. During the pandemic, family groups included educational activities to model positive ways to support a child’s schooling. The focus was on science and reading. Family groups also provide a way for mothers to learn to play with their kids and develop close relationships. Many of our mothers did not have positive parenting when they were growing up.
The families also participate in safety classes by the Kansas City Police Department. Classes teach safety and awareness. The interaction builds positive relationships with police.
Anti-bullying/violence prevention education is integrated into parenting groups.
A 4 session anti-bullying group based on Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention strategies is part of a targeted Parenting Group, a psycho-educational group based on the parenting needs of mothers. The topics will include:
- Common Views About Bullying
- Cyberbully: What Parents Can Do to Protect their Children
- Recognizing Bullying
- Safety in the Online community: a conversation with your child
- What if your Child is the Bully?
- Working with the School
The four session group will occur 4 times a year. The Parenting Group is weekly. The weekly group works on skills that address bullying prevention and how to address advocating and protecting your child. Other parenting curriculum used that also supports anti-bullying/anti-violence include:
- Without Spanking or Spoiling: A Practical Approach to Toddler and Preschool Guidance by Elizabeth Crary to teach mothers how to avoid behavioral problems, how to increase appropriate behaviors and decrease inappropriate ones, and how to teach new behaviors.
- Materials provided by the ACE Study to teach mothers about the effects of trauma on children.
- The curriculum based on the Nurturing Parenting Program that emphasizes parent/child attachment building with concrete, positive parenting practices developed by Dr. Stephen J. Bavalek.
- The Families in Substance Abuse Treatment & Recovery curriculum (http://healthrecovery.org/publications/detail.php?p=28) to explore mothers’ childhood experiences with substance abuse, their fears and strengths, and how these factors affect parenting.
In addition to the bully/violence prevention group, a parenting group is offered Monday – Friday. Although the focus changes depending on the needs of the families, currently provided groups include:
- Parenting Through Trauma
- Love & Logic
- Parenting: Educating at Home
- Children’s Health
- Parenting: Crisis Management
These are the agencies that have a COMBAT-funded program with a bullying prevention emphasis or component, including Electronic Agression (a.k.a. Cyber Bullying).
Blue Springs Police Department
» Community Outreach Prevention Strategies (COPS)
Blue Springs School District
» Eastern Jackson County Schools Collaborative of Greater Kansas City
Bridge Leadership Academy
» Bridge Anti-Bullying & Life Skills Program
Calvary Community Outreach Network
» Helping Youth Plan For Excellence
Centers for Conflict Resolution
» Reducing Compound Trauma In Hot Spots
DeLaSalle Education Center
» DeLaSalle Violence Prevention
Hickman Mills Prevention Coalition
» Hope Hangout
» Violence Prevention For Jackson County African-American Males
Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey
» AileyCamp & AileyCamp The Group
Kansas City Public Schools
» Defy The Odds Program
Mattie Rhodes Center
» Mattie Rhodes Violence & Intervention Program
» Preschool & Shool-Age Bullying Prevention
» Sheffield Bullying/Violence Prevention