Organization Name: RESPECT

Mission: Building Healthy Relationships Using Theatre and Community Collaboration

Funded Program Description: “Preventing Bullying & Strengthening Mental Health Through Theatre” Thanks to The Kim Foundation’s grant, RESPECT is providing more than 20 educational theatre programs and workshops in schools districts within ESU 16 centered around North Platte and Ogallala. A first set of programs were provided during September and RESPECT will return to the area to work with the same students with more intensive programming in the spring. Focused on bullying and the impact it has on mental health, the fall programs presented to the students were “Reporting,” (high school), “Choices” (middle school), and “Between the Lines” (intermediate grades). “Reporting” and “Between the Lines” have a significant focus on the different types of bullying: verbal, physical, social, and cyber. “Choices” centered on topics of suicide, depression, self-harm, and dating violence. The first portion of each program presents an educational play during which participants learn important information in an engaging way that can maintain their interest and motivates them to want to discuss the program. During the second half, students interact with RESPECT’s actor-educators, RESPECT’s Executive Director, Dr. Patricia Newman, and school counselors, through role-play activities and discussion as they ask questions and problem-solve situations that may come up in their own lives. In all, over 1,500 students benefited from the interactive educational theatre and panel discussion assemblies in Maxwell, Perkins County, Mullen, and Hershey, Nebraska this last fall. A portion of students are participating in pre and post evaluations to determine the effectiveness of this initiative as it related to the impact on how they feel and respond when confronted with bullying behaviors.

Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: This program is a replica of a similar effort funded by The Kim Foundation last year which took place in ESU 7 area schools. After seeing the programs for themselves and the results of the students’ evaluations which demonstrated increased social skills and decreased internalizing and externalizing mental health symptoms, school administrators in that area have asked RESPECT to return this year with additional programs.

Other Comments: We are so thankful to The Kim Foundation for their generous support. Without their funding, it is difficult for groups outside of the Omaha area to afford bringing these programs into their schools. We are additionally appreciative of their training and website resources that we use ourselves and share with others.

Contact Information: Dr. Patricia Newman, Executive Director or 402-965-1425