What’s the conference about?
This annual conference, led by West Valley high school students, inspires students to Speak Up, Stand Up and Save a Life by emphasizing peer intervention and reporting: if one student is in trouble another student needs to intervene and tell a trusted adult. It also seeks to dispel the stigma of being a “snitch” or a “tattletale” by informing students that reporting warning signs can often prevent school tragedies. By changing their mindsets, the conference empowers students to make a difference and take actions that could save another student’s life.
The attendees come up with their own implementation ideas and ways to communicate to a trusted adult when they notice cries for help in areas such as bullying, cyber-bullying, drug addiction, depression, and ongoing threats against others. Following the conference, students bring their ideas into the schools and encourage peers to Speak Up, Stand Up, and Save a Life. Another important component of this movement is to ensure that trusted adults like parents, teachers, and police officers properly collect, report information and make connections with appropriate resources as needed.
The Speak Up Stand Up Save a Life movement bridges the gap between our local community, the government, and law enforcement in a positive way. The conference team consists of four members, representing four sectors (Government, Education, Business and Non-Profit) along with members of the local police departments, teachers, parents and student facilitators all coming together to tackle real issues facing our schools.
You can propel this movement forward by using #CareEnough and #DifferenceMaker on social media.
Valley schools have suffered too many tragedies involving our kids. Many times there were warning signs other kids saw, but no one was either willing or knew how to take action.
– Gina Godbehere, Co-founder
How it began and what to expect
The idea for the conference was created through Leadership West Class XXII, where Gina Godbehere of the Maricopa County Attorney Office connected with Pendergast Elementary School District Superintendent Dr. Lily Matos DeBlieux and Strategic Business expert, Jennifer Rogers with GCON Inc. The three women saw the need and believed that real change for these issues could be achieved for students locally through a solution-oriented youth conference.
The conference will offer students a chance to hear from local and national speakers on the difficult issues they face on a daily basis both inside and outside of school. Breakout sessions will also allow them to discuss and brainstorm ideas on how to help their schools increase each students ability to speak out when they see behavior that could be harmful to another student from bullying, to substance abuse and even suicide.
What makes this youth conference unique is the outreach offered to the adults. For those in attendance, they will have their own breakout sessions. These sessions will bring together school instructors alongside law enforcement members and government leadership to talk about how they can communicate better with students. For those not at the conference, there will be three different resource nights offered across the Valley for those looking to learn more on helping students facing difficult issues and will offer information on the programs and resources available in the area.
The media is invited to attend the conference, with a recommended arrival time of 10:30am.