CONNECT CAMPAIGN – Friends Connect Friends to Help

 

The purpose of the CONNECT CAMPAIGN is to create positive social norming that breaks down codes of silence, secrecy requests, and increases help seeking. This is accomplished by creating space and opportunities for students and staff to share stories of times they either got connected in a time of difficulty, or connected someone else who they saw was struggling. As in all Sources of Strength campaigns, the goal is to create opportunities for the general population to ENGAGE, INTERACT, and APPLY the principles to their own lives and personal context. By creating space to tell personal stories of connection, the CONNECT CAMPAIGN contextualizes and normalizes help seeking and the importance of getting connected during difficult times.

Steps to running a CONNECT CAMPAIGN:

In a Peer Leader follow up meeting, follow the three ingredients to success of one part fun + one part sharing + one part planning.

One Part Fun

There are a number of games that could illustrate a teaching point around connection. For example, you could run Human Knot, Yarn Knot, Walk Around Cool, or Hog Call and make a light and easy teaching point about the importance of connection in our lives, the importance of asking for help, using our voice, etc.

One Part Sharing

Pass out the CONNECT CAMPAIGN cards and give the students instructions to think about and write down a story of a time “I GOT CONNECTED” by someone who reached out and provided help or guidance or support. Or, briefly describe a time “I CONNECTED” when they helped connect someone to help, resources, or services. Encourage them to keep stories of connecting others confidential so we are not broadcasting someone else’s difficulty; we can use general terms like “I CONNECTED my friend/brother/another student, etc.”

Give the Peer Leaders and Adult Advisors about five minutes to think about and write this story. Then have them turn to someone next to them or form small groups and share about their connection story. It is important that Peer Leaders are able to internalize the campaigns and the Sources of Strength in their lives, thus making the campaign much more powerful and impactful.

One Part Planning

Spend some time talking about the CONNECT CAMPAIGN and how you can engage the rest of the school or community in sharing stories of getting connected, of asking for help, of providing help, and of connecting to counselors, teachers, friends, spirituality, medical or mental health care, etc.

You can use the CONNECT CARDS, colorful yarn, and pushpins or tape to create a powerful visual wall display around the importance and extensiveness of connection in your school. Give students and adults in your school the CONNECT CARDS and have them write their stories of getting connected or connecting someone else. Collect and review these cards for appropriateness and confidentiality.

Once you have many positive cards, have your Peer Leaders create a web of connection by taping or pinning a CONNECT CARD and piece of yarn to the wall. Run the yarn to another point on the wall and pin the yarn again with another CONNECT CARD. Continue in this fashion until you have a vast display of stories of connection that are all connected by the thread of yarn, creating a powerful visual art display. This can help facilitate conversation and reflection and serves as a normalizing tool that says, “In our school, we get help, we ask for help, we are connected and we connect one another to help when needed”. Consider posting resources for connection next to the wall display so students can find who their counselor is and how they can connect with them. You may also consider posting some photos along with the connect cards (like a Polaroid of the people involved) to add some depth and personality to the display.

You can supplement the connect campaign with social media posts about connection using the hashtag #CONNECTCAMPAIGN, through classroom presentations, or even by creating smaller displays in individual classrooms, through connection nights or events at the school, and any number of other incredible and creative ideas you come up with. Don’t forget to share your Connect walls and campaign ideas with us on our social media channels by hashtagging #sourcesofstrength 

 

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