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Student Video Had Immediate Impact
Home Page Photo Student Video Had Immediate Impact

By Howard W. Voigt
Director of Information

The impact of resources produced by League staff for member schools isn’t always readily apparent.
Here is a case in point proving that the desired impact was not only achieved, but may have actually saved a student’s life.

SAVE is a national organization with the simple purpose of raising awareness that with education and the proper resources, suicide can be prevented. The acronym stands for Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. SAVE approached the League with a request to partner with the organization and the Minnesota Department of Health to sponsor a competition for students to produce a video with the theme of "Be That Friend" to depict how teens can intervene and help each other.

The League informed member schools about the competition and provided parameters for entries. Thirteen schools submitted script proposals and three were selected for full production. Breckenridge High School’s entry was chosen the winner and both a six-minute version and 60-second PSA were posted on both the SAVE (www.SAVE.org) and League Web sites. League member schools were encouraged to use the videos and support materials in the best way possible to reach all students.

One activities director worked with guidance personnel at the school to arrange for a presentation of the six-minute video, as well as follow-up discussion, in every English class at the school because every student has an English class this semester.

Here is a portion of the May 4 e-mail that the activities director sent to League staff:

"All of our teachers were prepped on this and our English teachers were given a script to introduce the video and then supplied with help cards to hand out to students after the video with key contacts and phone numbers listed.
"Additionally, we sent a voicemail out to all homes just alerting parents to what we were doing (and NOT doing) to try to quell any rumors.
"Just got a call from one of our guidance counselors and this morning a young lady came down and said, ‘You don’t know how timely this video is – I am in real trouble and I need some help….’ "
"I hope that our member schools are taking advantage of this great tool."
To me, the key word there is "timely." The message was delivered to one girl at the right time. I don’t know for sure, but it may have saved her from taking her own life. I trust that she and those who love and care about her appreciate the fact that the message was "timely."

The very next day the activities director sent another e-mail:
"Just had a senior girl come down to discuss the video. She has good friends at one of our conference schools and they have just experienced a student suicide in their high school. My student wanted to know how she could help get other schools to make sure they showed the video and had the conversation with students.
"Long story, short – I’ve made copies of our script that we’re using before and after the video and I’ll attach the "help cards" that we’re using and I’ll give them out tomorrow to our … conference member schools – we have a joint meeting with ADs and Principals.
"Obviously, I will remind them of the link to the videos on the League Web site.
"Additionally, my student was going to try to join with her friends and approach the admin or the counselors in this affected school and try to get the video out there for the remaining students.
"I think we struck a nerve and I’m sure other schools have experienced the same thing."

Gratifying is too simple a word to really express my feeling that with simple determination, coordination and cooperation, a valuable tool developed to simply create awareness and its "timely" delivery may have turned one girl’s life around, perhaps even prevented her from letting depression lead to suicide.

My plea to the administrators of our member schools is to somehow take advantage of this powerful tool before school ends for the year. Its impact is evident already. Don’t take the chance of waiting to use the resource after it is too late.

Links to both the full-length and 60-second videos appear below and may be downloaded.       
Download the 60-second PSA Download the full version

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