Waukee High School students honored at Mentors in Violence Prevention luncheon
Eleven school districts were recognized for their implementation of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program at the MVP School District Luncheon on April 6 at the Botanical Garden Conference Center in Des Moines.
Gov. Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds and Verizon representatives Michael McDermott and Meagan Dorsch presented Waukee High School seniors Katie Wempen and Susanne Lupkes and juniors Grant Whitaker and Zach Breit with recognition plaques.
The MVP program teaches bystanders to intervene in situations concerning mental, physical and social health. These situations range from dating violence, sexual harassment, bullying, consent, texting abuse, sexist jokes, emotional abuse, relationship pressures and/or alcohol and drug use.
According to UNI’s Center for Violence Prevention Office, there is high value in focusing on the bystander in potentially harmful situations. “A bystander approach focuses on increasing community member’s receptivity to prevention… It moves from an individual approach to one that helps all community members become more sensitive to issues of sexual/gender violence and teaching them skills to intervene…”
This year, Waukee High School MVP student representatives implemented bystander intervention lessons in sophomore advisories. Each advisory lesson consists of an introduction to the assigned concept and potential situations where students learn to react. So far, the lessons have centered around social media and texting abuse.
Wempen, one of the four students to attend the luncheon said the MVP program is essential to high school life. “MVP tries to reflect the larger problems in society and make students aware of how those norms impact them,” she said.
MVP also prepares high school students to enter a college environment through interpersonal education and introducing new ways to better themselves and their surroundings, Wempen said.
Whitaker commented on how MVP has impacted him personally. “Even though we try to be accepting, there are stereotypes we all need to overcome… The message of MVP is to be better.”
Student representatives hope to continue the MVP program and teach different lessons at least once per month in sophomore advisories.
The Waukee Community School District is dedicated to optimizing individual learning and potential for success in a global community. The MVP program seeks to empower students to be leaders through emotional and interpersonal intelligence.