Tag Archives: University of Southern California

Trying to Change Social Norms: Start Strong’s Admirable Efforts to Decrease Violence in Schools

*This blog post was previously written when I worked at The Prevention Researcher on March 14, 2011 while I was in graduate school at the University of Southern California and was asked to analyze a policy for one of my courses.  Changing Norms & School Policy

Exposure to violence in relationships, families, and communities influences children and adolescents.  Adolescent intimate partner violence (IPV) can impede students achieving their academic goals, compromise their physical and mental health, and in extreme cases, result in injury (Schaeffer, Lee, Gallopin, Rosewater, Vollandt, Rosenbluth, et al., n.d.).  IPV touches the lives of every person in the U.S. in one way or another.  There are serious ramifications for adolescent IPV victims that include higher risks for substance abuse, eating disorders, risky sexual behavior, suicide and the likelihood that IPV will continue in their adult relationships (National Teen Dating Violence Prevention Initiative, 2006).  Dating in early adolescence often occurs in the context of peer relationships, which often happens in the schools (n.d.).  With 30% of adolescents worrying about their personal physical safety in a relationship, one in four feeling pressured to date, and 14% reporting they would do almost anything to keep a boyfriend or girlfriend, the need for preventive policies have become more apparent (Teen Research Unlimited, 2006).  While it is hard to say exactly how many adolescents have been affected by IPV, there have been projections that approximately 400,000 adolescents have been victim to IPV (Jouriles, Platt, & McDonald, 2009).

Last week our Associate Editor, Colette Kimball, introduced the Start Strong school policy (A School Policy to Increase Student Safety: The Promote Healthy Relationships and Prevent Dating Violence Through Improved School Climate) in her blog post.  The Prevention Researcher was excited to hear about all the progress this initiative has made; we’d like to provide an in depth look at this school policy and the unique approach this policy takes.

The Start Strong school policy takes a preventive approach on establishing a positive social climate, where positive relationships are expected and reinforced by everyone on the school premises (Schaeffer, Lee, Gallopin, Rosewater, Vollandt, Rosenbluth, et al., n.d.).  The authors of this policy believe investing in the prevention of violence requires:  defining and teaching core behavioral expectations and skills utilizing evidence-based curricula; acknowledging and rewarding appropriate behavior (e.g., compliance to school rules, and safe, respectful peer-to-peer interactions); and establishing a consistent continuum of consequences for problem behavior (n.d.).  These requirements are consistent with other existing school-wide interventions, such as School-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports and Positive Youth Development, which aim to improve discipline in schools (Ohser, Bear, Sprague, & Doyle, 2010).



California Road Trip

I made the trek to Los Angeles and back with my Ma for graduation.  What a fantastic time full of family, friends, and fantastic weather.  There was more than 28 hours of total driving with two stops in Sacramento as well as time in Studio City, Pasadena, Upland, as well as Los Angeles.  Here are just a few captures in a very meaningful journey through my birth state.

Path at Aunt Wanda's

Path at Aunt Wanda’s


Aunt Wanda’s front porch 5/16/13


IMGP3885USC Shrine Auditorium Ceiling USC Shrine Auditorium Ceiling Graduation Night 5/17/13

Street Medicine: Person Centered Approach

Just about to finish my masters of social work at the University of Southern California. Each week we have a little over an hour of videos and online content to cover before we go to class. Today I had the opportunity to watch a documentary about an organization called Street Medicine, which you all can watch too. I found out this organization was started by Dr. Jim Withers who dressed as a homeless person in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in order to make medical visits to homeless. My undergraduate degree was at Chatham University in Pittsburgh so I really enjoyed learning this. This particular video takes place in Los Angeles. I found out more about Street Medicine, whose website is also on WordPress.

I especially like the approach of Street Medicine because they use a person centered approach, which includes being accessible to folks who otherwise may not see a doctor.  Watching the video you see the staff members in plain clothes, the doctor has a back pack and they drive a van together to meet with folks.  They talk about encouraging folks to go to their clinic if they need, or taking folks to the ER if that is necessary.  In working with one man, they understand that first they must meet his wishes of getting a shower and clothes before they can get him to agree to go to the hospital for a large facial abscess that they believe could be life threatening  if not treated soon.  They are so patient with him and answer all of his questions and are willing to sit with him in the ER waiting room.

Using a person centered approach in the medical field means using user friendly language, listening openly to what the patient has to say, is concerned about, and approaching them in a way that shows respect  in the most dignified way possible.  This got me thinking about a past client I had, a single father who was raising two teenage sons who were homeless when I met them.  I remember being impressed by their creativity, humor, musical talents, and dreams for the future.  To be part of the program I worked at, they had to follow certain rules and we had to create weekly agreements they would follow in order to continue to live there.  I knew this weekly agreement not followed had serious consequences; one thing I like to do was add a piece in it about self-care.  While I wanted clients to understand the importance of maintaining a safe environment, I also wanted them to understand the value of taking care of themselves.  And so each week clients would come up with something to do for themselves that we would add in this contract (my person centered approach).  I hope that the father I mentioned has been able to continue to incorporate self-care into his life some 8 years later.  His talent is still greatly appreciated by me.  IMGP3742

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.  A big thank you to everyone who has stopped by to visit, left comments, and to my fellow photo bloggers who provide me with inspiration!  Let me know what your favorite posts have been or if there are topics and or photos you’d like me to cover.  I’m always looking forward to finding new treasures in Springfield and Eugene Oregon to share with you, topics that inspire photos or photos that inspire topics, photo ops with our numerous pets, and I’m really looking forward to covering graduation in May when I complete my Masters of Social Work and finally meet my fellow classmates and professors at the University of Southern California!   Have a safe and joyous New Year.  Always, Jasmine

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Neighborhood Immersion

So I’ve been thinking back to my Community Immersion class at USC, can’t remember the class number or anything.  But I can say my professor was hilarious and I enjoyed meeting many classmates for the very first time last October while I was at the Council of Social Work Education‘s conference in Portland, Oregon.  Let’s just say, this summer I’ve done my own neighborhood immersion.  It had been a long time since I had the time (working full-time and taking six graduate credits).  Today I spent some more time appreciating my neighbors’ yards and hard work.

My neighbor's beautiful hydrangeas.

Another neighbor's precious lilacs.

Morning Study Spot

My beautiful Heather from the front yard.And another shot…My morning study spot includes my favorite candle from one of my high school best friends (check her out:  www.vivocandles.com) and a handmade glass piece that my Aunt Gayle bought me from Florence, Oregon.

And the wide view of my study spot.  The greenish/turquoise lantern on the left I painted myself (it was for Jeremy & candles, but now its for highlighters)!  A 3:30am rise today, preparing for three graduate courses in social work at University of Southern California.  May this spot continue to give me good energy, an open mind, and success in all its many forms!

Honoring the Past

April 15th I interviewed Florence for one of my finals at University of Southern California’s Master of Social Work program. Today I walked past the Eugene Memorial, honoring Florence and thousands of others.

Florence's family crest

One of three rocks describing the internment camp experience

Florence spoke of wearing her family's number, and the heartache of figuring out what to pack - not knowing where they were going.

This memorial is outside of the Eugene Hult Center. Humbling...beautiful...painful.