Community Matters has been a staple for providing educators, students and families with the tools for creating safe school environments. Their ability to relate and connect with various educational communities, assess and meet the needs is powerful. I'm proud to be a part of the community and support CM's continued growth and outreach.
Community Matters has provided support nationwide for issues that are faced by so many youth, Bullying and Inclusivity! The staff are passionate, the programs are brilliant, and they really make a difference. As a former non-profit manager, I can attest to the Community Matters high level of integrity and creativity in addressing this very difficult issue.
Additionally, with schools closing during the pandemic, the Executive director and her team were able to pivot and provide online support to schools across the US.
One last point, both of my daughters were Safe School Ambassadors. The skills they learned are still applicable to this day some 15 years later.
Their mission: "To equip and empower students and adults to create schools and communities that are safe, welcoming and inclusive." is greatly needed in our world today, the curriculum is very relevant.
Leadership training beyond the classroom is pivotal in creating the leaders of tomorrow. The Community Matters’ Safe School Ambassador Program provides students the skills and techniques to be leaders in their school and in their community. They become inspirational role models for their classmates and learn to be change managers for their campus culture. They grow in confidence and develop the knowledge that they can make a difference. Thanks to Community Matters; their commitment to our youth is developing the leaders of tomorrow.
Love the org, the people, and their work. Founder, Rick Phillips, and CEO Erica Vogel are true committed, community partners! Dovetail Learning appreciates their generative spirit and living out their mission for students and schools as professionals.
Community Matters has inspired me! Kindness is possible even in a high school, and it's trainable.It is a model for what can be done nationally and globally in and outside of schools.
The work at Community Matters is a foundational must for our children and our larger communities teaching necessary skills to ensure a safer tomorrow. This organization takes a holistic approach in helping participants to build a climate of connection and respect. This approach starts in schools with students and staff, while also integrates the larger support structure of families and community offering a sustainable solution to violence reduction vs. short term fixes. By advocating and facilitating restorative practices which allow participants to learn from their mistakes, they encourage growth, compassion, and forgiveness that changes the social structure of the culture leading to sustainable outcomes. The instructors, staff, and executive leadership are all dedicated to the mission of Community Matters and truly wish to make the world a better place.
Community Matters is a wonderful organization! Their mission to create safer, more welcoming and inclusive schools is more important than ever. You can count on their skilled team to empower students and staff with specific tools to prevent bullying and mistreatment. In a world where it's easy to feel increasingly uneasy about school safety, Community Matters can help the school you work at or the school your kids attends to create the kind of school climate that all children deserve.
Community Matters is a great organization and a wonderful asset to our community. Their staff is great to work with and the training content is so important!
This org and their staff go the extra mile for the students they serve. We are lucky to have them in the community!
I have worked as a committee member supporting out reach and branding for a number of years. in that capacity i have gained significant insight on the valuable resources and how effective Community-Matters programs have been. the cultural change they help foster not only supports the reduction of bullying/harassment but in the long run helps create better citizens of our youth...more caring, more empathetic, more sensitive to those struggling with life. This is a tremendous organization, one i am proud to support.
Community Matters is a fantastic organization with a dedicated staff that is passionate about keeping our schools safe. I highly recommend their programs for improving school climate. It has been an honor to assist them in bringing their message to California’s schools.
COVID-19 increased students to more and more risk factors while simultaneously reducing access to resources and programs that mitigate risk factors. Perpetrators of school shootings report bullying as a trigger to their violent actions. Stopping the spread of the virus, returning to school, and recovering economically from this horrible situation is thankfully happening now, but we have an urgent evolving and complex new threats to vulnerable populations, like our students, that requires very special interventions. The recent Dept. of Homeland Security Public Awareness Bulletin, U.S. Secret Service Report on Averting School Attacks, and the National Threat Advisory System Elevated Threat Alert tell us that action is needed. Thankfully, the San Francisco Bay Area has Community Matters to help bring their specialty programs to our Bay Area schools . Community Matters has worked for years to build rigorous, evidenced-based, student-centered programming that prevents bullying and mitigates these complex risk factors. Coupled with their leadership, expert staff, collaborative and community-driven approach, Community Matters is best in class. Community Matters serves as a key solution to our School Threat Assessment and Management Teams and is now an essential part of the Bay Area's Local Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Framework. Upstream, early interventions like their Safe School Ambassadors and VoiceUp programs help at-risk youth, have cascading societal benefits, and save lives.
I have witnessed Community Matters making immediate positive changes to students' self esteem and social skills. Being told they are capable, worthy and necessary to the benefit of their peers is ENORMOUS. Students learn social skills and gain compassion for others. It's a beautiful thing and I wish all students had access to CM!
As a trainer for Safe School Ambassadors for 15 years, the story that still stands out for me is from the first training I did in 2006 at a Middle School in California. As we were debriefing an activity in which students shared their experiences with in-school mistreatment, as a target, an aggressor, and/or bystander, one young man said that he felt ashamed to admit some of the ways he had mistreated others. Then he added he also felt good because he realized he didn't have to behave that way any more. That is what the program is all about, empowering youth to create the new social norm.
I have been a trainer for Safe School Ambassadors since 2006, and yet the story that stands out most for me happened at the very first training I conducted. It was at Middle School in California. After the activity "Crossing the Line," during which students and teachers share experiences about being a target, an aggressor, and/or a bystander in situations of mistreatment, we were talking about feeling that had arises. One boy said: "I felt ashamed of all the times I crossed the line for being an aggressor; but then I felt good because I realized I didn't have to behave that way anymore. I have shared that story in hundreds of trainings I have conducted since. - Mario Cossa, Master Trainer, SSA, Community Matters
As a member of Safe School Ambassadors throughout my high school years I was able to learn tools to keep me aware of bullying and harassment and ways to deescalate situations in a safe way, as well as learn resources that may be able to help. I was also involved with other students from all backgrounds which helped me gain knowledge as well as friends with the same goal as mine to create a safer school environment.
I joined the board of Community Matters in March 2021, and have been extremely impressed with the organization's ability to positively impact places of education. It is absolutely imperative that schools feel safe for students, parents, educators/administrators. Additionally, school should be place where students develop their relationships, identity, emotional skills, and overall well-being. This is more important than ever given the events that have occurred since March 2020, and the added stress that the learning environment put on students, teachers, and parents. Community Matters has been able to adapt and continues to effectively support students and improve their lives.
Community matters serves many schools that I work with. The safe school ambassadors program has redefined culture at these schools. Some schools were unsafe and frequently vandalized but upon implementation of SSA they became model schools with energized students, faculty and engaged parents. I can’t emphasize enough the positive change in student perspective due to this excellent program.
I have worked for Community Matters for 5 years and feel grateful to work with an organization that educates students and school staff, empowering them to be active in creating a connected and caring community on their campuses. The teams of staff members and trainers I work with do amazing work that increases the life and relationship skills of all who participate and embody the practices. Watching this work grow over the years and seeing so many benefit has been inspiring and heart warming.
As a trainer for Community Matters, I train their student led bully prevention program
Safe School Ambassadors. Students learn actions they can use to stop mistreatment when they see it on campus. Many of the actions stop bullying from happening or distract mistreatment from continuing. After training a school for over three years, the counselor at the contacted me to let me know two of the ambassadors I trained used one of the actions from the training I taught them and it stopped a school shooting from happening. It was a profound moment to see the power and impact of a Community Matters program.
I am interning at Community Matters because I think it is important for schools and organizations to have the right trainings to create safe spaces for our youth. It is important to allow safe places for our youth and CM provides the support and trainings that encourage it.
Community Matters is such a jewel for educators and students! I am very proud to be able to share that I have been working at Community Matters for 3 years. Daily I take such pride in my work, being part of such a dedicated team of professionals, working together with strength to empower youth voice, increase quality of learning environments, and being a reliable partner for educators.
Empowering students to be upstanders and supporting educators are crucial responsibilities of ours that are needed now more than ever.
Big shout out to all the dedicated educators working exceptionally hard to make students experiences excellent!
A caring, close-knit group of dedicated professionals serving our nations school staff and the SEL needs of our students. Mission-driven, heartfelt and rewarding work!
Safe School Ambassadors enable students to make positive choices for themselves and friends. There's an equity of voice, and SSA harnesses the power of our youth to make that tremendous difference in our community.
I have had the honor and privilege of working for Community Matters for last decade. The Community Matters mission is so completely aligned with my life's work in the education and positive youth development fields. Empowering kids to be the leaders we want and need them to be in the future with skills that equip them to make a difference in their communities is so important.
Not only do I get to do work I am passionate about, but I also have the opportunity to work with some of the best people I could ask for. The Community Matters team (staff, trainers, volunteers, partners, and donors) is full of fun loving, caring, dedicated and very talented people.
Since my very first introduction to Community Matters over 10 years ago I was impressed and amazed at the incredible commitment of the staff and trainers who work with young people and educators. Not only were they skillful in their practice, it was their incredible enthusiasm and experience in delivering the services that won me over. They walked their talk and put their passion for waking up the courage of young people, front and center. I entered the doors as a volunteer, then a staff member and now a trainer. I couldn't be prouder to represent such a worthwhile organization or to belong to such a dedicated, heartfelt, compassionate group of individuals.
As a high school student, I was trained as a safe school ambassador which taught me and fellow classmates how to support and empower our school and classmates at risk of abuse. They truly helped bring a more balanced and peaceful environment to my school.
To help public safety and stop the shooting and people getting killed cause there is no more protection in the public event such as big malls
I learned of this nonprofit through a friend and was able to participate in their latest fundraiser. What a treat....I was inspired and moved. The stories the children shared, who have gone through the community matters training were powerful and I hope their stories reach the general public- you can't ignore the impact they are having. Thank you Community Matters for doing the work you are doing.
Community Matters was a huge part of my childhood and now a part of my sibling’s. Everyone who works at CM has a huge heart and a passion unmatched by anyone I’ve ever met. They are dedicated to everyone they serve and are always looking to expand their reach to anyone who needs it. Even into adulthood they have brought me endless laughs and positive experiences and I am so excited that they continue to be a part of my life as they influence my littles!
This is one of the best organizations I have come across both in the passion behind the objectives and the impact it has on those it is working to help. It has an extensive reach across the country and internationally, and is completely focused on the prosperity of our youth. It runs completely on the support of the communities and its employees and has been a mainstay in so many school systems over the years. The ability of this particular group to create real change in the lives of kids is to be commended. The Safe School Ambassadors program, which teaches students skills to help prevent violence and bullying in our schools that occurs everyday, is an amazing endeavor!
It is inspiring to hear the stories of the youth that Community Matters has empowered to stand up against bullying. I have listened to youth ambassadors share their learned interventions and courageous actions. Safe School Ambassadors is evidence based and the learnings of this program help grow respectful, caring and responsible members of our communities.
Community Matters is an excellent non-profit with a mission to improve school cultures from the inside out to provide safety and security for our children. The organization is expertly run and the mission is truly wonderful. 5 stars!
Community Matters, matters!
Seeing the change in school climate by having the SSA program in a school is priceless. They are helping kids become productive and caring adults. Live by the mantra "always be a part of something bigger".
Community Matters does important work in helping students of all ages and the adults in their school to create a safe and nurturing environment. Learning how to intervene when they see bullying is a tool that changes the lives of the victim , witnesses and the perpetrator.
It has given me tools and courage to intervene responsibly.
We are in the midst of our fourth year of operating a district wide Safe School Ambassador program. In my opinion, all districts should adopt an anti-bullying program, whether it is the SSA program or a different program. RBUSD has embraced the SSA program developed by Community Matters and it has been a great addition to the students of our school district. Every year we have over 400 students receive a powerful two day training to introduce them to the SSA program. Year by year these students are moving through the grade levels from elementary, to middle, and then to high school. Our students begin to learn about the effects of bullying and what they can do to help. Many students no longer feel hopeless and helpless to end the cycle of bullying. Students are given tools to respond to bullying that they can use throughout their lives. For those of you who may be contemplating adopting the SSA program I would say the following: take action, do not wait until an extreme incident occurs in your district, do the right thing, and do not be a bystander.
The Safe School Ambassadors Program has become part of the foundation of our Safe Schools Initiative. Over the past 8 years, we have expanded the program to almost all of our middle and high schools. The student approach has lead to some wonderful outcomes as kids begin to really take on concern for their peers. As the district coordinator for the program, I continue to be both a support and an advocate for the SSA Program.
As a County Office of Education Prevention Programs Coordinator it has been my honor to work closely with Community Matters staff for almost two decades. From Community Matters founder Rick Phillips to all of the trainers and staff, we have always found their level of professionalism and support to be of the highest caliber. We have engaged with Community Matters to do the 24 Hour Relay Challenge to support youth development programs like peer helpers, Friday Night Live and Safe School Ambassadors.
For over 10 years we have worked closely with Community Matters staff and trainers to do initial training sessions and follow up support for the Safe School Ambassadors program, including a close partnership to conduct training of trainers for a group of local SSA trainers. The Community Matters staff are always helpful, friendly and fully engaged to offer support for our school safety efforts. This collaborative partnership has truly helped us to engage youth as leaders to keep their schools safe.
The Community Matters Safe School Ambassadors program has been an integral part of our school district's comprehensive diversity awareness initiative. Started at one of our schools in 2006, the successful program is now at eleven of our sites. CM has supported our efforts by providing trainers, instructional materials and refresher workshops. Our District has received multiple regional and State awards for its diversity and anti-bullying efforts, and CM has been a major partner with us.
Community Matters Safe School Ambassadors Program was introduced to our school district four years ago in one school. Today we have it in 21 schools. Their program is unique and innovative. Their facilitators are extremely talented and engage students and staff with skill and enthusiasm. This is not your standard Power Point presentation with a handout. This is a well-designed, interactive two-day whirlwind that will change the lives of many of your students. Ask them to visit a training session. You will want it in your school!
In October 2012 as part of our regional "Anti-bullying" programs with schools, the representatives of Community Matters presented to our local representatives. Their "common sense" and methodical approach was well received and at least two of our Western Pennsylvania schools are interested to hear more!
In October of 2012, I had the pleasure of hosting a Safe Schools Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This conference was strategically aligned with National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month and National Cyber Security Month. My overarching goal was to provide conference attendees with Subject Matter Experts from the Public, Private and Non-Profit Sectors, to create new levels of awareness and potential solutions to the growing epidemic of bullying in schools, homes and in the workplace .
After intense research and thoughtful consideration, I decided to contact Community Matters to see if they would be willing to serve as a representative from the Non-Profit sector. In working collaboratively with William Grace Frost (Director of Strategic Operations - Community Matters) I discussed the need to secure a speaker from their Instructor Cadre. In planning this conference, I knew I wanted one of the presenters to share insight about the "Financial Impacts of Bullying", which is rarely discussed. I was pleasantly suprised to hear that Rick Phillips (Founder and Executive Director), was willing to travel from the West Coast to the East Coast (greater than 2500 miles), and would underwrite the costs of travel and lodging to support this effort. That type of dedication in the provision of community outreach is exemplary of the pearls of wisdom shared by Ghandi ... "Be the change that you wish to see in this world". Some Non-Profits "write" a mission statement, Community Matters - lives their mission.
Community Matters is a solutions based organization, which continues to have a positive impact throughout the United States and beyond. The entire team at Community Matters works tirelessly to promote the mission and goals of "their" organization. This is evidenced through their passion, dedication and committment in their ongoing develpment of strategic initiatives and community outreach which serves to change the world in which we live.
Community Matters' cost effective proven programs create a fundamental shift that is so necessary in our culture: inspiring young people to stand up against violence and abusive behavior whenever they see it taking place. The organization has an innovative approach, working with alpha students from every social "clique" so that impacts of the program diffuse through the entire school population from the inside-out, that is, starting with students. The whole school climate shifts to become safer and more welcoming for all, with significantly reduced suspensions, abusive incidents, and resulting costs.
I've worked as Executive Director of an arts non-profit doing music outreach to K-12 students, and currently work extensively with another successful non-profit focused on teen leadership. I've seen the huge difference it makes to reach young people with a well-honed life-affirming message. Community Matters delivers life-changing impacts that transform students into leaders and peacemakers for the rest of their lives.
Community Matters represents a critically important initiative to provide real and sustainable programs designed to mitigate bullying and violence in our schools. This "inside-out" approach is without question the best, and I think, only viable and feasible manner in which we can hope to truly impact significant numbers of our nation's children and public education institutions. It enables kids to impact the essential culture of their schools by empowering their natural inclination to step up and "do the right thing", exercising with courage their natural sense of fairness and equity. What we desperately need now is the will of adult leadership to provide the meager intellectual and financial support to replicate the growing number of successful Safe School Ambassador programs across the country.
As a risk managment services provider to hundreds of school districts across the Country, I have encountered numerous programs designed to positivley impact school violence. Sadly many turned out to be nothing more than a revenue stream for the provider. Community Matters and the Safe School Ambassadors program stand out as highly effective student centered solutions that are incredibly affordable. Simply put Safe Schools Ambassadors empoers our children to be the solution to school violence.
After working in the risk management field for the past 25 years I find it highly unusual to find an organization like Community Matters that is so in-tune with the needs of our public schools. What is refreshing is that the prevention philosophy held by the organization is applyed with such accuracy and practicality. Furthermore, the level of service from top to bottom has been extreemly professional. I would highly recommned that Community Matters be incorporated into any distircts strategic risk planning.