(Where Individuals Navigate Growth and Safety)
WCST's prevention program aims to strengthen knowledge, attitudes and skills of youth to enhance their capacity for preventing violence and promoting safety. WCST prevention education builds skills necessary to develop healthy and equitable relationships, safely interrupt behavior such as sexist and homophobic harassment, and appropriately address social norms supportive of sexual violence.They focus on youth engagement as leaders in their communities and schools. WCST provides multiple approaches to violence prevention and healthy relationships education in schools, specifically a three tier program called WINGS (Where Individuals Navigate Growth and Safety).
The first tier of WCST's WINGS Prevention Program is called Freshman Success; a 9-16 week healthy relationships and violence prevention curriculum implemented in health classrooms that complements existing health programming. This tier includes weekly sessions on topics such as: Gender and Societal Stereotypes, Body Image, Self-Destructive Behaviors, Substance Use, Misuse, and Abuse, Communication, Cyber Safety, Digital Dating Abuse, Power and Control, Power vs. Privilege, Cycle of Violence, Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships and Consent. WCST is currently in the second year of implementation of this program and starting in the 2018-2019 school year, Freshman Success will expand to be implemented in three local high schools and two middle schools.
"I have learned that there are healthy ways to manage your anger rather than lashing out at people. I have learned that anger is okay, it is just what you do with it."
- HS Student in Freshman Success Classes
"I come to WINGS class not only for the extremely valuable lessons, but for the sense of community and family. WINGS creates a safe and comfortable space for us. I have learned many things from this class. My favorite lessons were on sexual assault, substance abuse and toxic relationships. I have learned to be more confident and comfortable with my decisions and feel I have become a better person and a better support for others."
- High School Student in Young Women's WINGS
"I choose to attend WINGS class because we address issues that I question daily, and the time in the class is valued more to me than any other class. I can make up work from any class but every day in YM group is its own special experience. We talk about racism, bullying, relationships etc. I can turn that into my personal decisions and memories and I better myself by understanding the best thing to do in a situation before it happens. It betters my future and thought processes. In WINGS class it is easier to connect and share. There is confidentiality and complete respect towards one another."
- High School Student in Young Men's WINGS
The second tier of the WINGS Prevention Program is Young Men's and Young Women's WINGS classes. These classes are for students who are looking for an opportunity to go more in-depth on the topics started in Freshman Success classes, including topics like, healthy relationships, identity and self-value, as well as violence prevention and healthy breakups. Young Men's and Young Women's WINGS classes are optional classes and available for students who choose to take them. They meet once weekly during regular school hours. These classes also include a mentorship model to support youth leadership and peer education. This model developed because many students continue to sign up for these optional classes over and over, and WCST wanted to implement a way that would support and further the student's learning. So far the mentorship model has been a huge success. Mentors even develop and implement their own lesson plans for their peers on topics that they identify as important to their lives.
The third tier of the WINGS Prevention Program is the Youth Action Team (YAT). Students who join the Youth Action Team, come together to reduce violence and build community. YAT members participate in youth generated, community wide education and prevention activities that promote positive social norms and challenge victim blaming. The Youth Action Team develops and implements projects to enhance community involvement and investment in violence prevention. The team is currently continuing their campaign of STAND/SPEAK/ACT that they developed previously and implemented with events, public awareness banners, shirts, signs, and presentations to the city council, to the local radio station and TV network, and in other venues. The Action Team represents a broad spectrum of high school youth leaders who are committed to finding meaningful ways of challenging social norms that allow violence to be so prevalent.