Don't Run Away is a preventative presentation that educates students from third to eighth grade on resources, options, and solutions to remove themselves from abusive situations, ultimately deterring them from running away. The presentation examines what it would be like to live on the streets and why street life should be avoided at all costs.
Two versions of the presentation are available:
The presentation starts off with the speakers introducing themselves and providing a brief synopsis of StandUp For Kids. From here, students are introduced to a thirteen-year-old character named Squatter, who is a composite of the many homeless and street kids StandUp For Kids has met and helped. The student audience gets to peek into Squatterâ€™s mind and hear his thoughts on why he wants to run away, how he decides to run away and how he feels after he has run away. Squatter's story provides kids with a realistic snapshot of how running away will only make things worse. In an attempt to show kids that running away will never improve their situation, they begin to understand that getting help from someone they trust is the only way to improve their life.
Created as an offset to the elementary version, this presentation takes on a more serious tone by placing the students in the shoes of a homeless youth. Similar to the elementary version, the presentation starts first with the presenters introducing themselves and talking a little about StandUp For Kids. From here, the Squatter Video (a sixty-second video about youth homelessness in America) is shown and then the homeless youth simulation is introduced. Students are faced with several scenarios, each with choices that they would have to make if they were living on the streets. Students do not share their choices out loud, but are asked to be honest with themselves and their decision. This provides a different perspective for the students, as they get to see what homeless youths face every day. This firsthand viewpoint adds to the uniqueness of the presentation and provides a more lasting impression for the students.
For more information about the Don't Run Away Program contact StandUp For Kids at DRA@standupforkids.org.