When it comes to dynamic partnerships, there are Lennon and McCartney, SpongeBob and Patrick, and peanut butter and jelly. Over the past six months, however, another such partnership has formed between two like-minded organizations: TRiO and reACT to Bullying.
The Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) placed an increased emphasis on providing educational assistance to individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds. Originally, this legislation sought to create opportunities for disadvantaged and low-income students in the pursuit of post-secondary education. Subsequent changes in the act over the years have expanded its scope to include students at elementary and secondary levels.
Unlike many government-administered programs. TRiO is not an acronym. Instead, it draws its name from a trio of student services programs established by the federal government under HEA: Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Student Support Services. Though its scope of services now includes eight programs, the TRiO name remains. TRiO serves over 850,000 low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities from 6th grade through college graduation. It is administered, funded, and implemented by the United States Department of Education. Its programming centers on academic tutoring, personal counseling, mentoring, financial guidance, and other supports necessary for educational access and retention.
reACT To Bullying Presents Keynote at KAEOPP
Dr. T. Chris George, Director of TRiO Student Support Services at Western Kentucky University, invited reACT to Bullying to present the lunch keynote at the Kentucky Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (KAEOPP) conference in Louisville in October of 2018. This regional conference included TRiO representatives from Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee.
The hour-long multimedia presentation included volunteer and audience participation and generated much discussion among the educational professionals afterward. Dr. George commented, “Matt was absolutely amazing, people were still talking about his presentation when we left. He really set the tone for our conference and allowed people to have some in-depth conversations about times they were bullied.”
Indeed, the aftermath of bullying affects individuals well into adulthood. This is why it is important to address bullying behaviors during the formative years of childhood and adolescence.
reACT to Bullying Invited to SAEOPP
Following the success of the KAEOPP presentation in Louisville, reACT was invited to have a major role in the Southeastern Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (SAEOPP) Annual Conference in New Orleans. This conference, held February 2-6, 2019, included TRiO representatives from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. I presented both a three-hour intensive workshop and a one-hour concurrent learning session during this conference. Participants in the three-hour workshop were able to take a deep dive into their own experiences and expressed a particular interest in bullying issues as their students enter adulthood. Participants in the one-hour concurrent session received best practice strategies and definitions, leading to such feedback as, ”The presenter was AWESOME! His presentation impacted my spirit!”
Such comments are gratifying, to say the least. reACT to Bullying has worked long and hard at the individual school and district level to teach the tools of bully prevention. To have this response from individuals responsible for the advancement of thousands of students gives reACT to Bullying a chance to make a significant impact.
What Does the Future Hold?
In terms of bullying prevention on a larger scale, the success of these presentations fills me with excitement and gives me hope. There are more than 2,800 TRiO programs nationally, administered in more than 1,000 colleges, universities, community colleges, and agencies. A partnership between TRiO and reACT to Bullying could inform, equip, and inspire so many outstanding staff and young adults.
What could we do with a partnership with a national program like TRiO? The sky is truly the limit!