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1Recently, I received an email from a parent asking me, “What can I do to help Safe and Sound Schools? What can change to improve school safety?” It’s the same question that I receive from everyone I meet online and on the road – from parents to students to teachers to first responders.

As I think about this question, it brings me back to when Alissa and I first started Safe and Sound Schools. We never imagined that 20 beautiful and innocent young students and six dedicated school staff and teachers would lose their lives to a horrible tragedy on December 14, 2012 in Newtown, Connecticut. We never imagined that our own children, Josephine and Emilie, would be among the names of the children killed that day. We never imagined how much our lives would change, including those of our families and the world around us.

We just knew that after what happened, we had to do something. We had to make sure that what happened at Sandy Hook didn’t happen anywhere else.

In creating Safe and Sound Schools, Alissa and I believed that we needed to educate communities and empower them to make school safety a priority. But through our travels, we found out that school safety issues varied from state to state, city to city. Communities want resources. Students want to get involved in the school safety conversation. Parents want to know what steps and policies are in place to protect their children at school. First responders want to be prepared for any type of crisis that happens at a school. And we want everyone to be safe and sound. But how do we get there?

To provide more resources, get students involved, and continue the school safety conversation online and on the ground, we need your help. We cannot do this work alone. We need everyone to be a part of the Change for School Safety. By collecting loose change and saving it as donation to give on #GivingTuesday (November 29), you can make a difference in school safety.

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  • Continue to travel to communities and empower them to put school safety first;  
  • Develop and share  student-centered programs that will encourage students to speak out and do something about school safety issues affecting them; and
  • Connect with school administrators, mental health and emergency professionals, and parents with the resources they need to keep their schools and students safe and sound.

There is so much work to be done. But in the words of Richard Bach, we know that “a tiny change today can bring a dramatically different tomorrow.”

Will you be part of the change for school safety?

To find out more about being a part of Change for School Safety, click here.


Michele Gay, Co-founder & Executive Director of Safe and Sound Schools

Are you prepared? It’s a timely question for school communities and families.  Across the country spring brings warm weather and more outdoor opportunities.  With the gorgeous weather and added outdoor time we all enjoy, our communities and schools face increased weather and violence related incidents, as well as an annual uptick in physical injuries.

11 YouthSafe and Sound Schools is proud to join FEMA as a National Strategy Affirmer, supporting nationwide youth preparedness and education.

This Saturday, April 30, we celebrate America’s PrepareAthon with countless other national organizations working to keep America’s communities prepared for safety!  We invite you to celebrate with us.  There are many ways you can work together as a family and within your community to increase preparedness and awareness to keep yourselves and those you love safe.

It’s easier than you think!  Here are just a few ideas to get you started and share with family, friends, at school, and work:

  1.  1.  Access Alerts and Warnings–Take a moment to explore emergency notification systems in your community and school.  Register yourself and your family members to receive critical emergency information.

2.  Conduct an Exercise–This could be as simple as an in-home fire drill and family meet-up or helping plan one in your child’s school community.  Consider reaching out to neighbors to share plans and information to boost your safety capability during an emergency.

3.  Update Emergency Supplies–First aid kits, Go Bags, and food storage are great ways to keep critical items at hand when you need them.  Take stock and organize together.

4.  Make a Family Plan–Gather important information and decide on meeting places & communication channels.  Put your plan on paper together with Family Plan Emergency Cards.

5.  Take a Class–Sign up for a CPR or First Aid class in your community.  If you are already certified, consider a refresher or advanced course.

For more fun and easy ways to stay safe, visit https://community.fema.gov/take-action/activities and join us in preparing for safety with America’s PrepareAthon!

-Michele Gay, Safe and Sound Schools