Back to school in Baltimore this year brings a new approach to preventing conflict and violence in our schools and communities. After several years of programming in Baltimore, with the help of the Open Society Institute, Move This World celebrates the opening of our local office and the opportunity to reach even more students, educators, parents, and corporate leaders here in Charm City.
Ever since first teaching GED in East Baltimore, I saw too many local youth fall prey to the school-to-prison pipeline. Leading conflict resolution workshops in Maryland prisons, I saw a different side—a self-perpetuating cycle of violence that is nearly impossible for many offenders to break out. I knew there had to be an alternative.
Move This World has an audacious idea for Baltimore—to transform conflict, violence, and bullying. Through creative movement, we give young people the tools to express emotions that cannot be put into words. We help them understand empathy, and what it feels like to be in someone else’s shoes. We equip individuals with social and emotional skills and produce significant results.
Together, we are leveraging positive behavioral interventions and support to foster greater connection between teachers and students and a reduction in suspensions and classroom violence.
So far, we’ve worked with over 1,000 individuals in Baltimore. In Halstead Academy, 86% of third grade participants in Move This World showed a decrease in angry responses. At Moravia Elementary, we saw a 65% decrease in the use of physical violence. And this is just the beginning. Early benchmarks we intend to blow away.
This month, global leaders of Move This World will flood Baltimore from as far as the Philippines and Colombia for our fourth annual Global Summit in Social Change through the Art of Movement. There’s still room to become a part of this “glocal” event by registering and joining us on September 21 and 22, 2013 at National Academy Foundation School of Baltimore.
Our results-oriented, data-driven, yet adaptive approach means we will be drawing on what we know works and learning from the community what we can do better to transform conflict and break the school-to-prison pipeline.
This school year, we’re teaching our students to B-more empathetic.