Sun Valley and Cuthbertson win grant to promote safety, non-violence

Dec. 03, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

The Sun Valley and Cuthbertson High Schools Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) clubs received a grant from The Allstate Foundation to help the clubs continue their work. 

Each school will receive free SAVE affiliation and a $1,000 grant. The grants were given to 30 schools in North Carolina and Mississippi. 

This is Sun Valley's third year receiving the grant, James Williams, guidance counselor and faculty sponsor for the club, said. 

"It seems like every year we have to do a lot of great initiatives," Williams said. 

They participate in safe driving initiatives, anti-bullying initiatives, drug-free initiatives and other activities promoting a non-destructive lifestyle. 

"There's so many real issues and challenges they face as young people," Williams said. 

Through the grant money, the club can help the community in a positive way. 

"The grant helps us in a number of ways, but it helps the club to be self-supporting and self-sustaining," he said. They use it to cover the club dues so that students are not excluded for financial reasons. 

There are about 14 students officially in the club, but many other students come to meeting and help with events. 

Over the past year, the club has sponsored a safe driving event where they made students aware of the dangers of texting and driving, they participated in Red Ribbon Week, which celebrated drug-free, violence-free and bully-free schools, Williams said. 

To commemorate Red Ribbon Week, they planted 300 red tulip bulbs on the school lawn, which will bloom in the spring. 

Last month they supported a "mix it up" day where they encouraged students to sit by someone else at lunch or to reach out to a new friend or someone outside of the social group. 

Williams said it worked to discourage the idea that certain groups are off-limits and helped students to "make new friends and squelch bullying." 

"We're really appreciative of (the Allstate Foundation) for helping us each year with the grant and it's been a wonderful thing, it's helped us so much," Williams said. "We're glad we're able to provide the club free of charge and have so many great initiatives as well." 

The Cuthbertson High School club has existed for three years and has also received the grant for the past three years. Their club has about 50 students. 

"We've been very, very lucky to have a student on the national advisory board for SAVE," Leah Ross, a family and consumer sciences teacher and the faculty advisor for the club, said. She said they have also been lucky to receive the grant. 

The Cuthbertson club is involved in numerous safe driving activities, especially during the week of prom, and other awareness events. They are sponsoring 50 children this year from the Union County Christmas Bureau. 

Ross has noticed that their club has attracted members from almost every social group in high schools. 

"We have a little bit of everybody, we see a really good cross-section, so we're reaching kids in a way that other clubs don't seem to reach," she said. She said the diversity helps to reach across social divides. 

Ross said the SAVE club has had an impact on the students and their community. 

"The opportunity for these kids to make a difference in their community," she said. She said it shows students that one voice and one club can make a difference in the community.

The grants have been given since the partnership between SAVE and the Allstate Foundation began in 2005.  

“We’re so grateful for this generous grant from the Allstate Foundation,” Carleen Wray, executive director of SAVE said in a statement. “SAVE students are so passionate about youth safety issues and teen safe driving, and this grant will allow them to get their messages out in ways they’ve never been able to before. One of the missions of SAVE is to keep kids safe in their daily lives and activities – this will only help further that mission. ”