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How Do We Prevent Youth Violence? It Starts with Tolerance and Respect


Kelsey Dunn (Summer 2016 Intern, APA Children, Youth and Families Office)

According to the United Nations, tolerance is “respect and appreciation of the rich variety of our world’s cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human.” November 16th is annually celebrated as the International Day of Tolerance, which promotes the recognizing of human rights and highlights the diversity in our global community.

Violence prevention, especially in relation to our youth, begins with introducing the idea of acceptance across various levels of diversity, including race, religion, gender, socioeconomic status, and more. Through tolerance, we can teach youth to respect each other and reduce feelings of indifference towards groups of different backgrounds.

Through this heightened awareness of and acceptance of others, youth violence can be reduced, and prevented. There are small steps to fighting intolerance, some of which require:

  1. Law – each government across the globe is responsible for protecting human rights.

  2. Education – teaching others not to fear the unknown, as this breeds ignorance versus acceptance. Encourage youth to be curious and open-minded about their own and other cultures.

  3. Access to information – develop programs and policies that encourage the idea of freedom of press, which can in turn encourage a public outpouring of different opinions and facts.

  4. Individual awareness – encourage individuals, and especially our youth, to become aware of the impact between their personal behavior and the cycle of violence in society. How can your direct actions influence the safety of your world?

  5. Local solutions – most global problems have solutions embedded in the local and national levels, and nonviolent action from the masses can have a large influence on confronting and ending violence and intolerance.

What can you do to help?

Promote tolerance within your own organization or community by celebrating the International Day of Tolerance on November 16th.

Spread awareness and the message of tolerance, as well, by working with the STRYVE Action Council to make changes in preventing youth violence.

Join the conversation – use #STRYVE on social media.

Find trainings and other resources to start working on stopping youth violence before it starts:


Ms. Dunn is a senior at the University of South Florida majoring in Social Work. She is a Bright Futures Scholar, an AP Scholar, and a Take Stock in Children Scholar. She recently completed The Washington Center internship, with placement in the APA Children, Youth and Families Office.

Image source: Flickr via Creative Commons

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