Step In, Stand Up | Peace Through Action USA

Step In, Stand Up: Fundamentals of Upstander Intervention | Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Peace Through Action USA held a virtual learning event about upstander intervention training. The event took place Wednesday, May 24, 2023.

Event Description

Step In, Stand Up: Fundamentals of Upstander Intervention strengthened participants’ ability to identify a potentially harmful situation and redirect it in a positive manner. This skills-focused training session equipped participants with a framework to assess possible risk factors when responding to negative social interactions, rehearse effective interventive strategies, and bolster confidence in their implementation. It also incorporated interactive role play exercises and thoughtful discussions to develop skills and strategies for safely and effectively intervening in problematic situations. Modeled after Peace Through Action USA’s successful Step In/Up Upstander Intervention Training Program that we have delivered with youth in two different venues, this training sought to teach the public to utilize prosocial communication skills that de-escalate conflict and promote peaceful resolution. Participants built their capacity to address conflict while simultaneously accounting for their own wellbeing and the safety of others.

Presenter Biographies

Chris Walonski, of Saint Petersburg, Florida, is the director of programs and partnerships development and delivery with Peace Through Action USA. Chris is responsible for designing instruction in civic engagement and social engagement concepts and practices; writing and editing educational and promotional materials; planning and delivering educational activities; implementing performance management procedures; and engaging with organizations and networks aligned with Peace Through Action’s mission. Chris’s programmatic work has engaged a broad range of community intervention strategies and performance-based teaching methods. Prior to joining Peace Through Action USA, Chris served as a program researcher and professor of public speaking at East Tennessee State University. In this capacity, Chris married his passion for project development with the power of personal narrative to help produce a campus-wide sexual consent training program. Chris’ love for crafting educational experiences has taken him from public schools in Thailand to the Amazon rainforest of Peru. Upon returning to the United States as a program manager for the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Chris designed and delivered a bilingual training program that incorporated an array of community partnerships serving multicultural and multilingual youth. Chris has served as an AmeriCorps member through Teach For America’s Colorado Corps. Chris holds a Master of Arts in communication and storytelling studies from East Tennessee State University. As an avid learner, Chris has completed training in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI) and holds a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults) certification from Cambridge University. Chris is a grateful recipient of the Hemera Foundation’s Fellowship for Contemplative Education and is an eager student of Buddhist meditation. In his personal time, Chris has toured the U.S. as a spoken word artist and National Poetry Slam champion.

Learning Resources

  • Event Information Sheet
  • Event Presentation
  • Event Recording
  • Explore Peace Through Action USA’s Peaceful Leaders Youth Program including year-round clubs, community arts projects, and a weeklong youth leadership summer intensive.
  • Explore the following upstander intervention resources from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC).
  • Survey the following Zoom Safety Guide for tips on navigating digital conflicts from the organization Right To Be.
  • Review this article for upstander intervention strategies to use if you witness workplace harassment.
  • Read artist Marie Shrine Yener’s comic for bystanders who witness anti-Muslim harassment.
  • Watch the following kid-friendly video playlist with children to teach them about the 5D’s of upstander intervention.

Resources and Services in Calvert County, Maryland

  • If you are a woman in need of immediate assistance, please contact Crisis Intervention at 410-535-1121 or 301-855-1075 available 24 hours. They offer immediate shelter and access to other services!
  • Review this Resources List from the Calvert County government’s website to access emergency hotlines and a variety of other services.
    • Calvert County Crime Solvers Hotline 410-535-2880
    • Crisis Intervention/ Rape and Sexual Assault Hotline 410-535-1121 – Serving all victims of crime.
    • National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233
    • Maryland Help line 800-422-0009 – Referral source for mental health resource
    • Suicide Crisis Hotline 800-SUICIDE or 800-784-2433
    • Teen Hotline 410-257-2216
    • Tri-County Walden Sierra Behavioral Health Hotline  301-863-6661
    • Adult Day Care of Calvert County 410-535-0133
    • Calvert County Health Department 410-535-5400
    • Calvert Collaborative for Children 410-414-8300
    • Center for Children 410-535-3047 – Serves children and families in comprehensive mental health services including case management.
    • Calvert Education Association 410-535-2518
    • Department of Social Services 443-550-6900
    • Project Echo 410-535-0044 Homeless shelter for families and individuals
    • Rehabilitation Services 443-535-2620 – Provides employment services to persons with disabilities, mental illness, and chemically dependent (in recovery).
    • Safe Harbor for Women Shelter 410-535-1121
    • Local Care Team 410-535-1600 ext 8807  Interagency team review of families seeking resources and information in multiple areas to meet their individual needs.
    • Clothes Closet Project of the Calvert County Commission for Women 410-615-4221 Free women’s professional clothing distribute to Calvert County residents. Shop by appointment only

About Peace Through Action Events

Peace Through Action Events gather youth and adults of all ages to learn about civic and social topics with a focus on peace. Using delivery methods of subject expert lecture, skills training, film discussion, artistic presentation, reflection, and experiential activities, Peace Through Action Events participants gain knowledge on compassionate living, peaceful practices, and social justice concerns.

To keep informed of Peace Through Action Events sign up for our national email or our Calvert County, Maryland email.

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