October is filled with awareness campaigns. I’ve curated just a sampling of what you could celebrate this month. Several of the awareness campaigns compliment one another. For example, Mix It Up at Lunch Day is the last day of October, Bullying Prevention Month.
This month I’ve also included links to ASCA Position Statements with some of the campaigns. You can use these for further research, for writing newsletter articles or to share with administration. There are a total of 23 official position statements on the ASCA site, you can see all of them under Publications & Position Statements.
Finally, a PDF and editable Google doc of the October calendar are linked at the bottom of the page. Other year-round calendar resources can be found in last month’s article, September Calendar Resources and a master calendar can be found in my kick-off planning article, Start with the Big Rocks.
Bullying Prevention Month + Unity Day
The intent of this month-long campaign is to raise awareness around the topic of bullying and to educate people globally. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center created Bullying Prevention Month in 2006 (originally celebrated the first week of October). Hundreds of schools in the US participate in activities to support the message of kindness, acceptance and inclusion.
Activities and resources include:
Unity Day is a nationwide campaign also created by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center that encourages participants to wear orange on October 25th as a sign of solidarity to promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion. Promote on social media using #UnityDay2017.
Other Resources Supporting Safe Schools
Stomp Out Bullying outlines activities for each week of the month.
Communicate with Your Kids Month
This campaign encourages parental involvement and is a great way to encourage kids and parents to connect. Crayola features a list of creative activities. There is also a link to StoryCorps with a list of great questions to get conversations going.
Also, keep in mind #TheGreatListen in November (also promoted by StoryCorps). You can download their FREE app now to encourage great conversations.
Michele Borba shares tips on How to Praise Kids.
Mental Illness Awareness Week + Depression Screening Day Oct 1-7
Promoting understanding and acceptance of mental illness is the focus of this campaign. Help educate and raise awareness around this topic through promoting and sharing their resources. National Depression Screening Day is October 5th, link for a free screening is below.
FREE Mental Health Screening at HelpYourSelfHelpOthers.org
World Smile Day Oct 6
October is full of some pretty heavy awareness topics, it’s always a good idea to promote kindness and happiness, which is the point of World Smile Day. Originating in Worchester, MA, this day gives a nod to the designer of the iconic yellow smiley face, Harvey Ball. Their theme in 2017 is “Do an act of kindness. Help one person smile!”
National Coming Out Day Oct 11
Human Rights Campaign created National Coming Out Day 29 years ago to show support and “celebrate coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) or as an ally.” The site provides links to resource guides for coming out as well as powerful stories.
Social media hashtags: #NationalComingOutDay! #LGBT #LGBTQ.
Say Something Week Oct 16-20
Say Something Week is planned for October 16-20, 2017. According to the site, “Say Something teaches students, grades 6-12, how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media, from a peer who might be planning to hurt themselves or someone else and to say something to a trusted adult to get help and save a life.”
This event was featured in another post, October Calendar :: Say Something Week. Promote on social media with #SaySomething.
Mix It Up at Lunch Day Oct 31
You could host this day any time, it is officially recognized on October 31st this year. “Mix It Up at Lunch Day is an international campaign that encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries,” according to their site. This campaign was created by Teaching Tolerance, whose mission is to reduce prejudice, improve intergroup relations and support equitable school experiences. The social media promotion hashtag is #MixLunch and the official Twitter handle is @MixItUpatLunch.
Be sure to subscribe to their FREE magazine, Teaching Tolerance, for quality classroom materials.
Editable Google doc & PDF October Planning Calendars
Feel free to use these resources to help you and your team make your plan for October.
Have any tips for tackling October? Does your school do anything unique this month? Leave comments below.
These are just a sample of activities, you DO NOT have to do something for every awareness event. If you are just getting started as a school counselor, choose one or two to focus on and make the events meaningful. Consider your school’s culture, the data you’ve collected and the needs of the community.
Remember to take care of yourself too, check out my newsletter, School Counselor Voice.