New SAVE club organizes activies addressing violence


Charlie Messner

The SAVE club has organized a project to feature helpful people within the school.

Charlie Messner, Reporter

Revere’s new SAVE club organized Say Hello Week, the first of many activities it will initiate with the help of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation.

SAVE, which stands for Students Against Violence Everywhere, is a club that aims to protect Revere from gun violence. The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, founded by Mark Barden and Nicole Hockley, is an organization that formed as a result of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. The Revere Schools Foundation decided to bring it to Revere and use the program to guide their National Youth Violence Prevention week activities. In April 2021, they reached out to senior Meredith Stein, who is now the student leader of the club. Stein explained the history of the club.

“I went through all the processes to get it approved at the end of last year so that we can start meeting this year. I worked on some things over the summer with Mrs. Simonelli, the adviser, to build up a bit of a base of membership and then get the club rolling so that we could be prepared to start the year,” Stein said.

The school ultimately chose the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation’s program above other candidates for its approach at cutting off violence at the source. Andrew Peltz, Revere High School principal, explained the benefits of the Sandy Hook Promise.

“What is good about the Sandy Hook promise is that it’s trying to go, ‘What’s causing people to do gun violence?’ It’s not at the core of what people generally want to do, so if we make people feel more included we can make people feel better. If we address some mental health issues, then, you know, people wouldn’t turn to gun violence to begin with,” Peltz said.

Additionally, the Sandy Hook Promise focuses more on positive reinforcement than harsher strategies. Bonnie Simonelli, the club’s adviser, elaborated on this.

“SAVE wants people to get to know each other and make connections instead of, you know, trying to identify who could be a problem. People have to get in front of it and do things for the whole school and do things for the whole district in a positive way. That’s our mission,” Simonelli said.

The SAVE club has many plans throughout the year. Stein talked through their schedule.

“We just finished […] ‘Start with Hello Week’, and then we’ll also have a Say Something event in October. There’s national youth violence prevention week, [and] in the spring, we’re going to organize a campaign called ASK, which stands for Asking Saves Kids,” Stein said.

Start With Hello Week is an event that took place from September 19-24.

“Sandy Hook promise released the overall idea of Start with Hello Week, along with promoting the themed activities in the school. […] We did change some of the other ideas, just that we didn’t feel fit our narrative as a school and the direction that we were headed. So, the smile wall was a Sandy Hook idea, but decided to make that one days worth of activities, and then we created the social mixing with different people,” Stein said.

The Department of Homeland Security founded the See Something, Say Something campaign in July 2010 to teach citizens how to spot suspicious activity. Revere has been a long-time supporter of the project, so the SAVE club was an opportunity to further promote the idea.

“We have this app that the Sandy Hook foundation set up [for] anonymous messaging for See Something, Say Something. Then, Officer Dressler is going to be doing classroom visits to inform them about the importance of it, and we’re going to try to spread awareness on social media,” Stein said.

National Youth Violence Prevention week is a Sandy Hook-guided event in late April that aims to educate students and faculty on how to stop violence at the source.

“We will do something districtwide to highlight violence prevention, […] like announcements [for the younger students that say] ‘Be kind to each other this week. You never know when somebody has something going on.’ But as we get into the older kids, maybe more statistics, like, [for example,] there were no school shootings last year because we weren’t in school. Being at school is stressful enough, and so maybe highlighting the stressors, ways to deal with stressors, and that there’s help for kids that are feeling kind of alone and isolated [will help],” Simonelli said.

ASK week will center around the campaign launched by Brady and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Asking Saves Kids. The idea is to ask gun-owners where their guns are stored and how they are ensuring children do not touch it.

“Yes I do have a gun, no I don’t—It should be a very common question, right? Because kids, most of the time, are shot by accident, because they don’t know about guns. They see something, they think it’s a toy because it’s not stored properly. It’s one of our big, big send-of-the-year things, and I’m so excited if we can do this. It might really save kids’ lives,” Simonelli said.

The event itself will take place mostly online. The club plans to ask principals across the district to share the content they have made with their students using the medium of their best judgment.

“We want this to be a districtwide informational [event]. Like I said, we already have a PowerPoint made by a parent. We also have a video that some of the students made to kind of introduce it, so it’s all set. We just have to get the permission to go ahead and produce it and send it out to the public,” Simonelli said.

The club itself operates with a simple step-by-step structure. Stein and Simonelli meet to discuss what they want to get out of and how to perform the event that they are working on at the time. Twice a month, the club meets, and Stein assigns club members tasks to work towards the end goal. The club also uses Google Classroom, the remind app, and their instagram, @revere_saveclubpromise to communicate with its members. Anyone is welcome to join at any time.

“We are open to anyone who is willing to come and help out and we love more members,” Stein said.