Violence is Preventable (VIP)

What is the violence is preventable (VIP) Program?

Since 1992, VIP has been taught in dozens of elementary and middle schools throughout southeastern Connecticut. VIP utilizes a science-based curriculum called Second Step, providing students with the social-emotional skills they need to be successful in life socially and academically.
VIP programs were founded on the belief that:


1. Everyone is important.
2. Ending violence is predicated on the recognition of everyone’s inherent worth, even when they make bad choices.

What are the program goals?

For students to…


  • Understand that they are important, that others are important, and that having a positive self-image contributes to making good decisions
  • Develop tools for managing and expressing strong emotions
  • Develop healthy communication skills for dealing with conflict
  • Learn how to be an ally to their peers and in their communities

VIP in Elementary Schools

Our K-5 Violence Is Preventable programs work with students over a series of weeks to develop and hone the social-emotional skills they will need to live happy, healthy lives. Students in these programs receive weekly VIP classes for up to 12 weeks as part of their regular school day. Educators provide age-appropriate instruction designed to cater to the different learning styles of all students. Typical lessons include interactive games, puppets, song and dance, role-plays, and storytelling.

The questions our program seek to answer are:
  • What is violence? How can we stop it from happening?
  • What is empathy? How does it differ from sympathy?
  • What words can we use to tell some people how we feel?
  • Is anger good or bad? How do you know when you are angry?
  • What helps you calm down?
  • When someone does something we don’t like, how should we talk to them about it?
  • What are effective ways to problem solve?
  • What is negative peer pressure? How can they assertively stand up to it?
  • What is the difference between tattling and reporting?
  • What does a good apology sound like?

VIP in Middle Schools

Our middle school Violence is Preventable program builds upon the skills developed in our elementary school program, and provides students with more sophisticated tools to navigate the unique and complex problems they encounter as adolescents. Students receive weekly or monthly classes with educators for up to 20 weeks. Lessons engage students in thoughtful conversations as well as hands-on practice of crucial social skills. Typical lessons include role-plays, multi-media components, opportunities for group work and critical thinking, and circles.

YouTube video

Child Protection Unit

New lessons focused on preventing child sexual assault by equipping our students with the knowledge Recognize, Refuse and Report unsafe touch.


Lesson topics include:


  • The Roots & Fruits of Violence: its roots, its effects on our community, and our roles in preventing it
  • Empathy development and understanding different points of views
  • Managing strong emotions and learning to stay calm
  • Communicating effectively: active listening and being assertive
  • Understanding prejudice and recognizing stereotypes
  • Problem solving and conflict resolution: how to solve our problems without damaging our relationships
  • Standing up to peer pressure and setting boundaries