A program to combat bullying is a long-term investment in Southern Indiana's kidsThe groundwork for IU SON, Bloomington’s Say It Straight program began nearly three years ago when IU SON, Bloomington received a generous gift from the estate of Dr. Anita Aldrich, with a request that the gift be used to meet the health needs of South Central Indiana. Prior to her retirement, Dr. Joyce Krothe (then Assistant Dean of IU SON, Bloomington) and Clinical Assistant Professors Dr. Kim Decker and Derrick Garletts conducted a large-scale community assessment to identify Southern Indiana’s most pressing health needs – with substance abuse identified as the primary need to address.
Armed with this information, Dr. Decker and Centerstone Program Manager Matthew Clay – as part of the newly-funded Aldrich Project – began mapping out a strategy for implementing a communication assertiveness program in Morgan and Monroe Counties’ elementary and middle schools.
The result – Say It Straight – is an evidence-based assertiveness training program that empowers students (ages 6 – 15) in their everyday conversations. Through role plays, imagery, body sculptures, and open dialogue, Say It Straight helps students build self-esteem and self-control, reducing their sensitivity to negative peer pressure that can lead to poor self-image, over aggressive behaviors, and the potential for substance abuse.