Skip to main content

4-H, Be SAFE Helps Develop Youth/Adult Partnerships to Help Prevent Bullying

Posted by Amy McCune, 4-H National Headquarters, NIFA/USDA, and Karen Pace, Health & Nutrition Institute, Michigan State University Extension in Initiatives
Apr 13, 2016
A man working with youth
Research shows that adults working with youth strengthens bullying prevention efforts. Photo courtesy of 4-H.

(4-H’ers from across the country, U.S. territories, and Canada are converging on Washington, DC, for the 4-H National Conference, April 9-14.  4-H National Conference is the premier citizenship and civic engagement opportunity for 4-H members.  The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) provides funding and national program leadership for 4-H and is the home of 4-H National Headquarters.  This blog has also been published at

Every day, many young people feel unsafe, disconnected, unsupported, and harmed because of bullying, harassment, and other forms of violence. Be SAFE: Safe, Affirming, and Fair Environments is a Michigan State University Extension initiative that helps communities learn about and address these issues. Be SAFE taps the wisdom and resiliency of young people and invites youth and adults to work in partnership to create relationships and settings that are physically and emotionally safe.

Be SAFE offers a variety of educational resources to help communities reduce and prevent bullying while promoting healthy social and emotional learning and development. The initiative helps adults consider ways to do this within all of the settings where young people live, learn, grow, and develop – including 4-H and other out-of-school settings.

Developing youth-adult partnerships is a great way to strengthen bullying prevention efforts. Young people often know the most about these issues because they are the ones most impacted by mean-spirited, hurtful language and behaviors and the climate of fear that is created when bullying, bias, and harassment go unaddressed. This makes anti-bullying efforts particularly suited to youth-adult partnerships.

Research shows that when young people have strong connections and relationships with adults they are more resilient.  For many young people and adults, those connections, relationships, and partnerships can develop through their involvement with the 4-H Youth Development Program.  The 4-H program empowers youth to reach their full potential, working and learning in partnership with caring adults. 4-H is supported by land-grant university extension offices across the country and funded in part by NIFA.

Join the conversation on the Facebook page.

Category/Topic: Initiatives