Pro-social is defined as behavior that is positive, helpful, and intended to promote social acceptance, friendship and inclusion. Golden Gate Movement’s pro-social clubs and initiatives cultivate these altruistic behaviors with the intent to eliminate undesirable social behaviors and establish environments that are beneficial and safe for the well-being of students and society. We’ve organized a pro-social approach for the purpose of generating a network of friendships and promoting healthy environments within schools.
It boils down to a note left behind by an unknown man who took his life at the Golden Gate Bridge. Found in his bare apartment, the note said, “I’m going to walk to the bridge. If one person smiles at me on the way, I will not jump.” A single smile could have saved a life. Perhaps organized smiles and social outreach coming together will be, or at least will foster the change needed in our schools, homes and communities.
In meetings with school officials, the consensus seems to be that anti-bullying, suicide-prevention, and various ambassador programs do not always address the needs in helping students make connections to school and peers. This is mostly due to the fact that far too many of the existing programs limit the number of students who may join. Golden Gate has no credit or GPA requirement. A student cannot fail Golden Gate or any of its lower grade level iterations.
Students feel a need to belong to something positive. In many cases, this need to belong, in the absence of a positive organization or entity, leaves them yearning to belong to anything they can join; even negative peer groups, gangs, etc. Without social support and friends, some may consider violent acts of desperation as an outlet for their pain.
Though not an anti-bullying, anti-violence or anti-suicide program per se, the non-profit Golden Gate Movement has significantly reduced the frequency and severity of bullying in the schools it serves by providing resources, associations, activities, friendships, confidence, and social insulation from bullies. Since bullies tend to be predators, preying upon the weak, different or unusual, isolated, often friendless loners that so often constitute their victim profile, providing potential victims with social resources, and friends gives the would-be bully a less appealing and more protected target.