Action Tips: Don't Be a Statistic Day

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Statistics are just a bunch of numbers, but behind the statistics are stories – high school drop-out statistics tell stories of many students struggling to keep up with school and life, HIV statistics tell stories of a person whose life changed forever in a matter of seconds, etc. Here's a way to help people understand the statistics and leave a lasting impression they can see and feel. Sometimes you just have to see it to believe it.

Step 1

A demonstration like this will have a big impact so you'll definitely need to get this cleared with your school first. Approach your principal with a proposal for a demonstration that raises awareness and helps to discourage dropping out (or whatever other cause you choose to demonstrate).

Step 2

Find a relevant statistic that conveys a clear point about your cause. The statistic can apply to a day a week or a year, you'll recognize what stat would be most appropriate later on (Make sure the number is accurate though).

The point of this demonstration is to use the school community itself to represent the statistic, let me show you what we mean:

The cause you’ve chosen is high school dropouts. Let's say for example that each year nearly 5% of students drop out of high school (NOTE: This is not a real statistic! The stats are a great deal more horrific.). Persuade 5% of the students in your school to wear a special shirt, or anything, to distinguish them from the rest of the students. Now the community can visually grasp the issue; as they pass through the halls or while they eat lunch. They'll have a visual representation of the magnitude of the problem. If there are 1000 students attending your high school, you can expect to see 50 students walking the halls representing just how many people are at risk of dropping out. Even with a low statistic like 5%, chances are there'll probably be one in your own class, at your own table or one with a locker beside yours.

Some other suggestions would be to have people sign the shirts of those randomly selected to wear distinguishing shirts. Naturally, there will be a lot of signatures showing just how large of an impact even one dropout has on the community they're a part of. Displaying the signed shirts afterwards will leave a dramatic impression.

Alternatives are covering random lockers to match your stat, for example 5% of all the lockers. Perhaps for a few days 5% more of the lockers can be randomly covered to show how many students in the community you expect to drop out by the end of the year. The more dramatic, the larger the impact - be creative! (Again, just be sure to get permission from the administration.)

Step 3

Ask friends, classmates and teachers to help you out by volunteering. Also make sure the way you intend to represent the statistic is appropriate, and have the principal's okay.

Step 4

Remember: while you're making a huge point about the severity of the problem, you're also trying to help reduce the numbers and support those at risk. Make sure to include some helpful information like pamphlets or fact sheets that are easy to make and distribute. Links, names and other resources are all helpful. If you've arranged a team of helpers for the day of the demonstration, remind them of their duties and the objective; having each of them help spread the word and support the cause makes this kind of demonstration that much more influential.

Step 5

See the results. Get feedback from people. See what they thought, what parts impacted them the most, and see how your participants felt all day. Share these results and observations with the rest of your school when you're done.

Step 6

Make sure to thank everyone involved and encourage them to provide continual support for causes such as this within and beyond the community.

Tips:

  • Consider having such an event on a day that is relevant to your cause. For example, if your cause if Teen Pregnancy, do it in May on National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
  • Make a greater impact by making it a yearly event.