Getting to Know Carleen Wray, Executive Director of the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere

If you aren’t familiar with the student-driven organization Students Against Violence Everywhere (also known as SAVE) then you should know that this locally based non-profit is doing everything they can to educate students on alternatives to violence and practice what they learn through school and community service projects. Through their programs and events students learn crime prevention and conflict management skills and the virtues of good citizenship, civility, and nonviolence.

savelogo-copyWe are pleased to have been able to interview Carleen Wray, Executive Director of the National Association of SAVE to learn about her role and some of the projects that have launched locally.

 

RH: How did you get involved with SAVE?
CW: I became involved with the National Association of Students Against Violence Everywhere in 1993 while working for NC Governor’s Crime Commission and the Center for the Prevention of School Violence. We conducted Town Hall Meetings across North Carolina looking for what was working in our state to prevent school violence. SAVE was shared at one of the Town Hall meetings. After further research we decided the nonprofit had a promising strategy and easy to duplicate in other schools and communities.

RH: What has been your greatest achievement since assuming the role of Executive Director?
CW: I recently received the Triangle Business Journal’s 2015 Women in Business Award for simply doing my job.

RH: We are proud to have such an amazing nonprofit based in Raleigh! Why was our city chosen to be the National headquarters?
CW: SAVE began in Charlotte, so when we rolled out as a national nonprofit in 2001 it was important for us to stay true to our North Carolina roots. SAVE was a program of the Center for the Prevention of School Violence that was based in Raleigh from 1993-2001, and it was a natural fit to keep the organization in Raleigh when we expanded nationally.

RH: How many SAVE chapters are there in the Unites States? Internationally?
CW: SAVE has established 2,152 chapters. Of those, 23 are outside the US.

RH: Who can start a local chapter?
CW: Anyone! We are contacted by students, parents, grandparents, educators, law enforcement, community organizations, etc. who are interested in starting local chapters.

RH: What is included with membership?

Garner High School SAVE Chapter

Garner High School SAVE Chapter

CW: By registering with the National Association of SAVE, chapters receive numerous benefits in joining the network of SAVE chapters nationwide and internationally. In addition to getting an annual chapter certificate and SAVE affiliation, members gain access to the “chapter-only” section of the website which includes the latest SAVE lesson plans, special guest messages, direct email access to the SAVE founders and other resources.

Chapters also become eligible for opportunities including annual awards, National SAVE Youth Advisory Board selection, special prizes and mini-grants. This school year, The Allstate Foundation awarded the National Association of SAVE a generous $75,000 grant that aided a combined 35 local SAVE school chapters in North Carolina and Mississippi in promoting youth safety efforts with a special focus on teen safe driving.

RH: How can the local community get involved?
CW: Community members can get involved by volunteering with a local SAVE Chapter or volunteering for the National SAVE Summit, which takes place in Raleigh in the spring. Anyone interested can contact National SAVE and we will be happy to put you in touch with a local chapter.

RH: We understand one of the chapters recently put together an Anti-texting While Driving Event, please tell me a little about it and what other projects or events we can look forward to seeing.

Garner High SAVE Chapter Anti-Texting Event Mock Crash

Garner High SAVE Chapter Anti-Texting While Driving Event Mock Crash

CW: Thanks to funding from The Allstate Foundation, 20 SAVE Chapters in NC received mini grants to conduct Teen Safe Driving projects. Since May was National Teen Safe Driving month, many chapters conducted activities surrounding prom and graduation.

The local Garner High School SAVE Chapter was very active this spring! They held an “X the Text” event in April where students pledged not to text and drive and more recently the chapter held a Junior and Senior Choices & Consequences Assembly with speakers sharing info on distracted driving and drinking while driving. The chapter partnered with the Garner Police Dept., Fire Dept. and Wake County EMS to hold the seminar that included a simulated mock crash for juniors and seniors prior to prom.

SAVE chapters in the Triangle are doing great things and will hit the ground running when school starts again in the fall.  They will focus on all aspects of youth violence prevention and youth safety.  Hot topic issues that will be addressed include self-harm and suicide, bullying, dating violence and they will continue their focus on Teen Safe Driving since motor vehicle crashes are the number one killer of teens in the US. For more information on SAVE, visit www.nationalsave.org.

Get to Know Carleen:
Since we are a local magazine about locals we asked Carleen a few quick fire questions about her favorite spots around Raleigh (or Wake County)!

How long have you lived in Raleigh/NC?
Since 1985

Are you a NC native or transplant? If transplant, from where?
Ohio born and raised, but have called North Carolina home for the past 30 years! (You are making me feel old).

Favorite Local Restaurant:
Two Cousins in Angier

Favorite Outdoor Activity:
Dog walking! I also volunteer with a rescue organization and love spending time with fosters.

Favorite Park:
Lake Benson and White Deer Park – I have great memories with my grandkids there.

Favorite cupcake/dessert/bakery shop:
CC’s Sweets & Treats

Favorite Local Coffee Spot:
I love Bruegger’s Coffee, my favorite one is off Small Pines Drive in South Raleigh.

Favorite Raleigh/NC landmark:
Love Falls Lake! I worked with the NC State Parks and Recreation when I first moved to Raleigh and the office was on the lake. Canoeing at lunchtime was great!

Favorite Museum:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Favorite Food Truck:
No favorite yet

Favorite local boutique:
Cat Banjo

Very special thanks to Carleen Wray for taking the time to interview with us! 

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