On June 21 and June 22, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), in collaboration with EdVenture Partners and the McCain Institute for International Leadership, hosted the finalists for Invent2Prevent, a program that empowers university and high school students to develop innovative projects that help prevent targeted violence and terrorism.
American University and Marysville High School won the competitions for the university and high school categories, respectively.
Since Invent2Prevent was launched in Spring 2021, more than 700 students in 77 collegiate programs across 28 states and Washington D.C. and 27 high school pilot programs across 16 states have participated in Invent2Prevent.
The United States remains in a heightened threat environment, and Invent2Prevent presents an opportunity to harness diverse perspectives from students from high schools and universities across the nation by providing them with a hands-on opportunity to create their own responses to targeted violence and terrorism impacting their schools and local communities.
As part of this semester-long project, each university team evaluated a current threat facing the nation. They then identified an opportunity to create a program or tool to better educate a specific target audience on the potential vulnerabilities that could lead individuals to commit acts of targeted violence or terrorism. The three university finalists finished in the following order:
- American University, Washington, D.C.: D.U.C.C. – Developing and Using Critical Comprehension (D.U.C.C.) is an educational tool for combatting inaccurate information that threatens our security through critical comprehension skills. The D.U.C.C. program cultivates digital literacy among at-risk youth through a comprehensive approach making them less vulnerable and less likely to engage with extremist content online. The D.U.C.C. program consists of online resources and tools equipping students with the critical thinking and emotional intelligence skills needed to identify dangerous behaviors online. Students, parents, and teachers can access the program through an online hub. Visit the D.U.C.C. project at www.ducc.online/
- Missouri State University, Springfield, MO.: Caliber Gaming Alliance leverages gaming to promote real-life connections among community members in a hate-free environment to reduce risk factors and susceptibility to radicalization among veterans and at-risk youth. Caliber’s game nights and discord server offer members an opportunity to connect, while the mentorship program gives veterans opportunities to educate members on how to protect themselves online through three key pillars: online safety, identifying hate speech and promoting connections through gaming. Visit the CALIBER project at www.calibergaming.org/
- University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, N.D.: Be S.E.E.N.N. is an educational program and movement that assesses how invisibility issues can lead to Native Americans becoming targets of violence by hate groups and being discriminated against. Be S.E.E.N.N. educates users about Native Americans and their cultures to lessen the perpetuation of stereotypes, racism, and targeted violence while addressing invisibility issues. Their education module allows students the opportunity to earn a Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion badge upon completion. Visit the Be S.E.E.N.N. project at www.facebook.com/beSEENN22
As part of this semester-long project, each high school team evaluated a current threat facing their school or community and created a program or initiative to better educate a specific target audience on the potential vulnerabilities that could lead individuals to carry out acts of targeted violence or acts of hate. The three high school finalists finished in the following order:
- Marysville High School, Marysville, Ohio: High Five REACT is a high school club that seeks to prevent bullying and discrimination in schools by using games and digital content to mentor elementary and middle school students, promoting pro-social experiences and building protective factors through interpersonal skills and healthy relationships. The team is building a mentoring program between primary and secondary students to encourage a social and emotional learning (SEL) curriculum. Throughout the mentorship program, this team teaches the foundations of how to maintain healthy relationships, forge connections with peers, and develop the tools to successfully engage with social-emotional situations/conflicts. Visit the High Five REACT project at www.high5mevsd.org/
- Newburyport High School, Newburyport, Mass.: E.P.I.C. is a project that combats isolation and exclusion among vulnerable populations to mitigate potential acts of targeted violence. They work with at-risk eighth-grade Newburyport students who have lost two “normal” years of schooling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Once students complete E.P.I.C.’s curriculum, which focuses on developing teamwork skills across diverse groups, they participate in a group hiking expedition. E.P.I.C has also developed Listen2Learn, which is social media content designed to make members of the Newburyport community feel heard and promote inclusivity by sharing stories of welcoming or unwelcoming times. Visit the EPIC project at www.instagram.com/nbpt_voices/
- Bob Jones High School, Bob Jones, Ala.: BJ Connect! provides an outlet for students to connect with other students about mental health issues without feeling isolated and the presence of social stigmas. They work with high school students at Bob Jones who are searching for community and an environment conducive to fostering conversations and friendships, as well as Bob Jones faculty who promote a supportive community that recognizes and mitigates social isolation. The initiative encourages communication and connection through weekly Patriot Path sessions and provides mental health resources through their social media pages. Additionally, the team created the Ask & Tell Card Game to foster new friendships and communication. The game is available in card stock as well as online on Quizlet. Visit the BJ Connect! at www.instagram.com/officialbjconnect/
For more information, please visit dhs.gov.