A Million Youth in a Thousand Cities Celebrate the First "Safe Night USA"

National replication of a youth substance abuse and violence prevention program

Wisconsin Public Television hosted Safe Night USA, a one-night national youth substance abuse and violence prevention program held simultaneously in over 1,100 cities in all 50 states on June 5, 1999.

The event was also broadcast live in Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and Washington, D.C. About 1 million youth participated in the activities.

Key Results

  • The broadcast was simulcast by 90 percent of US public television affiliates and by Black Entertainment Television (BET), reaching a significant number of African-American youth and leaders.
    • Approximately 1.22 million people viewed the broadcast.
  • Local affiliates of the 10 national partnering organizations (which included The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the 4-H National Council, and 100 Black Men of America, Inc.), as well as community organizations, sponsored Safe Nights USA activities.
    • The activities included stage entertainment, dances, swim parties, and other participatory events, each with structured time to learn and discuss problem-solving, conflict resolution, substance abuse avoidance, and anger management.
  • A self-evaluation, based on site reports, planner questionnaires, and youth surveys after the Safe Night USA event provided strong evidence that Safe Night USA met its goals.
    • According to the study, participants — ranging in age from 7 to 21 years, 43 percent male, 57 percent female — enjoyed themselves, ended up feeling safer in their communities, and learned important information about avoiding drugs and violence and making use of community resources.
  • Safe Night USA received national media coverage, including ABC's "World News Tonight" and articles in TV Guide and the Los Angeles Times.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $1,147,903 in funding from August 1998 August 1999 to support the event.

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