High school in Avondale launches new program to help kids in crisis

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(Source: 3TV/CBS 5) (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
AVONDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The mass shooting at a Florida high school last month is shining a new spotlight on campuses across the country, as students rally to find ways to prevent future tragedies.

Over at Westview High School in Avondale, students announced they've developed a new program to help identify kids in crisis and then get them the help they need.

[RELATED: Arizona students protest gun violence in meetings at Capitol]

"Noticing the warning signs, knowing what they are and finding the proper resources for their friends," said student Nicholas Contreras. 

"Giving them courage and encouragement to actually do that because a lot of people don't have the courage, or don't feel like its their place to do it."

[RELATED: Arizona students prepare for March for Our Lives rally in Phoenix]

The new program creates student ambassadors, who will wear special, purple shirts every Thursday that identifies them to any student in crisis as someone they can trust..

Some of the biggest issues on high school campuses include, bullying, suicide, drugs, family problems and relationships.

Grace Martinez is one of the new student ambassadors.

[RELATED: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey rolls out school safety package]

She said the idea for the ambassador program came about after Martinez and her classmates attended a "Speak up, Stand up, Save a life" conference, where thousands of students had a chance to meet with police, educators and community leaders.

 "I got involved because I know the pain of bullying," said Martinez. "I know how it is to feel like you are nobody, and I know how it is to feel when you are alone. I want to make sure nobody feels like that any more."

Student ambassadors hope if their program proves successful, other high schools will do the same.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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