Safe Surfin’ News

SSF Goes to the Vatican


SSF Founder and Bedford County Sheriff Mike Brown and his wife, university psychology professor and researcher Dr. Janet M. Brown are wheels up today, winging their way toward Rome, to make a special presentation to the Global Sustainability Network at the Vatican later this week.

They were invited to be presenters to the Global Sustainability Network ( GSN ) at the Vatican April 26 and 27, 2019.

The message is one they have heralded for 21 years now through the Safe Surfin’ Foundation ( SSF ): that of cyber safety and responsibility. The difference now is that a program developed by the SSF has garnered attention internationally. The program, called Cyber S.W.A.T. ( Safety While Accessing Technology ), represents a breakthrough, a paradigm shift in reaching young people about safe and responsible citizenship in cyberspace. The breakthrough is a peer-to-peer mentoring model based upon Social Cognitive Learning, a theory espoused and promulgated by eminent psychologist Dr. Albert Bandura (Stanford University).

Cyber S.W.A.T. was first developed by the SSF and deployed at Jefferson Forest High School in 2016 ( with BCSO Sgt. Ryan Hilbish facilitating and moderating ), and the program is now in its third successful year there. In 2018, the SSF formed a partnership with the National White Collar Crime Center ( NW3C ) to build out the Cyber S.W.A.T. program, with plans to further test and refine the program at a number of additional strategically-selected public and private schools this fall, prior to a subsequent national and eventual international rollout. This has been heralded as “A Partnership for Good in the World.” Also in 2018, the US Dept. of Justice awarded a C.O.P.S.* grant of $300,000 to aid in the further development of Cyber S.W.A.T. Additionally, the SSF has also joined forces with and the MOSAIC Federation, founded by SSF Board Member Tony Schiena… and Liberty University is lending enthusiastic support for Cyber S.W.A.T. in a number of ways.

*Community-Oriented Policing Services

This GSN event is hosted at the Vatican by Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.

The GSN is a network of more than 700 global change-makers across Government, Business, Faith, Media, Community and NGOs, and Academia sectors committed to achieving Goal 8 ( with special emphasis on Goal 8.7: tackling Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking ) of the United Nations 17 Sustainability Goals.