This week is the 10th Annual Bullying Awareness Week – a call for everyone to think about how they can play a role in preventing bullying in their community. It’s a time to celebrate and promote solutions to the problems of bullying – because everyone deserves a safe and caring environment to grow up in, and we all have a hand in making that happen.
Chad Smith, Executive Director of the Rainbow Resource Centre, a United Way agency partner, knows how important that community support is. “Since about 2010, we’ve heard a lot in the news about bullying and the tragic suicides that have followed in the United States and across Canada,” he says. “But these things also happen in our own community.”
Rainbow Resource Centre works to build up three pillars for the youth that come to them – first, developing their leadership skills. Second, creating a community – giving them a place to connect with fellow LGBTT youth. And finally, developing personal resiliency. “Our kids often have to go back to schools and to homes where they may be bullied and may not be supported. This is a place,” says Smith, “where you can come if you’re LGBTT or an ally and feel safe to be yourself.”
The Canadian Red Cross (Manitoba) also addresses bullying and other forms of violence and abuse through its RespectED program, with support from United Way of Winnipeg. Designed to promote healthy relationships and safe environments, the program is delivered by presenters who travel to schools and many other organizations in the city and throughout the province.
The United Way-supported Youth Agencies Alliance, a group of 18 youth-serving organizations, is marking Bullying Awareness Week by sharing links and stories on their Facebook page. On Tuesday, they highlighted a Winnipeg Free Press article about Ken Mason, who talks openly about being afraid of the older kids in his neighbourhood when he was young.
United Way is proud to support these agency partners – we believe in helping kids be all that they can be, and supporting mentorship, counselling, and out of school programs that nurture self-esteem, confidence, and positive behaviour.
For more information about bullying, including tips for how to prevent it, visit the RespectED website.