BullyingCanada supports tens of thousands of abused youth with a robust network of volunteers who are trained in resolving and coping with these situations. Myriad resources are made available to children and to school administrators across the nation.
COMBATING CRUEL BULLYING OF CHILDREN FOR OVER A DECADE
BY JAMES RYAN
This December, BullyingCanada will turn thirteen years old. Since its inception in 2006, by fourteen-year-old Katie Thompson (Neu) and seventeen-year-old Rob Benn-Frenette, O.N.B., BullyingCanada has been tirelessly working on supporting bullied youth throughout Canada.
Katie and Rob formed BullyingCanada out of frustration owing to a lack of resources when they experienced their extreme bullying. Still bearing the physical and emotional scars, they continue to support bullied youth, trying to make the world a safer, happier place.
These past thirteen years have been a time of significant progress, with bullying going from accepted and expected childhood behavior to becoming a public health issue. Yet, BullyingCanada still helps more than seventy-five-thousand youth each year. Because BullyingCanada operates on a case-management system—staying involved until the bullying situation has been resolved—they receive, on average, over one-thousand communications each day from youth in crisis from across the nation. Though increasingly less tolerated, these incidences of bullying and extreme bullying are happening at alarming levels, and they can have devastating, lasting consequences for all involved—victim, bystander, and bully. Bullying can lead to issues with both mental and physical health.
Most of the calls BullyingCanada get can be described as nightmarish, but they're all certainly emotionally taxing. Those volunteers working on the support team endure a rollercoaster of emo tions on any given day. Rob Benn-Frenette shares some relatively recent stories:
"Though our calls aren't typically this grim, last year, I picked up the phone when a middle-schooler called BullyingCanada to ask that a final message be relayed to her parents when they got home, because she didn't want a younger sibling to find her first. She had slit her wrists and was hiding in her bedroom closet. Why? Because her tormenters told her to do so. Thankfully, we were able to get emergency personnel to her in time to save her life."
"I remember another incident where a boy called us after seeing our television commercial; he was desperate to escape this torment. This six-year-old and I talked for about two hours—he told me his heartbreaking story about being bullied continuously, pushed and shoved on the playground, and continually teased. We were able to address and resolve his situation.
After, he reached out to ask if we could meet for him to say thank you. We usually don't meet our clients (we had just over 76,000 last year), but I made an exception in his case. Speaking to him reminded me that this is why I do what I do."
EVERY MOMENT COUNTS: The longer a child is bullied, the more likely they are to develop physical, emotional, and psychological scars that can last a lifetime. Resolving bullying situations involves directly facilitating communication between bullied kids, their tormentors, parents, teachers, school boards, social services, and police.
BullyingCanada supports these tens of thousands of abused youth with a robust network of volunteers who are trained in resolving and coping with these situations. Myriad resources are made available to children and to school administrators across the nation.
In addition to providing anti-bullying posters, brochures, and other collateral, BullyingCanada gives hundreds of presentations at schools and community groups nationwide. These presentations cover a variety of topics for staff, volunteers, and students. Since starting this Youth Voices program, BullyingCanada has conducted more than 4,000 of these workshops.
BullyingCanada manages to do all of this, and more, on a limited budget that supports its volunteers with the necessary resources to provide the crucial help to bullied youth. If you need help or you wish to support this registered charity by donating or volunteering, please visit them online at BullyingCanada.ca or call (877) 3524497.
Bullying is devastating, dangerous, illegal, and unacceptable. Don't be a passive observer, if you see it: say something.
If your child is experiencing bullying, contact their teacher(s) and their school – hold them accountable for behavior at school – and offer them access to support resources, such as those provided by BullyingCanada."
BULLYING AWARENESS : TIPS FOR PARENTS
- • Be involved
- • Know what's going on and openly communicate with your child.
- • Notice their moods and feelings.
- • Be persistent
- • Regularly ask about your child's friendships (keep in mind your child may describe bullying behavior without calling it that).
- • Monitor their online activities and social media usage. • Be on the lookout
- • Keep an eye on their grades — investigate any major shifts.
- • Notice if they're missing any important or prized possessions.
- • Be mindful
- • Listen without judgment.
- • Remember that it's not up to the child to fix the situation (if they could, they wouldn't seek help from adults).
BullyingCanada is only national anti-bullying charity solely dedicated to creating a brighter future for bullied youth. What began as a youth-created website to bring together bullied kids and provide information on bullying and how to stop it is now a full 24/7 support service. On any day of the year, at any time, youth, parents, coaches and teachers contact BullyingCanada by phone, online chat and email for help on how to make their bullying stop. Its Support Team has more than 215 highly-trained volunteers.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
James Ryan is the Director of Public Relations for BullyingCanada Inc, which is Canada's premier– and first youth-created–anti-bullying charity. Founded by Rob Benn-Frenette, O.N.B., and Katie Thompson (Neu) in 2006, BullyingCanada has served hundreds of thousands of youth across the country by, among other initiatives, providing individual support, extensive resources, case management, scholarships, and presentations to schools and organizations.