5 Compassionate Organizations Taking A Stand Against Bullying
Bullying is a common issue in schools all around the world, and it can lead to serious physical or emotional problems if left unchecked. Luckily, many groups are working hard to curb this cruel practice. In no particular order, here are some organizations dedicated to reducing and ending bullying.
First up, at #1, we have STOMP Out Bullying. Dedicated to reducing and preventing bullying and digital abuse, it seeks to educate kids and teens in the U.S. against homophobia, discrimination, hatred, and violence in schools and online. Through its HelpChat Line, trained volunteers help distressed individuals and provide emotional support to those who may be at risk of self-harm.
In an effort to promote kindness and inclusivity, the organization's National Culture Week provides young people an opportunity to share and learn from each other's diverse cultural backgrounds and experiences. It also has a group of volunteers known as Youth Leaders; they are established student activists who act as positive role models and raise awareness through public speaking engagements.
Taking the #2 spot is Operation Respect. Founded in 1999, it is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing children's social and emotional growth to help them develop into compassionate and respectful adults. The group's Don't Laugh at Me curriculum aims to provide young people with the skills to establish a peaceful and supportive learning environment.
Don't Laugh at Me includes various classroom sessions focused on instruction in social-emotional learning skills, including creative conflict resolution, active listening, and the healthy expression of feelings. Among the curriculum's themes is Celebrating Diversity, which helps teach students how to become sensitive to acts of prejudice and bias.
At #3 is PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. Recognizing that bullying is a serious community issue that negatively impacts the safety and well-being of students, the group seeks to address this by providing various age-appropriate resources, such as guides on how to communicate with school staff or how to be supportive of one's peers.
The organization's Teens Against Bullying website aims to inspire others to get involved with social change and actively promote kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. The group also creates school-wide opportunities and events, such as National Bullying Prevention Month, which promotes dialogue between educators, students, and parents.
Coming in at #4 is Hey UGLY. Founded in 2002, it aims to empower youth worldwide to address bullying, substance abuse, and self-harm through empathy-building web content and various other programs. In the group's Choose To Change Radio Show, teen guest DJs suggest songs that tackle themes such as equality, positive self-esteem, and diversity.
The organization also hosts interactive self-esteem and compassion-building school assemblies that feature various media personalities, such as Dan Evans, a former contestant of The Biggest Loser. Among its other programs is an annual video contest, where participants submit media that inspires others to take action against bullying.
Finally, at #5, we have the Peace Center, which seeks to foster inclusive, equitable, and safe communities worldwide. It has partnered with several school districts in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, to help address bullying in the region, providing guidance in the form of suggested protocols and intervention when needed.
“Some of these schools are so large they might not get the additional attention they need,” said Bullying Prevention Specialist Marianne Elias. “That’s where the Peace Center has the ability to meet with students and meet with adults.” The Peace Center has been so successful in helping teachers, parents, students and police officers deal with bullying that they’ve recently received a federal grant. The grant will fund a bullying resource center for the next 15 months. “We’ve got intervention methods that bring together not only the bully and the victim but the families,” said Barbara Simmons of the Peace Center.
Through its Girls Unlimited program, students can learn practical ways to manage their anger, as well as how to intervene when witnessing relational aggression. The organization's staff is also trained to hold facilitated dialogues or even mediation and conflict coaching between children and families who have been affected by a cyberbullying incident.