Youth-to-youth model key to prevent bullying: Red Cross

Elementary school students across Port Alberni learned about how to prevent bullying this week.

ADSS leadership students talk to a John Howitt Elementary class about bullying on Nov. 17.

Elementary school students across Port Alberni learned about how to prevent bullying this week.

Students from Mike Roberts’ leadership class at Alberni District Secondary School were at John Howitt Elementary to deliver a message on how to prevent bullying in their schools on Tuesday.

According to Roberts, ADSS decided to partner with the ‘pink shirt’ anti-bullying campaign about eight years ago.

“We decided to do something as a school. We ended up making our own lesson plans and we went into elementary schools and we delivered our own anti-bullying campaign,” he said.

When the Red Cross developed their own curriculum a few years ago, Roberts had the opportunity to get trained in it.

“We then trained some youth because youth facilitation is the name of the game,” he said.

Having older students rather than adults deliver the curriculum is key, said Mary Crocker,  Red Cross provincial lead of the Respect, Education, Violence and Abuse Prevention Program.

“This bullying prevention program is called Beyond the Hurt,” she said.

“Our program is unique because of the peer youth-to-youth model and we’ve heard through time and experience that bullying prevention works best if it’s told to kids by kids.”

Roberts agreed.

“They listen. They just do,” he said.

“Although the senior students are young adults they’re still high school kids and the youth here know that. They see the passion.”

The senior students delivering the workshops are handpicked, Roberts said.

“I don’t take just any student. They want to be involved, they need to be the right person and they need to have passion about this so that it comes out in their presentations.”

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