Local youth and teens in United Way programs fight back against bullying

Elements of this story come courtesy of Girl Scouts Heart of the South, one of United Way’s partner nonprofit agencies.

Bullying - whether in person or over a computer - is a subject receiving more attention from children, parents and educators.

The topic of “school bullying” has received increased attention of late, from both local and national sources. Whether the oppression is taking place in person or over the internet, it’s clear that the subject is of major concern to children, parents, educators and leaders across the Mid-South.

Earlier this year, Girl Scout Troop 10475 shared their thoughts related to the topic of bullying. The scouts were aware that bullying has led some teens to attempt (and others to succeed) committing suicide. The troop decided to fight against bullying at their school by engaging in an anti-bullying campaign.

Scouts created highly-visible messages to support anti-bullying efforts at school (Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts Heart of the South)

The scouts designed posters, pencils, and t-shirts with the slogan “Friends Don’t Bully.” The posters were prominently displayed at different schools and area businesses. During PTA meetings, the troop also distributed booklets about bullying to parents. You can read more about the troop’s work here.

Bullying can affect all children. Children who are victimized as well as children who engage in bullying are affected. Even children who do not seem to be as directly impacted like witnesses or assistants in bullying can carry emotional scars many years after the events have taken place.

In addition to the work of our network partner agencies like Girl Scouts Heart of the South, United Way’s youth program is preparing to engage teens around social service work related to the issue.

“Our Youth United Way program students have been talking about the problem of bullying. They discuss it with each other, and mention it in their e-mails. It’s something they care about, and we’re getting involved,” said Clint Anderson, Director of the Youth United Way Leadership Program. Anderson and the teens in the program will discuss bullying, effective ways to resolve youth conflicts, and what Youth United Way can do to be a positive force for making a difference around the issue later this month and in November.

(Note: Paul Smothers contributed to this article)

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