Anti-bullying awareness continues in the community of Fort St. James.
On Nov. 3, the Canadian Red Cross hosted a free lasagna dinner for parents, children, teachers and community members at Fort St. James Secondary School.
The dinner/workshop focused on promoting safe relationships. The training objectives included: understanding the dynamics of bullying, understanding the guidelines in promoting healthy relationships and learning how to support children or youth who are experiencing bullying.
Ellie Langford-Parks from the Canadian Red Cross facilitated the event. “We used to think that bullying was a normal part of childhood but now we know it has serious consequences.”
In 2008, a B.C. health survey said that being bullied was a reality for 46 per cent of youth.
The dinner/workshop brought out a good crowd who were eager to chat and share their views on how this growing problem can be tackled in Fort St. James.
The agenda promoted discussion in: characteristics of healthy relationships, power, bullying, labels and stereotypes, the impacts of bullying and intervention and response.
“Everyone has the power to either help or hurt someone,” Langford-Parks said.
Great focus was put into cyberbullying and its effects today. According to Craig Houghton, principal at Fort St. James Secondary School, about 80 per cent of incidents involve cyberbullying. “This is the most difficult and the most harmful,” Houghton said.
Langford-Parks encouraged youth to go outside, get off-line and enjoy the beauty this world has to offer. “We get so hooked. Facebook has its place but we shouldn’t confuse it with real life,” she said.
For Jhenipher Bridgeman, at risk coordinator at FSJSS, the event was a success. “I’m surprised to see all the youth here tonight but this is really great. Some are furthering their training and will be facilitators. They will travel to elementary schools to talk to and mentor students about bullying.”
The workshop offered lots of time for discussion. According to Langford-Parks, in order for social change to happen, a community needs a big idea,a collective action, and lastly, an action.
Action against bullying is in the works in Fort St. James and beyond.
“The tide is turning. I want to be part of that change. I want to help communities who feel stuck and who want to make these changes,” Langford-Parks said.