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On Saturday, October 17th, area villages of South County will unite to raise awareness about bullying in our local schools and hope to extend that awareness to all of society. The event is called “The 3rd Annual Chalk It Up Against Bullying.” It runs from 11 am to 2 pm. The focus of this event is to “take a stand” against bullying in a peaceful and artistic manner by creating displays of positive behavior and messages of peace. There will be free chalk handed out and the sidewalks of Wickford, Westerly, and Wakefield will be an open canvas to draw a peace symbol or children holding hands or just the words “stop bullying.” For more information on this event and to register, visit The Washington County Coalition for Children’s website at www.washcokids.org.
Susan Orban, LICSW is a coordinator for the Washington County Coalition for Children. She provided me with a ton of great information from the coalition about local school statistics, the mission of the Washington County Coalition for Children, as well as the literature project happening in conjunction with National Bullying Prevention month, which happens to be October. For more information on this topic, visit www.washcokids.org.
Children’s mental health is a priority for the Washington County Coalition for Children. Local bullying statistics from Survey Works document the need for what we do.
The Washington County Coalition for Children has been engaged in bullying prevention for the last 5 years:
- working to implement evidence-based bullying prevention programs in our schools
- conducting community awareness activities like Chalk It Up Against Bullying in our downtowns
- supporting social emotional competence in area preschools through monthly lessons in which parents and teachers are Planting the Seeds of Kindness in their youngsters
- promoting middle school literature in area libraries that model bullying prevention best practices with our Let’s Make Bullying a Myth reading lists and library tool kits.
Stories have always been powerful motivators. Now an emerging body of research highlights the importance of literature in teaching important life skills and empathy – critical to bullying prevention. But not all books with bullying themes promote best practices and teach kids the skills they need to combat it. For this reason, volunteers from the Washington County Coalition for Children worked to identify middle school books that do. They scoured recommended book lists and this summer read over 50 books using best practice criteria (attached) to develop the attached list of 24 recommended books. With the help of a $1,500 GFWC Women’s Club of South County grant, we purchased 5 of these books to donate to each middle school library. We donated 1 book to each of our public libraries. We have assembled tool kits with copies of our recommended book lists for display and distribution to teachers and students and have been delivering them this week (to celebrate National Bullying Prevention Month – Oct 1).
Hope this helps provide a framework for why we are involved in this important work for our children.
Susan A. Orban, LICSW
Washington County Coalition for Children