By: Maria Moore
Bullying is an age-old problem, and the effects that bullies have on their victims can be devastating as they live under the threat of psychological and sometimes physical abuse. A difficult cycle of behavior to break, but one which the Rec Department is eager to take on. “You see bullying behavior even in young kids at camp.” Rec Director Dennis Minor told our reporter. And so he has developed a two-step program for children from Kindergarten through 6th grade to take on this difficult topic.
The first step, a discussion panel, “A Conversation About Bullying,” is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. this coming Thursday, February 10 in Berkshire Hall at Brodie Park. The panel, moderated by Rec Director Dennis Minor, brings together community members with a wide range of expertise on the topic including Christine Sloman, School Nurse, New Hartford Elementary, Jen Zenuh, New Hartford Board of Education, Roger Pearl, Hartford Police Officer, Sam Hartzell, Canton High School Student, and Recreational Therapist Lee Ann Taylor. Panel members will discuss bullying – how it occurs, why it occurs and how to effectively deal with it. They will also answer questions and consider input from the members of the public present. The panel discussion is free and all are welcome to attend.
Following up on the discussion panel, the Rec Department will offer a 6-week site based Mentoring program at Berkshire Hall. The program will provide students with an individual mentor/mentee match as well as group activities. Both adult and peer mentoring opportunities will be available. Matches will spend time playing board games or computer games, playing in the playground, working on homework, or just talking. The mentoring program is not a tutoring program; research has shown that children matched with a mentor in a site based setting show academic improvement over time, as well as exhibiting higher levels of self-confidence and a better attitude towards school. These are all factors that are important in nurturing resilience and reducing the risk and impact of bullying. The on site mentoring program costs $50 for the 6-week session (on going until end of school) and includes snacks. The sessions will be on Wednesday afternoons, from 3:30 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. A limited number of scholarships are available – please ask for details.
For more information about either the “Conversation About Bullying” discussion panel or the 6-week on site mentoring program, please call the Rec Office at 860-379-3877. Or better still, plan to attend the discussion panel at 6:00 p.m. this Thursday, February 10 and speak with the Rec staff directly. There will also be information available about the mentoring program.
Take the first step to end bullying: Attend the discussion panel and learn about this important topic.
Definitions of bullying: A bully (noun) = A person who is habitually cruel or overbearing, especially to smaller or weaker people. To bully (verb) = to treat abusively, to affect by means of force or coercion.