Wear orange on a week from today

Published 10:18 am Wednesday, October 3, 2012

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Everyone knows what it’s like to be picked on. We all had similar experiences as a child. When I interview children who are requesting a mentor, they often tell me about being bullied. I’ve learned that kids are bullied at school, on the way to and from school, in their neighborhoods and even at home. Kids who are bullied repeatedly are afraid to go to school, or the park or any place where they may be targeted. PACER, an organization supporting families with children and youth with disabilities, launched National Bullying Prevention Month seven years ago, to gain attention for this issue.

“The culture of bullying won’t end until people across the country take action and show kids that they care,” says Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “National Bullying Prevention Month is a great opportunity to do that. This is a very real and painful issue that kids are facing but they don’t have to face it alone. Bullying can be prevented if we all work together to change the culture.”

One of the ways we can work together is by providing mentors to children who are often victims of bullying or to children who use bullying as a way to get the attention they need. STARS/Community Mentor Connection recruits, screens and trains volunteers as mentors. Each mentor is paired with a child in need of guidance and support. Then mentors and mentees get together two to four times a month for a couple of hours to enjoy activities based on their common interests.

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Perhaps when you were a child, you felt helpless about being bullied. You are not helpless now. You can help by volunteering as a mentor. For more information, contact me at 507-383-5272 or starsforkids @yahoo.com. And wear orange on Oct. 10, Unity Day, for bullying prevention. The slogan is, “Make it orange. Make it end.”


Carolyn Smith

STARS/Community Mentor Connection