Our Steering Team has a new secretary so you should start seeing regular reports again!
Voices Against Bullying’s 10-member steering team met this past Saturday, February 29.
Positive steps are being taken on several fronts as we work toward our goals of assisting parents, stopping childhood bullying and collectively creating change and growth within our schools and communities.
* Plans for our Spring Into Action event - March 28, 2-4 p.m. - are well in hand. The event will feature five leading local mental health and anti-bullying advocates sharing their expertise and experience. The full scoop on the speakers is at the bottom of this report. Please plan to attend and share the flyer far and wide. We want to reach as many families who are struggling with bullying and mental health as possible.
* Our website has officially launched! Check it out at http://www.voicesagainstbullying.ca. The website content is a work in progress and will be updated in the near future with even more resources and valuable information for parents.
* Voices Against Bullying is working with our community partner Nick’s Journey to ensure the voices of elementary school children are heard by the Hamilton school board’s three-member Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel. Final details are coming together for Elementary Student Focused Anti-Bullying Sessions. The sessions will start the week of March 30th and be completed by April 21st, aligning with the review panel’s interim report in May 2020. These sessions are designed for Hamilton JK-8 students and their families. Watch for updates on both our Facebook page and website.
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As promised, here is more information on our guest speakers for March 28.
Anti-bullying and harassment specialist Kathleen Hilchey brings to the event 20 years of experience amassed through formal study, her work in education and recreation, and wisdom acquired through raising her own children. Kathleen has two foundational beliefs: bullying is a global issue that extends far beyond the moment of aggression; and if people are taught the skills to better handle conflict, bullying ends.
Seventeen-year-old Emerson Edwards has been bullied by fellow students for most of the past decade. The high school student who almost took his own life is now an empowered survivor who speaks honestly and from the heart about his life, his torment and his recovery. By sharing his story, Emerson hopes to lend his strength and support to others on the journey toward healing. He has been working hard to develop a culture of caring at his own high school and hopes to expand his ideas into other schools.
Jessica Compton has experienced abandonment, abduction, abuse, addiction and was arrested four times. She was once a heartless bully, desperately struggling internally to find her place in the world. A child and youth worker for the past 15 years and an educational assistant for eight years, Jessica now shares some difficult times in her life through Tree of Stars, an organization she founded to promote mental health awareness and addiction recovery through music and art.
A registered nurse with a background in social work, Holly McAllister brings 45 years of experience to the discussion on bullying. Holly has worked throughout Southwestern Ontario with kindergarten to high school-aged children, seniors 90-plus and all ages in between to provide mental heath and crisis counselling to those in need. The proud mother and grandmother has a powerful passion for people and their emotional wellbeing.
Suzi Spelic is the co-founder and director of Nick’s Journey, a Canadian not-for-profit organization dedicated to advocacy, awareness and support for childhood depression and mental illness. Suzi is a fixture at most of the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board’s Bullying Prevention and Intervention Review Panel meetings. She was a big part of the driving force that pushed for a last-minute change in the planned format so participants’ voices would actually be heard by the three-member panel.