Kids can be cruel and social hierarchies in schools can be brutal. In recent years, our society has taken a firm stand that we should no longer tolerate the routine bullying of past generations. This list, in no particular order, highlights organizations working hard to make bullying obsolete and create a more nurturing, accepting world.
Kicking off our list at #1 is BullyingCanada. This group is Canada’s only national organization that strives to resolve bullying situations by directly facilitating communication between bullied kids, their tormentors, parents, teachers, school boards, social services, and police.
Founded in 2006 by Rob Benn-Frenette and Katie Thompson, the organization also offers school presentations about bullying and scholarships to students active in anti-bullying efforts. BullyingCanada has been featured in newspapers, magazines, radio, and television, in outlets such as Readers Digest and Today’s Parent.
For #2, we have PACER Kids Against Bullying, an educational website designed for elementary school students to learn about bullying prevention, engage in activities, and be inspired to take action. It also offers a platform for kids to share prevention stories and caring statements from around the world.
The website was created in 2006 by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. It has a sister site, meant for teenagers, that serves a similar purpose: a place for middle and high school students to find ways to address bullying, take action, be heard, and to learn more about this social cause.
Next up, at #3, we present Community Matters, an organization based in Santa Rosa, California. Its mission is to equip and empower students and adults to create schools and communities that are safe, welcoming, and inclusive. It was founded in 1996 by a former teacher and public school administrator, Rick Phillips.
The Columbine tragedy in 1999 had a profound impact on Phillips, who then co-created the Safe School Ambassadors Program, based on research highlighting the power of youth engagement to transform school climate. Students who participate in the SSA initiative go through training that gives them the skills and tools to resolve conflicts, defuse incidents, and support those feeling isolated and excluded.
Coming in at #4 is Boo2Bullying. Based in Palm Springs, California, it seeks to eradicate bullying, intolerance, and discrimination by educating schools and parents about accepting diversity and giving young people the tools to positively impact those around them.
The organization’s Empowerment through Art program helps to mitigate the effects of bullying through arts and crafts, animation, dance, music, and exhibitions showcasing youth. It also runs online campaigns featuring statistics pertaining to bullying and personal stories it has collected.
The #5 entry is Jaylens Challenge Foundation. This nonprofit is dedicated to promoting awareness and prevention of bullying through education and community service. It was founded by Jaylen Arnold after he suffered from bullying at the young age of 8.
Jaylen can be booked for presentations about bullying at schools and other venues around the globe; certificates of achievement are offered to children who attend one of the presentations. The organization has also developed wristbands, posters, and other materials meant to inform and inspire.
For #6, we have the Tyler Clementi Foundation, created to prevent bullying through inclusion and acceptance as a way to honor the memory of its namesake. In 2010, Tyler Clementi’s death became a global news story, highlighting the consequences of bullying, while sparking dialogue amongst parents, teachers, and students across the country.
Through programs such as #Day1, which provides free downloadable toolkits customized for different communities, the foundation aims to encourage leadership to create safe spaces where individuals move from being bystanders to upstanders who embrace diversity.
To close our list, at #7, we have Act To Change. This national nonprofit works to address bullying, with a specific focus on the Asian American and Pacific Islander community; it believes that many AAPI youths who are bullied face unique cultural, religious, and language barriers that can keep them from getting help.
The organization’s social media campaigns ask supporters to take a pledge that they will stand up to and share information about bullying. It has developed several resources and tools to assist upstanders, including one that is designed to teach students how to create and nurture healthy and open relationships among classmates.