Bullying has become a world-wide epidemic. It seems that every day, you can find an article online related to bullying. Kids as young as 7 are taking their own lives because they feel there is no hope for the end. Just last month, a 15-year-old boy committed suicide because he was relentlessly picked on in high school. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2011), about 48% of youth in 6th-12th grades experience bullying. Of those that are victims, only 36% report the bullying to an adult. So how can you identify and intervene in bullying? Know the facts. Bullying is persistent, happening on more than one occasion. It is one-sided, with the bully having more power over the victim, either real or perceived. Bullying is not a rite of passage! It is not “kids being kids”. Bullying can affect schooling, and can cause severe psychological trauma, not only for the victim, but for the bully, and the bystanders as well. Bullying can cause victims to lose focus in school, resulting in declining grades, truancy, and fear. The Center for Child Stress and Violence Prevention (2013) reports that 160,000 students skip school every day due to bullying. What is worse is that kids now experience bullying 24/7, thanks to the internet and technology. Fake Facebook profiles, websites, and text messages can be utilized in cyberbullying, which can harm children in their own homes. In addition, bullies are more likely to develop anger issues later in life. Bullying can result in the inability to develop appropriate social skills, which can then affect careers and education further down the road. Bullies can also develop guilt and shame issues from their actions. Bystanders, the kids who witness bullying, can develop fear and helplessness from their inability to intervene. In order to combat bullying, it takes involvement from families, schools, and community leaders. Involving faith organizations, law enforcement officials, and school officials allows for the community to address issues of intolerance, violence, and disrespect. This also helps kids to feel safe. ICAN has several ways to combat bullying, not only within our organization, but also within the community. Our Prevention Specialists are trained in several evidence-based programs that teach tolerance, inclusion, and respect. The entire staff has received training on bullying, and how to identify and intervene. However, we need help from the rest of the community to help eradicate it in Chandler. If you think your child is involved in bullying, talk to them. Ask questions, look for strange behaviors, and be involved. Kids who are victims or bullies will both exhibit behaviors that are not typical to them personally. The biggest thing is to just listen. Once you get them talking, just listen. Do not judge, do not belittle, and do not push for retaliation. Listen, brainstorm positive ideas, and contact those within the community to help. It is up to everyone to ensure that our kids are safe. Guest blog post by ICAN Prevention Specialist, Rachel Hill, MA Contact […]
A recent study that surveyed over 10,000 teens, found most used alcohol and drugs before adulthood. This could become a possibility of setting up youth for a lifetime of substance abuse. The study results indicated that by late adolescence, 78 percent of teenagers reported having consumed alcohol; 47 percent having reached regular drinking levels of at least 12 drinks within a year; and 15 percent having met the criteria for lifetime abuse. The opportunity to use illicit drugs was reported by 81 percent of the oldest adolescents, drug use by 43 percent and drug abuse by 16 percent. ICAN’s youth programs are targeted at preventing youth substance abuse with early education and positive decision making skills. Our life skills programs like Botvin’s Life Skills (A comprehensive program that addresses all of the most important factors leading adolescents to use drugs by teaching a combination of health information, general life skills and drug resistance skills), Second Step Program (This program is a long-term intervention that builds skills consecutively with the intention of preventing alcohol, tobacco, or other drug use and promoting healthy decision-making and positive, healthy youth development), and Too Good For Drugs (This program includes activities to strengthen knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and skills which research has shown to be effective in preventing drug use and violent behavior) make a proven difference in youth attitudes toward substance abuse. We invite people to see our programs in action by getting involved through a variety of ways beyond financial support. We have our needs and in-kind support is a way to provide items we are directly in need of. There are also many volunteer opportunities whether you are looking to work with ICAN youth, assisting in an administrative capacity, supporting our special events, or many more opportunities to get involved! There are also many opportunities to make a difference through our partnership with the Chandler Coalition on Youth Substance Abuse (CCYSA). This study shows the immediate need for ICAN programs and you can show your support by joining us in creating a positive future for youth and the community!
While our programs are available for ages 5 to 18, ICAN has a program that focuses specifically on teens. Teens are at a turning point in their lives where their decisions can determine their future path. With 9 rival gangs in the downtown Chandler area and substance abuse on the rise, Chandler teens are exposed to pressures in the community and how they handle them can make a big difference. The ICAN Peer Leadership program engages teens through mentoring, community service, leadership, and positive role modeling. The Peer Leadership program provides a support system to assist in making positive choices when it comes to life decisions. There are opportunities for teens to give back to their community, exampled by a drive they held for the homeless in Chandler to help them get through the holidays safe with necessities such as blankets. Academic success is an important part of moving into the future, and ICAN provides homework help including weekly math tutoring with engineers from General Dynamics who volunteer their time. ICAN provides opportunities to develop the necessary job skills, leadership skills, and teamwork abilities to become independent, productive and self sufficient members of our community as a Youth Trainee. ICAN Peer Leader Nykia, age 17, has been part of the program for over a year now, “ICAN is a great place where you meet beautiful and inspirational people. ICAN is not just an after school program, and not like most. It’s a place where you learn to build on yourself. While learning about yourself you are creating friendships that break, bend, and test, but last a life time.” Nykia lives in a single family home with 3 siblings where her mother is working full time to support the family. Nykia has taken on the role of supporting the household through taking charge of housework, cooking, cleaning, and mentoring her 2 younger siblings, including helping them with homework. ICAN is her place to get support for her own academic and leadership development. “ICAN staff and volunteers have taken me in as one of their own. ICAN is like a home away from home. They have changed my point of view on life. Before coming to ICAN I didn’t care what people thought or their feelings. Until one day I was encouraged to self-reflect and that’s when I started being the best that I can be. Without ICAN I wouldn’t have a safe place to go to after school, but most importantly I wouldn’t have found positive role models and friends. At ICAN everyone is accepted as an individual and treated with respect. Walking inside of ICAN you feel the warm embrace of the staff and the members. Not only have they helped mold me, but they have helped me mold my community too.” To join ICAN’s Peer Leadership program, download the membership form and bring in to our location at 201 S. Washington St, Chandler. If you would like to learn more about ICAN’s Peer Leadership program, contact Teen Programs Manager, Venus, at 480.821.4207 […]