Among the hundreds who saw the movie, BULLY at Cinequest this weekend were my own personal heroes/sheroes: ABC Readers! The film is a heart-wrenching look at lives turned upside down and inside out by peer abuse. It is a vivid reminder that the work we do as UPstanders every day, at every school, bus stop, play yard, and classroom can be a lifeline to safety for kids who are isolated and alone. By connecting with youth as ABC Readers and intentional asset builders, we can be the person they turn to when they need support.
On my walk back to the car last night, I felt like we still have so much to do. Yet, in our county, we have 3000+ caring adults volunteering to read ABC books and connecting with youth every month. We have staff doing intentional asset building as a teaching strategy, we have administrators who know the power of assets and who put student safety and a caring school climate as a top priority. We have made great progress in providing youth with safety nets so that they feel connected at school, feel support of peers and caring adults and know that school is a place where they belong.
Thanks to 11 years of asset building with Project Cornerstone in our county and the active engagement of school staff, youth, parents and community volunteers, I believe that we are becoming a safer, more caring place for kids. But we are not there, yet. I hope that this film will inspire more adults to become UPstanders; to notice kids; to believe in kids; to be the one kids can count on.
So, what’s next? Need an “Action Item” to keep the conversation going following the film? My first step to becoming more intentional and purposeful about asset building was Project Cornerstone’s Take It Personally study group. This 6-week series of classes allows us to share ideas for building assets in all kids. I think it is a perfect forum for continuing the conversations begun in the movie, BULLY. To learn more about Take It Personally, contact Project Cornerstone at info@ProjectCornerstone.org Help us coordinate a Take It Personally study group at your school site. It is a perfect “Action Item” to take away from the film.