Statistics show that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation.
Be THE Voice ® is a grassroots program created by Debbie Cwalina and Michael Schoppenhorst in an effort to defuse bullying. Bullying has reached a whole new level of torture for our children due to the emergence of social media. Bullies are no longer the kids who live on the victim’s street or attend his/her school – they are faceless posts on Instagram & Facebook that leave a child feeling helpless and alone. Children as young as 11 year’s old are taking their lives vs. enduring another day of bullying – this has to stop!
The past 20 years have seen an escalation of bullying prevention programs using numerous techniques with limited long-term success. This is because traditional anti-bully programs have centered their efforts on the victim and/or the bully. Studies now show that effective anti-bully programs should focus on the role of the “Bystander.” Bullying stops in less than 10 seconds when someone intervenes on behalf of the victim. 90% of children do NOT like seeing someone bullied, yet less than 20% try to stop it. Why is that? Because they don’t know what to do or say in that situation. That’s where the Be THE Voice ® campaign comes in!
BTV focuses solely on empowering the student bystander to find his/her “Voice” when witnessing a bullying situation. Bullies love an audience! If students just observe bullying behavior and do nothing about it, then they end up silently giving their support to the bully. Students have a great deal of influence over each other – they are truly the key to changing the culture of bullying in their schools!
Be THE Voice ® is a three month peer-led bystander empowerment campaign that launched in eight Roswell area schools in October 2015. At the completion of our first campaign, pre and post survey data revealed an astonishing 56% decrease in bullying (in our 2200 student beta test school)!
To date, the BTV initiative has impacted over 20,000 students – in less than eighteen months.
At the heart of the Be THE Voice ® campaign is the belief that the student bystander is the true agent of change when it comes to bullying!