Too often, especially over the past decade, we have seen or heard about young people turning to violence, bullying, and self-harm behavior.
According to the website stopbullying.gov, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced these various types of bullying: name calling (44.2 %); teasing (43.3 %); spreading rumors or lies (36.3%); pushing or shoving (32.4%); hitting, slapping, or kicking (29.2%); leaving out (28.5%); threatening (27.4%); stealing belongings (27.3%); sexual comments or gestures (23.7%); e-mail or blogging (9.9%). Bullying takes place during the school day, on the bus, potentially wherever you find a gathering of kids. And now with social media as part of our daily lives, the opportunity presents itself 24/7. Shockingly, only about 20-30% of kids who are bullied have told an adult.
In response to this growing problem, Flower Mound resident Melinda Crivello created a post on a local Facebook group page, Flower Mound Moms & More, asking the question: What can we (parents/youth/community members) do to help change this situation? Her post garnered hundreds of comments. The thread contained comments from adults expressing their own outrage and ideas, others who shared stories of their children being bullied or resources that are available, and even some local teens who expressed their opinion on the subject.
Melinda was surprised and encouraged by the response to her simple question. So much so that she organized a community meeting at Epic Gelato for that Sunday evening, not knowing if anyone would actually show up to discuss the matter further.
Thirteen people, from several local areas including Lewisville, Flower Mound and Lantana came together to talk about our youth and problems like bullying, anxiety, and teen suicide to figure out the ways to improve the situation.
It was that night Empowering2Change.com, was born. A grassroots effort to bring the community together to create positive opportunities, the mission statement:
Empowering2Change is a collaborative effort of parents, kids, and area schools to provide encouragement and opportunities to support one another. Together we will create a safe place for our young people to encourage, empower, and include everyone that wants to create change in their schools and community.
To learn more you can join the Facebook group, as of today there are 192 members who are following the progress or offering to actively help find solutions. Our goal is to shift the culture in school, with parents, and among teens.
Nothing changes if nothing changes, right?
Angie Cox of the LISD school board, myself, and Melinda Crivello have met several times to work through different ideas being brought to us, and though we don’t have a solid answer yet, we are committed to finding the ways to create change!
And we need your help.
How many stories do you have to hear where a child has been bullied into depression or suicide before you are willing to take a stand? Three busy women are taking the time to work on this problem, but we can’t do it alone. We need parents and teens to add their ideas and energy!
If you feel strongly, as we do, and you have an interest and energy to be part of a movement where we help our kids shift from comparison to compassion, from envy to empathy, from hurting to helpful then please reach out to Melinda Crivello through Empowering2Change.com on Facebook.
Our thoughts become our words, our words become our actions, and our actions have the ability to change the culture. Putting action behind our words is what’s needed to create the change we wish to see for the kids in our area.