10th Nov 2015
For young people who have suffered from bullying, finding a path back to a meaningful and positive future can be hard – but it can be done.
If you’ve suffered bullying it’s highly likely, no matter how outgoing and gregarious you might previously have been, that your self-confidence will have taken a knock. Being picked on can cause a young person to feel a strong sense of inadequacy; a sense, entirely misplaced but completely understandable, that they’ve failed in some way and possibly even an idea that they somehow deserved it.
How much worse are such feelings likely to become if, once the perpetrator is identified and it becomes possible to prevent further suffering, it then seems that all the attention is given to the bully? This does happen. Of course, it’s important to seek to address the causes of the bully’s actions and help them to, as it were, ‘mend their ways’. However, if all or too much emphasis is placed on that, over and above helping the sufferer to recuperate and move forward, that’s an imbalance that needs to be addressed. Surely the positive rehabilitation of the person who has been bullied is equally, if not more important.
Bullies Out operates a Youth Engagement Programme called ‘Young Ambassadors’, which is very much focused on providing opportunities for those who have suffered the effects of bullying to turn things around, regain a powerful sense of self confidence and with our support and a structured agenda, feel that they can contribute meaningfully, both within their peer group and in a wider social context, gradually and permanently recovering, putting all the bad stuff behind them and often emerging as strong and positive role models for others.
This isn’t achieved through counselling, though that may have value, but through pro-active involvement in a whole host of practical and challenging projects, activities and events. The programmes we run and their potential benefits are fully described on our website pages and can be reviewed here, but it’s worth mentioning that the focus is very much on taking part in activities that address bullying and disseminate information to combat it. Thus, whilst the taking part will in itself be of great help, addressing the subject matter head on and coming to terms with what they’ve been through whilst educating others, makes our Young Ambassador’s role doubly beneficial for participants. The work they take on is also potentially of immense value in their communities.
No, this isn’t always easy, if you’ve suffered bullying, sometimes resulting in a very significant reduction in self-confidence; to pick yourself up, find the courage to get involved with things, and
stick with a programme to a point where ultimately you are finding ways to contribute for the benefit of others, takes guts and a whole heap of determination.
We hear a lot in the Media about people who have suffered in lots of different ways and some of the things that are covered and reported on are nowadays quite high profile. Combatting bullying and dealing with perpetrators sometimes features in national news stories, but very rarely indeed do we hear about those who have suffered bullying being acknowledged for their efforts, when they do give something back. At BulliesOut we make sure such people are recognised, lauded, applauded and rewarded!
On 14th November, we will be hosting an Awards Ceremony, recognising the achievements and contributions of our Young Ambassadors. These are people, aged between 10-21, who have all suffered from bullying and some of whom are still struggling to overcome its devastating effects. We have helped them to feel empowered, re-engage with life and feel inspired about their futures. It is they themselves, however, that have successfully rebuilt their lives out of adversity and got out there, spread the word and sought to encourage others to do the same.
Much of the work they do is recognised under the provisions and guidelines of Youth Engagement Schemes and can this lead to nationally recognised accreditation for voluntary work. That’s of long term value because it carries a strong and positive message in to the jobs market, identifying courage, determination and resilience, as well as other life and workplace skills, to potential future employers.
BulliesOut offers the building blocks, but it is our Young Ambassadors who fashion them in to strong, long term monuments to their successes and achievements.
That deserves recognition and it’s no bad thing to shift the focus away a little from the more lurid exposes we commonly see or associate with bullying and ensure that the efforts of the wonderful young people who overcome it and move on are recognised and rewarded.
Our Pride Awards will be a day to remember, not only for the fun filled, celebratory theme but for the richly deserved recognition of 15 outstanding and inspirational young people who have overcome adversity and made a huge difference to their communities.
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