The children and youth of Central Alberta Martial Arts and Wellness Centre, previously known as the Central Alberta Goju Ryu Karatedo, have taken a serious interest in educating other children and youth about the implications of bullying and have created a Bully Free Committee called the, B-FREE Team with a goal to meet on a weekly basis to identify major bullying issues and some of the underlying causes as well as possible solutions to the growing epidemic.
“What makes this committee unique is that it is solely driven by the visions of the children and youth who sit on this committee, therefore, it’s an empowering process for the students to create new initiatives and ideas that may put an end to bullying in their immediate community,” said Executive Director Christine Relic who is also an instructor at the centre. “Through this process, the students have identified the major causes of who bullies and why and some solutions to stop a bully, which includes speaking up for themselves and others, informing a trusted parent or teacher, or avoiding a bully or dangerous situation before it even happens.”
According to Relic, what is most interesting about the conversations and visions shared among the, B-FREE Team is that all the students agreed that they know what to do if they see or are directly involved in a bullying situation. The students further explained that these topics are emphasized over and over again in their schools, with their parents and among their karate instructors.
“This is obviously a great thing – the fact that there is so much information surrounding this topic that is available to children and their parents. However, the group of students on the committee where forced to look at why bullying is still such a growing problem,” Relic said.
“Interestingly, it was shared among the group and committee that the biggest culprit to bullying, in their opinion, is a lack of self worth or self esteem. In other words, the students concluded that if they know what to do but aren’t doing it, they could still be condemned to peer pressure or are trying to feel part of a group that is thought to be grander or greater than the individual person. These feelings of inadequacy are unfortunately linked to feelings of inadequacy about oneself.”
As a result, the B-FREE Team has begun to look at ways to improve one’s self-esteem and worth so that every person can feel comfortable about exercising their values and principles including creating self-esteem strategies to help heal bullies who generally need just as much support and compassion as do the victims of bullying. These strategies are intended to help both the bully and their victim find a better place in their lives that focuses on forgiveness, gratification and empowerment.