Several programs for children at local schools, run by the Association of Communities Against Abuse, will return this autumn courtesy of a generous donation from the Alberta Chapter of the IODE.
The money will support school-based programs that start with students in Kindergarten and end with students in Grade 6, though Communities Against Abuse has programs for both junior high and high school students.
According to Judi Beebe, executive director of Communities Against Abuse, the programs are designed to teach students the skills necessary to help them keep themselves safe. Students learn coping skills to deal with bullying – including how to not just stand by while it happens, as well as learning the difference between “tattling” and going to someone safe to tell them about situations where someone is being hurt, or could be hurt.
“Our teachers love that program,” Beebe said. She noted that for kids, being dubbed a tattle-tale is one of the worst things that could happen, so much so that predators and bullies use the fear of such a designation to help keep situations silent.
“We teach them about happy relationships, and who the ‘safe’ people are,” Beebe said.
The older programs focus more on the bystanders, who aren’t actively bullying other people, and who aren’t the victims of bullying, but who stand by and let it happen without intervening in any way.
The group is also now working on a program to deal with cyber-bullying.
Irene Eyre and Diane Duce travelled from Edmonton and Wetaskiwin to make the presentation to Beebe and Communities Against Abuse board member and treasurer Noreen Wolsey.
For the IODE, being able to help support a pre-existing, well-established program is a delight, since the initial start-up costs, like printing materials, has already been done and the money goes toward the program itself.
“Often, (donating to) established programs is better than funding new,” Eyre said.
IODE was founded in Montreal and raises money to redistribute to non-profit organizations that benefit women, children and the community all across Canada.
Approving the funding request from Communities Against Abuse wasn’t a difficult decision for the provincial body, Eyre said.
“We have a committee that goes through all the applications,” she explained. “We have to make sure they meet all the criteria. Communities Against Abuse is a good example.”
The organization was founded to help support children coming from abusive situations, or adults who were abused as children. Currently, the youngest client is only a few years old, while the eldest is in their seventh decade.