Teaching respect and preventing bullying

Story of service • United States • October 2012

October is National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States, but teaching respect and preventing bullying are priorities for IBMers around the world, all the time. Here are a few examples of what IBMers are doing to make a difference.

IBM Canada

IBM Canada team delivered
Teaching Respect in Schools.
After successfully piloting “Teaching Respect in Schools” on a limited scale in November 2011 and January 2012, this new anti-bullying program officially launched in May 2012. Over 70 IBM volunteers, from a volunteer database of 150, visited 9 schools and 45 classrooms across the Greater Toronto Area. They interacted with almost 1000 students across grades 1-12. Activities were developed for each grade level – from reading carefully selected books to the younger students, to interactive discussions with the older children. The program covers all types of name calling and bullying, including verbal, social, physical and cyber bullying. The volunteers had the opportunity to act as positive role models to the students and promote the message that our differences are an advantage. As one volunteer put it, “I think we got just as much out of it as the kids. It made me feel very proud to be part of a company that takes respect of others seriously.”

IBM took the lead in this initiative because of our history of respect for individuals and for diversity, and to address the growing problem of teen suicide due to bullying in schools. The program was originally created as a day of service during the Centennial Celebration of Service last year, and volunteers in 27 countries participated. IBM Canada decided to take it to the next level and make it an ongoing program.

Teaching respect and preventing bullying

Connie Bonello, Global Business Development Executive and National Leader of the program, explained, “Teaching Respect in Schools can create a future for Canada that is safer for all, regardless of who we are and our differences. What I love about this program is that it’s making it better for kids now, as opposed to just in the future.”

Plans are underway to expand Teaching Respect in Schools to five more cities in Canada in November. IBM has also reached out and engaged other corporate partners to effectively broaden the impact and reach of the program.

IBM Hong Kong

IBM volunteer Derek Fu leads
an Anti Cyber Bullying Training
session for students in
Hong Kong.
Volunteers in IBM Hong Kong, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Education Bureau and the Hong Kong Association of Career Masters and Guidance Masters, recently completed two rounds of Anti Cyber Bullying Training. The program was first offered to 100 primary students from 10 schools and then to 120 secondary student ambassadors from 16 schools. The objective was to bring attention to internet safety, the growing issues of cyber bullying and suggested solutions. The IBM volunteers brought their individual expertise to the program. Some served as presenters, others as group discussion facilitators, and the lawyers provided legal advice. They customized three IBM Activity Kits – Control Your Online Identity, Cyber-bullying and Internet Safety Coaching and used them in the training materials.

The feedback was very positive. Derek Fu, an IBM IT specialist, noted, “Sharing my knowledge and experience in the field to our next generation is always rewarding. I hope our experience from the field can create a positive impact to the youth on their vision and decisions in the future.”

The Education Bureau and IBM will run an anti cyber bulling campaign in December to encourage many schools to create their own Cyber Bullying Prevention Campaign to raise awareness on the issues and submit their best anti-bullying practices for a Hong Kong-wide competition. Winners will be announced on Internet Safety Day in February 2013.

Lung Hing Chiu, one of the IBM volunteers, remarked, “It is really an eye opener for me, someone who thinks he knows a lot about the internet. Students from primary schools really put their thoughts together in group discussions. Coming up with a Cyber Bullying Prevention Campaign for their schools will encourage them to put their words into action.”

IBM United States

Run Walk Roll Against Bullying IBM is the premier sponsor of Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying, an event created by the not-for-profit partner, PACER. It is a kick-off for National Bullying Prevention Month in October in the United States. PACER created the campaign in 2006 with a one-week event that has now evolved into a month-long effort that unites communities nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention through events, activities, and education. PACER offers a variety of resources you can use during October – and throughout the year – to engage, educate and inspire others to join the movement and prevent bullying where you live.

On October 6, IBMers in Minnesota will come together to participate in Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying, a family friendly event designed to show support for National Bullying Prevention Month in October, raise awareness, and offer bullying prevention resources. Cindy Baune, Smarter Commerce Sales Leader, is thrilled to be participating in this unique event with her colleagues. “PACER has helped me to understand that in order to stop bullying we need to do two important things: increase awareness that bullying has lifelong impact, and give people the tools they need to respond effectively. Together PACER and IBM are doing those important things through our Activity Kits, their websites and exciting events like the Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying.”

Plan your own event with IBM Activity Kits

Check out the three related IBM Activity Kits: Control Your Online Identity, Cyber-bullying and Internet Safety Coaching and plan an event in your community to raise awareness and prevent bullying – in October – or anytime. IBM employees and retirees can post a volunteer activity through On Demand Community and encourage their IBM colleagues to join them.

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