During National Bullying Awareness Month in October, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County will launch a year’s worth of programming to counter the negative impacts of bullying. According to a recent national survey, over 3.2 million young children and teens are victims of bullying each year. More alarmingly, cyber-bullying has increased nationwide by 70% since the pandemic began, and its negative effect can be devastating to those victimized. In general bullying victims are at greater risk of depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, suicidal thoughts, lower academic achievement and dropping out of school.
“Mental health social-emotional programming is critical to the healthy development of children and teens as it encourages kids to consider the perspectives and feelings of their peers, teachers, and parents,” said Health & Life Skills Coordinator Kyle Hunt. “The ability to practice empathy is a gateway to building other important skills such as conflict resolution, healthy communication and kindness towards others. These are skills we value greatly at Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County, not only during October but all year round.
This month the Clubs will implement a year-long mental health social-emotional learning series of programs based on the Michigan Model for Health’s (MMH) comprehensive health education curriculum. Although the curriculum covers topics for K-12 students, they are separated into three distinct programs: Elementary School (Grades K-6), Middle School (Grades 7-8) and High School (Grade 9-12). The series includes lessons that ensure Club members can easily identify and defend themselves from bullying behavior. They’ll also learn how to conduct themselves safely when navigating on the internet and social media platforms.
Future programming will focus on nutrition and physical activity, avoiding alcohol, tobacco, other drugs, and personal health and wellness. In addition, there will be age-appropriate discussions about understanding the importance of making good choices to lead healthy lives and to feel safe.
“Our mission at Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County is to enable our Club members, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens,” said President & CEO Jaene Miranda. “These programs will provide our Club members with the knowledge and skills to build and maintain healthy behaviors and lifestyles. Developing life-long healthy skills is what we hope for all our kids.”