Be The Voice

Be THE Voice (BTV) is a grassroots program created by Debbie Cwalina and Michael Shoppenhorst in an effort to defuse bullying. Bullying has become an epidemic in our schools – and has a far greater reach today with the emergence of social media. Statistics show that over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experienced by young people in the nation.

The past 20 years have seen an escalation of bullying prevention programs using numerous techniques with limited long-term success. This is because traditional anti-bully programs have centered their efforts on the victim and/or the bully. Studies now show that effective anti-bully programs should focus on the role of the “Bystander.” Research has shown that Bullying stops in less than 10 seconds when someone intervenes on behalf of the victim. 90% of children do NOT like seeing someone bullied, yet less than 20% try to stop it. Why is that? Because they don’t know what to do or say in that situation. The Be THE Voice Campaign is designed to help students find their “Voice” when they witness a situation involving bullying. Bullies love an audience! If students just observe bullying behavior and do nothing about it, then they end up silently giving their support to the bully.

Be THE Voice was launched in October (to coincide with “National Bully Prevention Month”) in nine area Schools and is being implemented by the schools’ Interact Clubs. The program includes 12 short videos (2–3 minutes) and corresponding collateral that show creative ways for bystanders to neutralize Bullying. Videos are shown weekly for three months via classroom TVs during morning announcements, study hall, or at the Principal’s discretion.

Be THE Voice is also unique in that it is driven by STUDENTS – keeping it current and youthful in both approach and implementation.

To learn more about the campaign, please go to www.BTVstopbullying.com; also visit Facebook page www.facebook.com/BTVstopbullying/.