Did you know that over one million Canadian children are bullied at least once, each and every week?
Bullying is a major problem for Canadian children. On February 24, Pink Shirt Day, Canadians are encouraged to wear a pink shirt to symbolize that we as a society will not tolerate bullying.
Across the country, The Salvation Army provides valuable programs to help steer youth in a positive direction for life. For example, the Red Cap anger management program, geared to eight to 12-year-olds, teaches children how to deal with emotional and behavioural responses to stressful situations.
“Red Cap is run as a lunch time or after-school club for about 1 ½ hours over a period of eight to 10 weeks,” says Valerie Pavey, The Salvation Army’s children’s ministry consultant. “The program pinpoints anger triggers and deals with feelings in a positive way.”
The Salvation Army in Newmarket, Ont., is one centre that offers the Red Cap program. Sandra Reid, community children’s outreach worker, sees a huge need for initiatives that address bullying.
“Once kids open up about why they are angry, it usually has to do with bullying,” says Reid. “The Red Cap program not only teaches the victims of bullying how to respond to and understand their emotions, it addresses comments and situations that many kids don’t recognize as bullying, such as not including others or spreading rumors.”
Based on feedback from parents and teachers, Reid says the program is making a difference and children are responding well.
“Kids aren’t as disruptive on the playground or in class,” says Reid. “The strategies they’ve learned are being passed on to friends, parents and siblings who are coping better with anger issues. That’s success.”