By Collin Lessing, JVA Consulting
The news cycle has really been spinning in recent weeks. The saga of the Chilean miners has finally come to a happy ending. With Election Day less than three weeks away, the candidates and their camps are doing what they can to stay in front of the cameras—for all the right reasons, of course. As a marketing guy, I’ve enjoyed watching the drama unfold around the new GAP logo and its subsequent recall. You can’t help but wonder how the feedback they received during the testing process compares to the public outrage over the clothing company’s new emblem. Then there are the stories of Tyler Clementi, Asher Brown, Seth Walsh, Justin Aaberg, Raymond Chase, Billy Lucas and Cody J. Barker. Do you recognize these names? These are seven boys who have recently committed suicide following instances of bullying.
It’s unnerving to see these scenarios of bullying-related suicides playing out in different parts of the country, and it’s leaving many parents and community members asking, “What can I do?” On October 21, Jefferson Center for Mental Health will host the 20th Annual Helping Kids Thrive conference—a free event that will give people hands-on practical tools to address cyber bullying and other issues youth are facing.
Helping Kids Thrive was started in 1990 by a coalition of community organizations who were concerned about the high incidence of youth suicide in Jefferson County and the prevalence of other destructive behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse and youth violence. 20 years later, the event is continuing to help parents and anybody who works with youth gain insight to the challenges facing children during the early, elementary and teen years of their development. Community members can attend classes covering a variety of topics ranging from proper nutrition to separation and divorce.
“Classes will focus on the normal developmental process, and we’ll show warning signs you should look out for,” explained Jeanne Oliver, Chief Communications and Development Officer of the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. “Parenting doesn’t come with a manual, so we want to give adults the resources and tools they need to support kids in their growth.”
With the high-profile string of bullying-related suicides in recent months, the cyberbulling class being offered at the Helping Kids Thrive is particularly timely. Today’s parents and adults grew up with bullying—but it didn’t involve social media or the Internet.
“We’re seeing an increase in the awareness of cyberbullying and just how devastating it can be,” said Jeanne. “We’re going to give people resources about the topic, and there are also resources available online. As the awareness of cyberbulling continues to grow, it’s only going to help.”
Classes at the Helping Kids Thrive conference are already beginning to fill up. To view the different sessions and to register, click here. For more information on cyberbullying, visit: www.cyberbullying.us.