According to the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association, 1 in 4 teenagers say they’ve endured the painful effects of bullying. The good news: Most acts of bullying can be stopped within 10 seconds when peers take action in a supportive, non-threatening way.
That’s the power of an Upstander, a peer who pledges to become a part of the solutions aimed at sinking a nationwide concern that affects millions of children each year. And, at the center of it all, is Generations Against Bullying (GAB), a nonprofit organization on a mission to create healthier, safer, learning environments for everyone.
Victims of bullying rarely see adult intervention come to their rescue, in part because bullies don’t typically victimize their peers in front of teachers, counselors, or administrators. Instead, most bullying takes place in the presence of other students. And while some kids speak out; most just don’t know what to do, or are understandably afraid of retaliation. Furthermore, peer reluctance to intervene creates an environment that allows bullies to thrive by inadvertently communicating, through inaction, that a bully’s behavior is acceptable.
GAB’s Approach to Combating Bullying is Different
Unlike most anti-bullying efforts that focus on the dynamics between bullies and victims, Generations Against Bullying concentrates on building up the confidence and influence of bystanders—those who typically see a peer getting bullied, but oftentimes stay silent or uninvolved. GAB takes a more hands-on approach, offering an all-inclusive, anti-bullying solution that transforms bystanders into Upstander—the designation given to students specifically trained to provide immediate victim-support.
The Upstander Peer Ambassador Program (UPAP)
GAB empowers students to step in and act whenever they see a classmate being victimized. Participants of the Upstander Peer Ambassador Program are equipped with the tools and skills they need to identify bullying, and diffuse uncomfortable situations in a calm, non-threatening manner. Peer Ambassadors also attend workshops where they learn how to provide positive support in various situations, including camps, sports, and the cyber world.
Student Upstander Peer Ambassadors are essentially the backbone of GAB programs, and the organization says that without them, it wouldn’t be possible to create and maintain the kind of environments that discourage bullying.
GAB also works alongside Peer Ambassadors, educators and sponsors to create life-changing experiences for students, schools and entire communities, such as:
- Celebrity speaking engagements lead by role models including professional athletes, pageant winners, musicians, actors and authors. These speakers are invited to attend GAB events in order to help foster interest in the program and motivate more students to become Upstanders.
- School assemblies that send an uplifting message to students, spread awareness, and also provide a platform for productive discussions about bullying to unfold.
- Sponsored community movie night events that highlight the disturbing effects of bullying through a film screening and Anderson Cooper follow-up report.
- Puppet shows (featuring unique characters called ‘GABits’) that use realistic scenarios and positive messages to help create an anti-bully culture on the elementary school level.
- An “Introduction to Buddy Bear” event (GAB’s official pet ambassador) that helps address the connection between bullying and animal abuse. A program involving Buddy Bear teaches compassion and love, as well as how to respect, care for, and forge healthy relationships with animals.
In addition to the Upstander Peer Ambassador Program, GAB holds the distinction of maintaining one of the “Top 20 Bullying Blogs on The Web,” and effectively uses their website to deliver inspirational video messages, information on community services and events, and a directory of resources to help bullying victims.
GAB relies on sponsors and fundraising programs to continue touching the lives of students across the U.S. with their speaking engagements, open houses, community events and the above-mentioned programs.
Giving Assistant shoppers can also help advance GAB’s goals. Simply select Generations Against Bullying as your nonprofit of choice to donate all or a portion of your cash back savings to a good cause.
To keep up with the endless deals, discounts and promo codes that can help increase your charitable contribution to GAB, don’t forget to download the Giving Assistant Button.