“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat” ~ Mother Teresa
One in eight Canadian households live in housing that is either unaffordable, in disrepair, or crowded. In large cities such as Toronto, and amongst particular populations such as Aboriginal Peoples and recent immigrants, this ratio is even higher.
Affordability is being threatened as the costs of housing increase faster than many incomes. As well, few new private affordable rental buildings are being built due to market constraints. This is forcing an increasing number of people to stretch their budgets in order to pay higher rents in buildings of decreasing quality. A new generation of affordable housing units is required.
Wellesley Institute and Upstream have partnered to take a closer look at the health impacts of the policies that Canada’s national parties are putting forth. This edition looked at how access to housing impacts health and how the party platforms lineup.
Article By Homeless Hub & Wellesley Institute & Upstream: Institute for a Healthy Society
“I want to do the right thing and not hide anymore.”
October is LGBT History Month and B.P will Highlight Icons all Month long, starting with today’s featured LGBT Icon ~ Jason Collins
Jason Collins is a retired professional American basketball player who played for 13 seasons with the NBA. During the 2012-13 season, Collins came out in Sports Illustrated before signing with the New Jersey Nets, making him the first openly gay athlete to play on any professional sports team in North America.
“If I had my way, someone else would have already done this,” he said when he came out. “Nobody has, which is why I’m raising my hand.”
During his career, Collins played for the Houston Rockets, the Memphis Grizzlies, the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics, the Washington Wizards and the Brooklyn Nets before retiring in 2014. He wore number 98 on his jersey in honor of Matthew Shepard, the young gay man who was murdered in 1998 in Laramie, Wyoming. Collins’s jersey broke records at the NBA Store; it became a best seller with the proceeds of signed jerseys benefiting the Matthew Shepard Foundation and the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN).
In 2013 Collins was inducted into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. The following year, he was featured on the cover of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. Collins was born in California. He has a twin brother who is also an athlete.
How to Celebrate LGBT History Month ~ 31 DAYS, 31 LIVES, 31 STORIES
October is LGBT History Month! It’s the perfect time for GSAs to step forward, get active, and start educating your peers and teachers about the important contributions of LGBT people throughout history — especially in California, now that the FAIR Education Act has gone into effect!
GSA Network has partnered with Equality Forum to bring an excellent LGBT History Month resource to your GSA club. Equality Forum has created a great resource online for you featuring 31 leaders, heroes, and community members who have made a difference in the LGBT community. Each day in October, a new icon is featured with a video, biography, bibliography, images and other resources.
Also check out our FAIR Education Act guide, including a list of LGBT-inclusive history lesson resources, to make sure your school is following the updated education guidelines.
How To Use the LGBT History Month Resources at Your School
Here are some ideas about how to bring LGBT History Month resources to your school. Click below for a downloadable list of ideas!
Make an exhibit at your school – Go to the LGBT History Month website and download the icons’ pictures and bios from each day of October to create an exhibit that you post on campus. You’ll need to find some place to put it up where it will be seen (i.e.- the library, cafeteria, gym, theatre, art room, or the main office).
Learn about LGBT heroes in class – Ask your history teachers, or any supportive teachers, to read the brief description of each icon being profiled each day for LGBT History Month aloud at the start of each class during the month of October. If you’re in California, remind them that they have to teach LGBT-inclusive history under the state’s updated education guidelines. Short biographies and info are on the LGBT History Month website.
Profile LGBT heroes on the PA system or in your school bulletin– A great way for GSAs to be heard and get information out is to submit an announcement for your daily bulletin, or to be read out each day on your school’s PA system. The announcement would include the brief bio about each icon each day being profiled on the LGBT History Month website. October has 31 days, which is perfect for 31 lives and 31 stories.
Hold an event – Get active! Have an unveiling of your history exhibit. Sponsor a forum for teachers or an assembly for students. Hold a speakers’ panel where speakers present the info you download from the LGBT History Month website, or research online about famous LGBT people in history.
Become the teachers – Use the bios about the icons on the LGBT History Month website to make presentations in history classes, or try presenting in art, theater, or any other applicable class depending on whoever the icons are. Pick someone from the current year’s list or the previous years; do some fun research, and then present it to your class.
Show Your School Board – Compile a list of famous LGBT people in history, with bios and pictures, from the LGBT History Month website (link is external) and send the list to your school board with a letter saying that you had to learn about these famous and influential leaders on your own since they are not included in your school curriculum. Ask for the school board to consider including LGBT people in your district’s history curriculum.
No government has the right to tell its citizens when or whom to love. The only queer people are those who don’t love anybody. ~ Rita Mae Brown ~
HYDE PARK – The Mediation Center of Dutchess County will kick off National Bullying Prevention Month with a public forum on the issue Oct. 1. The forum, entitled “Bullying Prevention: A Community Conversation,” will start at 6 p.m. at the Henry A. Wallace Center on the Franklin D. Roosevelt Historic Site.
Panelists will include Lizette Hernandez, aide to U.S. Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, whose district includes parts of Dutchess and Ulster counties; Rob Conlon, chair of the Ulster sub-chapter of GLSEN (Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network) of the Hudson Valley; Marie Dynes, prevention coordinator of the Dutchess County Department of Mental Hygiene, Meghan Kling, Esq., Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, and Melissa Lawson, principal of the Ralph R. Smith Elementary School in Hyde Park. Students, faculty and staff at the school have undergone anti-bullying training provided by the Mediation Center.
Questions that will be posed and answered at the forum include:
What is the difference between conflict and bullying?
What are the best practices to prevent and respond to bullying?
What community resources are available?
Mediation Center Executive Director Jody Miller said the forum was organized in response to numerous requests from members of the public to learn more about how bullying affects our children and how it can be combated and prevented. “Since we began the Anti-Bullying Initiative in 2012, we’ve learned much about best practices in bullying prevention as well as the myths and misunderstandings. We, in collaboration with our partners, look forward to sharing this information with our community in response to the many requests we’ve had about bullying.
Because sometimes the smallest thing can mean the world.
GLAAD has released a new animated video in advance of the event, held on Oct. 15, encouraging supporters to wear purple to show their support for bullied lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth once again. Given that an estimated eight out of 10 LGBT youth reportedly say they’ve been bullied in the past year, the clip is perhaps more relevant than ever.
“Sometimes the smallest thing can mean the world,” the video’s narrator proclaims. “Take the pledge.”
Harold Moss, who is the creative director of FlickerLab, drew on his own personal experiences with bullying when he created the video for GLAAD.
“Bullying creates real despair and desperation. It can take a lot of years to shake it off,” he wrote on GLAAD’s YouTube page. “Layer on top of that someone trying to figure out their sexuality, and the fact that teachers and family might actually be part of the bullying, and it gets pretty grim. That’s why standing up to this kind of bullying is so vital for everyone to do, every day.”
Article by Curtis M. Wong ~ Gay Voices Senior Editor ~ Posted: 09/28/2015
I was thrilled when GLAAD approached me to make a short animation to get the word out about Spirit Day 2015, the day when millions of people around the world will wear purple to stand up against bullying of LGBT youth. This is an issue that hits very close to home for me.
I had too many of my own experiences with bullying growing up, although they grew more out of the general odd-ballness that creates animators rather than my sexual identity. For a couple of years, I was the kid with a special seat on the bus so I wouldn’t get beat up every day.
Bullying creates real despair and desperation. It can take a lot of years to shake it off. And some kids don’t make it that far. Layer on top of that someone trying to figure out their sexuality, and the fact that teachers and family might actually be part of the bullying, and it gets pretty grim. That’s why standing up to this kind of bullying is so vital for everyone to do, every day.
But it’s also incredibly important that the folks who are getting bullied know they’re not alone in this. That sense of isolation and helplessness can, I think, be the worst part of it.
That’s why Spirit Day is such a big deal, it makes the support visible. Let’s all give a big purple shout out to everybody facing this kind of bullying and say, we got your back. We’re with you.
I can only hope this short animation we created will get that word out to a few more people, and help Spirit Day make a bit more of a difference.
“Poverty is the worst form of Violence”
~ Mahatma Gandhi~
Homelessness has grown to be a large problem in Canada, right about the time that the federal government’s investment in affordable housing declined. Over the last 25 years investments have declined by over 46%, from $115 to $60 annually per Canadian. Today, over 235,000 Canadians experience homelessness in a year and nearly 1 in 5 households are facing extreme housing affordability issues. In a country as prosperous as Canada, with a broadly shared and strong commitment to social justice, there is no need to accept or tolerate the experiences of poverty, hardship and homelessness. If federal investment in affordable housing increases to just $106 annually per Canadian, an increase of only 88 cents per person weekly, we can see an end to chronic homelessness and help others who are on the brink of becoming homeless.
It’s World Peace Day 2015 / International Peace Day 2015 September 21st. Please take a moment at 12pm September 21st in your part of the world to practice a conscious act to spread peace.
The ripple effect of peace and love will create a shift, we believe, not only for the globe, but in our own lives. Watch our video and take Shari’s suggestion to light a candle and meditate or do what you can or feel at that time of day. Even if it’s past 12pm, and you just receive the message, take a moment and send out a loving thought for peace.
Thank you for spreading peace and love to help humanity. Please enjoy 25 peace inspiring images created my members of The Wellness Universe. You can visit each of these world changers by clicking on the image and visiting their page. We hope to introduce you to some inspiring individuals that create more peace, love and joy in your world as they do ours.
Sincerely, The Wellness Universe ~ ‘Walk away feeling better.’
NOTHING BRINGS ME MORE HAPPINESS THAN TRYING TO HELP THE MOST VULNERABLE PEOPLE IN SOCIETY ~ IT IS A GOAL AND AN ESSENTIAL PART OF MY LIFE ~ A KIND OF DESTINY ~ WHOEVER IS IN DISTRESS CAN CALL ON ME ~ I WILL COME RUNNING WHEREVER THEY ARE
~ PRINCESS DIANA
Prince William is tackling bullying in schools ~ for a charity in his late mother’s name.
On Monday, William, 33, will take part in a training day on the problems facing kids over cyberbullying and LGBT bullying.
Young people trained by the non-profit Diana Award organization identify bullying and share practical tips on prevention.
A Kensington Palace spokesman tells PEOPLE that William has been especially interested in the group’s Ambassadors program: He visited Diana Award Ambassadors in South Shields, northeast England, in 2013. “He hopes it will help de-stigmatize bullying issues in schools,” his spokesman says.
“He particularly likes the idea of a peer-led support network to prevent any child or young person suffering in silence,” adds his spokesman. “And that’s what he’s keen to see in action on Monday.”
Part of that is a “high five” ~ identifying five people a child can go to for help. William is expected to observe and take part in the workshops.
Monday’s visit to a school in Hammersmith, West London, is in line with an issue that he and Princess Kate have been jointly championing: the emotional and mental well-being of young people. Last month, a palace source told PEOPLE that the issue “is an area which the Duke is starting to explore as to whether he can help in any way in that sector, while recognizing that there are an awful lot of people doing a lot of great work around it already.”
In a new interview in Canada‘s weekly news magazine Maclean’s, actress and singer Cher said she declined an invitation to open the winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia because of the country’s anti-gay laws.
“I can’t name names but my friend called who is a big oligarch over there, and asked me if I’d like to be an ambassador for the Olympics and open the show. I immediately said no,” she said.
“I want to know why all of this gay hate just exploded over there. He said the Russian people don’t feel the way the government does,” Cher added.
In the wide-ranging interview, Cher speaks publicly about how she and ex-husband, the late Sonny Bono, were frequently attacked for their appearance in their early days in show business.
“People hated Sonny and I in the early days because we looked and acted so different,” she said.
“Sonny was always getting into fights — people would call him a ‘fag’ and he’d get his nose broken — only because we were dressing different.
And these were our street clothes! You can’t forget that. We tried getting on TV but the backlash against the networks was so bad, they wouldn’t invite us back.”
On their transgender son, Chaz Bono, Cher is one of the few celebrity parents with a transgender child who has spoken openly on the subject.
“When Chaz first told me she was going to do it — pronoun problem, when he first told me — and the process started, I was so frightened,” she said.
“One time I called Chaz and he had forgot to change his voicemail and it was his old voice. It shook me a bit. These are small changes that as a mother you never forget. It is the last taboo. It used to be against the law. Thank God we’ve come so far.”
Staff Reports ~ Friday, September 13, 2013 ~ The full interview is at Maclean’s.»»»»»»
It’s an issue that I don’t think gets enough attention, considering how big of a problem it is.
I was really shocked and surprised when I learned at how often bullying in the workplace takes place.
A recent survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute shed some important light on this issue.
Let’s look at some of the more interesting numbers from the survey:
27% of Americans have suffered abusive conduct at work
21% have witnessed bullying
56% of the time it was from the top-down (more on this later)
Hispanics and African american workers experience more of the bullying
Most employers either deny or discount the bullying
38% of co workers did nothing (although I don’t blame them)
These numbers are incredible.
The 2 numbers that really stick out at me, are the fact that 56%…
Enjoy The Wellness Universe Quote of the Day by JoAnn and find more inspiration on her page.Her expanded thought is below or click on the image above.
How can we truly know the love within ourselves, its activity and its fruits, if everything about us is shouting to us ‘I don’t want anything but pleasure, if it disturbs me, I’ll try like hell to keep it away from me’. To want a whole life, one must be a whole human being. But, we push away love that is for us to discover that which is immortal, that which isn’t afraid of what we’re afraid of, that has no agenda concerning what someone, anyone else is or does. It is because that love has its own life that isn’t conditional, and is never-ending produces new beginnings. Newness and love are immortal without time, and we are given something by God that we can participate in, not try to own it.
Whatever disturbs you in your life, you created through resistance. So, stop resisting what is true about yourself. See the perpetual truth of yourself, which is what the love of God is constantly trying to show you, not the ‘you’ the way you take yourself to be. It is a completely different order of you that is never not being made in Gods image, the image of love.
“Most families are destroyed from the inside, because they allow themselves to be conquered by others from the outside.”
~ Carlton Young
The Homelessness Partnering Secretariat (HPS) has developed several directives to assist communities with the shift to a Housing First framework. The first directive states that chronically and episodically homeless individuals should be prioritized to receive Housing First services. Therefore, it is imperative that communities are equipped with the necessary information and skills so as to facilitate the screening and prioritization of homeless individuals into Housing First services.
A total of 15 tools were assessed using the HUD criteria. The strengths and weaknesses of the tools were discussed by the Housing First Assessment Taskforce, created by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, during monthly meetings. Once the most promising tools were identified, key informant interviews were conducted with the developers and current users of the tools. This process enabled the Taskforce to uncover the specifics of each tool and develop a comprehensive understanding of their use and scope. Based upon this process, the Taskforce concluded that the Vulnerability Assessment Tool was the best brief screening tool available that can assist with prioritization of clients for Housing First programs.
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.
The Paradox of our Time in History
Is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We’ve learned…
Director Tony Pontes says the board is willing to lose students over its stance on inclusion issues in the curriculum.
Parents can remove their kids from sex-ed classes for religious reasons, but any requests for students to opt-out of learning about gay families or diverse gender identities won’t be tolerated, says the director of Ontario’s second largest school board — one that expects to be hard hit by protests over the new health curriculum.
The same day as anti-sex-ed rallies were planned outside Liberal MPP offices across the province, Tony Pontes was to tell teachers and superintendents about the Peel board’s tough stand, saying if parents have a problem with such strong support for equity and inclusion, the public system may not be right for them.
“Let’s be clear: Some in our community may not like this,” he says in a speech to be given Wednesday morning, a copy of which was provided to the Star.
After noting the 905-area board is opening its first gender-neutral washroom at a high school as well as introducing a new gender identity guideline for educators, some parents “may choose to switch school systems … if so, that is a price we must be willing to pay.
“We cannot — we will not — by action or inaction endorse discrimination,” said Pontes, who cited Ontario’s Human Rights Code as applying to people of all sexual orientation and gender identity. “Supported by legal opinion, bolstered by our core values, I would no more say yes to someone wanting a child excluded because of a discussion about LGBTQ than I would a discussion about race or gender.”
He said that while some parents do have “genuine concerns” that the board will work to address, critics of the updated sex-ed curriculum have used it to “raise fear, generate untruths and build constituencies of protest based on false information. I find that unconscionable.”
Since the new curriculum was announced, opponents, made up mainly of different faith groups, have tried to derail it, labelling it age-inappropriate, radical and even immoral — arguing parents should be the ones providing such information, and at a time when they feel their children are ready.
Thousands have taken part in several protests, and kept their children home from school for a week last May. Some even refused to allow their kids to participate in the anti-bullying “Day of Pink,” believing it promoted homosexuality.
On Wednesday, protesters were to target MPP offices around the province demanding that the curriculum be dropped. As well, a Sept. 2 letter sent by the Canadian Families Alliance to the Ministry of Education outlines several concerns and asks for a public debate on the issue, saying now is the time to “amend and enhance the curriculum before it is fully implemented across the province.”
The government, meanwhile, has stepped up its promotion of the new curriculum, with YouTube videos airing on television over the next month, as the school year starts up.
Some anonymous materials, distributed to families by groups unknown, have incorrectly said sex education offers how-to classes on masturbation and homosexuality; parents have also objected to teaching masturbation as “healthy,” or their children learning about oral or anal sex — none of which is actually a mandatory part of the curriculum, though it could be discussed.
The health curriculum had last been updated in 1998. Until now, Ontario has been teaching students with the most outdated information of any province in the country. The updated version was first introduced in 2010, but then abandoned by former premier Dalton McGuinty because of the outcry from a vocal minority.
Parents are free to keep their children home from school at any time, but because equity is woven into all subject areas and may also spontaneously arise during classroom discussion, it is near-impossible for kids to avoid it.
“So, some parents may ask, ‘Don’t you respect my values?’” Pontes also said. “Yes — but that does not mean we will de facto endorse those values by providing an in-school accommodation.”
Let’s talk about sex:
Details of Ontario’s new health curriculum
Grade 1: Students learn about body parts and genitalia, with possible examples: penis, testicles, vagina, vulva. Could be as simple as “boys have penises and girls have vaginas,” or more detailed, depending on the resources teachers use.
Grade 2: Students will learn the basic states of human development including how their bodies change as they grow.
Grade 3: First mention of homosexuality, within the context of being respectful of differences. Teachers may talk about families that have two moms or two dads.
Grade 4: Kids learn about puberty and the body and emotional changes it brings, also personal hygiene. Topics also include online safety (including text messaging as well as warnings about sending sexy pictures).
Grade 5: Students learn about reproductive systems, menstruation and sperm production, as well as emotions and stress during puberty.
Grade 6: Healthy relationships and sexual consent are major issues covered. If a student asks about masturbation, a teacher could respond by saying: “Things like wet dreams or vaginal lubrication are normal and happen as a result of physical changes with puberty. Exploring one’s body by touching or masturbating is something that many people do and find pleasurable. It is common and is not harmful and is one way of learning about your body.”
Grade 7: Students are warned about sexting, and learn about sexually transmitted diseases and discuss delaying sexual activity “until they are older (e.g., choosing to abstain from any genital contact; choosing to abstain from having vaginal or anal intercourse; choosing to abstain from having oral-genital contact); the reasons for not engaging in sexual activity; the concept of consent and how consent is communicated; and, in general, the need to communicate clearly with each other when making decisions about sexual activity in the relationship.” Birth control is also covered. Anal intercourse and oral sex may be discussed, but are not mandatory parts of the curriculum.
Alison Des Forges Award Honorees From Uganda, Syria, Malaysia, Azerbaijan
“To deny people their human rights is to challenge their very humanity.” —Nelson Mandela—
(New York) – Four courageous and tireless advocates for human rights are the 2015 recipients of the prestigious Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, Human Rights Watch said today.
The winners, leading voices for justice in their countries, are Nisha Ayub, a leading human rights defender on transgender rights in Malaysia; Yara Bader, a journalist and human rights activist who works to expose the detention and torture of journalists in war-torn Syria; Khadija Ismayilova, a prominent investigative journalist who has dedicated her life to fighting for human rights in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan; and Nicholas Opiyo, a leading human rights lawyer and founder of the human rights organization Chapter Four Uganda, who has worked tirelessly to defend civil liberties in Uganda. Ismayilova is currently behind bars and on trial on bogus tax and other charges brought in retribution for her reporting.
“The Alison Des Forges Award honors people who work courageously and selflessly to defend human rights, often in dangerous situations and at great personal sacrifice,” said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “The honorees have dedicated their lives to defending the world’s most oppressed and vulnerable people.”
The award is named for Dr. Alison Des Forges, senior adviser at Human Rights Watch for almost two decades, who died in a plane crash in New York State on February 12, 2009. Des Forges was the world’s leading expert on Rwanda, the 1994 genocide, and its aftermath. The Human Rights Watch annual award honors her outstanding commitment to, and defense of, human rights. It celebrates the valor of people who put their lives on the line to create a world free from abuse, discrimination, and oppression.
The four 2015 honorees and two 2014 recipients of the award, Father Bernard Kinvi from the Central African Republic and Dr. M.R. Rajagopal from India, will be honored at the Voices for Justice Human Rights Watch Annual Dinners held in more than 20 cities worldwide in November 2015 and March-April 2016.
Ayub will be honored in Amsterdam; Bader in London and Paris; Ismayilova in Munich and Geneva; and Opiyo in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. Father Kinvi will tour North America and will be honored at dinners in New York, San Francisco, Silicon Valley, and Toronto. Dr. Rajagopal will be honored in Hanover.
I was thrilled to be asked to do an interview with the Standish Foundation for Child and Family Centered Healthcare this past week. They are an amazing organization that is connecting the child life curriculum and training to doctors, nurses and administrative staff. They are helping to make hospitals a better place for kids and families.
Q&A with Child Life Specialist, Blogger & Author, Shani Thornton
Shani Thornton is the voice behind Child Life Mommy, a blog about being a mom and a Certified Child Life Specialist. Shani is a true warrior for child-centered healthcare practices and we’re honored she took the time to chat with us about her experiences as a child life professional:
Please share a little about your background and how you became a Child Life Specialist.
Join the Fearless Hearts Mentorship Program and Thrive in Life with less Fear-Launch Special NOW 17-30 Aug 2105! How to Reframe Your Fear and Let It Work for You
It’s not about being just existing in life, it’s about being in control — control of your emotions, control of yourself, control of your life. And with control comes power — power to create whatever life it is you desire.
I’m here today because I am gay, and because maybe I can make a difference to help others have an easier and a more hopeful time….I am tired of hiding and I am tired of lying by omission…I suffered for years, My spirit suffered, my mental health suffered and my relationships suffered. And I’m standing here today, with all of you, on the other side of all that pain. — Canadian Actress Ellen Page —
SAN DIEGO, California — Created in the spring of 2015 to ensure equity and advocacy for all students, San Diego Unified School District’s new Office of Youth Advocacy recently outlined a long-term strategic plan to address the needs of an ever-increasingly diverse student body across the district.
The plan offers ways to close current achievement gaps and focuses on cultural proficiency; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning (LGBTQ) training and support; restorative practices; ethnic studies; civic collaboration, and substance use prevention.
“Public education has, for decades, tackled some tough issues around equity and around ensuring pathways of success for all students – LGTBQ students, students of color, and those with socio-economic challenges, language barriers or disabilities,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten in a press release. “We’re making a promise to students to deliver on equity and it’s not just our words but our actions that will deliver on this promise.”
Marten said the Office has also worked with the district’s Safe Schools Task Force as well as other community groups to gather solutions to existing issues.
“We are now ready to expand our implementation of these important and agreed-upon solutions in a systemic, coherent, systematic, focused effort. We will continue to work with our community agencies and partners in supporting our long-term plans,” Marten said.
Highlights of the new plan, which will go into effect 2015-16, include: Revisions to the district’s anti-bullying awareness policy; annual launch of the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education (GLSEN) School Climate Survey at all secondary schools; to provide benchmark data for current students; training for all district employees around LGTBQ issues and for compliance with and understanding of Seth’s Law, the FAIR Education Act, and the School Success and Opportunity Act, and to assist with providing resources to students including Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) student clubs and the National Equity Project (NEP); and more.
“We are absolutely committed to providing safe, supportive, and inclusive school environments for all students,” said Board President Marne Foster. “I am thrilled and look forward to action plans being implemented for mandatory LGTBQ training for all staff and some of these dramatic things we are doing to support LGTBQ students, including our commitment to having a dedicated staff member focusing on LGTBQ students and improved bullying reporting procedures,” said Board Trustee Kevin Beiser.
Article By Gay San Diego Staff – August 21st, 2015
For additional information on the Office of Youth Advocacy, please contact Dr. R. Vernon Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619-260-5433 – (Editor’s note: This post was originally published on SDGLN media partner Gay San Diego.)
More attention needs to be paid to identifying, researching, and preventing the roots of bullying behavior in young children.
How do we prevent bullying? Despite decades of study and numerous programs claiming to be the solution to bullying, few programs have actually been shown to be effective. One of the main issues is that “bullying prevention” is often a misnomer; instead of trying to stop the behavior before it begins, the focus of many programs is on reducing already high rates of bullying. By the time students enter sixth grade, the earliest grade for which nationally representative data is collected, nearly 28 percent reporthaving been targeted in the past year. For younger children, data are far more limited, but suggestive. The National Survey of Children’s Exposure to Violence found that 20.4 percent of children ages 2-5 had experienced physical bullying in their lifetime and 14.6 percent had been teased (verbally bullied).
To actually prevent bullying before it starts, we need to focus on how bullying behaviors develop–for those engaging in bullying behaviors and those being targeted–starting in early childhood. Child Trends recently conducted a literature review and convened an expert roundtable, which NAEYC took part in, to document current understandings of the roots of bullying in early childhood. We identified key contextual factors linked to bullying behaviors, promising and evidence-based programs that help address emerging behavior, and the need for further research.
Research on bullying and early childhood development is limited. When we talk about bullying, the early childhood audience is often forgotten. There remains immense debate in the field about how to distinguish between typical, sometimes aggressive behavior that young children show and the more strategic and deliberate behaviors that define bullying. In preparing their uniform definition of bullying, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defined bullying as being between “school-aged youth,” recognizing that the behaviors observed in young children are often not what we traditionally think of as bullying, but are developmental in nature, as children first begin to navigate interactions with peers. Many young children who are aggressive with their peers will not engage in bullying behaviors in later childhood and adolescence. Likewise, being the target of an aggressive behavior does not mean that child will be victimized for life. Still, these early aggressions (and conversely, the early skills of sharing, listening, and empathy) are precursors to later behavior, and it is important to intervene early. More research is needed to understand the trajectory of early aggression into bullying behaviors.
Overall, it is clear that more attention needs to be paid to identifying, researching, and preventing the roots of bullying behavior in young children. It is only when we recognize that bullying behaviors do not simply appear in elementary or middle school, but may be part of a developmental trajectory, that will we be able to stop bullying.
Despite the limited literature, four key factors consistently seemed to be related to bullying behaviors in young children:
Parents’ treatment of each other, their children, and others influences how young children treat their peers. Specifically, parents’ use of harsh discipline and children’s exposure to domestic violence are related to increases in bullying behavior, while parents’ positive engagement in their children’s lives, such as through interactive play, reading, and meals together, seems to be protective against bullying behavior. Parents serve as role models for their children, and modeling empathy, concern, and care for others may help deter later bullying. Resources such as those provided by the Making Caring Common Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education can help parents expand their own “circle of concern” and help their children do so, too. (It should be noted here that the majority of current research looks at the behaviors and characteristics of mothers; studies looking at the role of fathers are more limited, primarily because mothers are more likely to be the primary caregiver for young children and more likely to respond to the research. Some effort is being made, however, to address the role of fathers in bullying prevention.)
Young children exposed to maltreatment are more likely to be involved in bullying, both as the target and the aggressor. Not only can maltreatment change children’s behaviors, it has been shown to fundamentally alter the development of young children’s brain structures, which can lead to developmental deficits including in the social and emotional domains. Early intervention is critical to help stem these delays. Adults and Children Together (ACT) Against Violence Raising Safe Kids, an evidence-based program specifically aimed at helping reduce child maltreatment and promote positive parenting strategies, is one approach that shows promise.
Television and other media can contribute to the development of both aggression and pro-social skills. Screen time for young children is one of the most debated subjects among early childhood advocates. Research shows that increased television watching is related to increases in aggressive behavior even if the content is not inherently violent. Conversely, when shows are specifically designed to promote skills such as sharing, empathy, and other pro-social skills–shows like Sesame Street, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, or in past generations, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood–children are more likely to engage in these behaviors after viewing.
Building young children’s social and emotional skills and promoting welcoming classrooms can significantly reduce aggression. Evaluations of several evidence-based social and emotional learning programs for young children, such as PATHS for Preschool, Second Step, and Al’s Pals, show that helping children understand and control their own emotions, and understand those of others, can significantly reduce conflict and aggression. Even without these formalized interventions, teachers of young children (and parents for that matter) can work to reduce bullying behaviors. The Guidance Matters column in the professional journal Young Children provides a number of resources that can support these efforts…..Learn more »»»
ArticleBy Deborah Temkin / The Huffington Post August 20, 2015
‘Human systems, just like all systems in the world, are energy systems. The way energy is managed throughout the body and the brain has a profound effect on behavior.
A new book that explores the neuroscience of the workplace and the crippling effect of fear is sure to strike a particular chord with some LGBT employees
Bookstores are over-stocked with tomes on leadership and success in business, but a new publication is one of the first to concentrate on the crippling effects of fear in the workplace.
The Fear-Free Organization – Vital Insights from Neuroscience to Transform Your Business Culture is by Dr Paul Brown, Joan Kingsley and Dr Sue Patterson. It offers a convincing argument as to why provoking fear in employees is likely to stifle productivity and lead to a depressed and demoralized workforce.
The book draws upon real-life business stories and the latest research into neuroscience.
If ‘neuroscience’ sounds dry and academic, the The Fear-Free Organization is anything but. It’s a readable, accessible work that compares organizations to the human mind.
In the same way that fear will trigger a ‘fight or flight’ response in humans, fear at work will provoke similar survival tactics among employees; Instead of working on creative solutions to problems, staff will instead concentrate on coming up with excuses for missed deadlines and covering their own backs.
What sort of fear is common at work? The fear of not hitting targets; the fear of not knowing what management are doing; the fear of being thought a slacker; the fear of losing your job or status, or treated unfairly; the fear of the business going bust; the list goes on and on.
Fear in the workplace can lead to bullying, gossip, undermining behavior, hijacking tactics, behind-doors jockeying for status and favoritism. Such behaviors will inevitably have an effect on the health and emotional well-being of staff.
If that sound familiar then you could be working in work environment where fear is running rampant.
As the book explains: ‘Fear-based cultures foster short-term thinking: you become defensive, seek to avoid confrontation or reprisal and focus on eliminating any threats instead of working together to deliver shared targets and outcomes.’
So what’s the antidote?
Neuroscience informs us that feelings can be broken down into eight basic categories: fear, anger, disgust, shame, sadness and surprise prepare us to deal with danger, while on the flipside of the coin, excitement/joy and trust/love provoke attachment and growth.
Eliminating fear in the workplace requires companies generating excitement, joy, trust and love in staff. Chief among these is trust.
Although The Fear-Free Organization briefly touches upon the value of encouraging diversity at work and the business advantage of having a diverse workforce, it doesn’t, unfortunately, specifically address the fear that many LGBT people may feel at work around revealing their sexuality.
According to research by Human Rights Campaign, just over half (53%) of LGBT people in the US continue to hide who they are at work. They instead use precious energy avoiding questions about their personal life and making sure that their ‘secret’ is not revealed.
Not surprisingly, the cost to individuals in terms of happiness, security and productivity can be immense.
Approached by Gay Star Business, one of the Fear-Free Organization’s authors agrees.
‘Fear is likely to be pervading your internal world if you are working in an environment where you can’t be yourself,’ says Joan Kingsley, a Consultant Clinical and Organizational Psychotherapist.
‘It is difficult to be productive and creative at work if you have to play a role and pretend to be someone you’re not. That takes a fair amount of energy that could be put to better use.
Or, as LGBT advocacy groups, Stonewall, sums it up; People perform between then they can be themselves.
Want to create a fear-free environment at work? The Fear-Free Organization offers several recommendations. Some of the chief ones are as follows:
Leaders are responsible for creating the climate, culture and mood within which others will either flourish or fail. They provide a sense of excitement and purpose to the organization.
The most important emotion to motivate people in organizations is trust; trust that they are being kept aware of what’s going on and trust in the belief that they will be treated fairly. Fear-free organizations are underpinned by honesty, openness and trust.
Individuals should feel welcomed and respected at work; respected as individuals who can make honest mistakes and can expect support for recovering from those mistakes. Growth, after all, comes about through trial and error.
People respond to certainty; when there are clear expectations, clarity and commitment to what is expected. Leaders set an organization’s direction and goals – which need to be clearly conveyed throughout the organization.
But won’t people always feel some degree of fear at work – particulary during tough economic times?
Kingsley says that although fear is ‘hard-wired’ into our brains, and serves a vital purpose when it comes to helping us avoid danger, creating a fear-free organization remains a realistic goal.
‘The fear-free organization is built on relationships of trust. It has zero tolerance for using fear to manage and motivate.
No organization can predict the dangers and disasters that inevitably happen in the external world. However, the fear-free organization creates an environment that fosters trust amongst colleagues.
‘It creates an environment where people are working together to effectively respond to challenges presented by external competition.’
The Fear-Free Organization – Vital Insights from Neuroscience to Transform Your Business Culture, by Paul Brown, Joan Kingsley and Sue Patterson, is out now viaKoganPage.
“When your purpose meets your passion, you are unstoppable.” – Shelley Zalis, CEO, Ipsos OTX; Founder, The Ipsos Girls’ Lounge
Question from Melissa
PLEASE HELP ME! So there’s this kid who’s badly bullied in my class. Like SERIOUSLY badly. I try to help him out but I can only do so much. He’s got really bad autism and so he gets bullied so much.
He started to text me about half an hour ago, talking about depression. I told him how needed he was and that he isn’t worthless and stuff, but then he said he cut himself last night and then he said that he’s going to do it now.
I just don’t know what to do. Please help. I think he really has cut himself. Please, I need help!
Tell the nearest adult right now. This problem is too big for a child to solve.
First, he must receive immediate help. The grown-ups in his life need to know NOW that he has harmed himself. Tell your parents and have them contact his parents.
Second, your entire school really needs to pull together on this. As a society, we MUST NOT allow children who are slightly different to be bullied. It simply is not OK on any level.
It is wonderful that you are his friend and that he feels he can talk to you. But one person alone won’t be able to affect this kid’s day-to-day reality. However, one kid joining with another kid and another and another, CAN and WILL change everything.
Once you have reported the self harm, start with one of your friends and say, “What can we do to help Trevor?” (I named him Trevor because it’s a cool name, but go ahead and fill in his actual name.) Then the two of you can go talk to another kid, and so on.
Be an agent of change. You can do this. Deep in their hearts, people DO want to be on the positive side of things. But sometimes it takes a great leader to pull them there. You CAN be that leader.
Get your group together and make an appointment to see the vice principal. Go down to the office and explain that this boy is being mercilessly bullied, and that your school desperately needs increased awareness and action plans regarding tolerance and acceptance of every uniquely wonderful kid in your school.
Click here to familiarize yourselves with the terms, the concepts and the programs you would love to see implemented at your school. Then share the website with the vice principal.
Remember that bullying and its prevention are EVERYONE’S responsibility. You have made an excellent first step through your friendship with this boy. Keep walking.
Article By Louise Palanker | @louisepalanker | Published on Aug 08, 2015
To those who thought I was perfect, well, sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not either. I pledge to not hold you to a standard that I can’t live myself.— Pure Glory —
I love my haters
I send kisses of mercy to all my haters.
I bless those who’ve have to curse me.
I forgive those who’ve wronged me.
I ask for forgiveness to those whom I may have wronged.
To those who’ve rejected my gifts I declare the abundance of gifts to you.
To my enemies who were my friends but are not any more.
I am going to be so outrageously and contagiously blessed that you are going to be blessed as well!
Thank you! I release the revelation of God’s securing love upon those who are jealous of or intimidated by me.
To all those who’ve put time in to destructively criticize me and ruin my reputation, I say thank you thank you and thank you again for the free advertising.
For all the hard labor, covert press releases, and tireless hours of deformation of character; I say God’s blessings of purity, prosperity, and longevity be yours.
To those who are loquacious and pretentious towards me, you get the credit for driving me to the Lord.
I speak long life to my enemies that they live long enough to see me fulfill my destiny.
I will exceed the opinions and expectations of others including my own, because my expectations now, are of Him, not you. I choose to walk in love with the unloving. I choose to surpass the past. I am determined to not allow the devil, myself, or anyone else, to hold me hostage to my past.
For all those who’ve prophe-lied concerning me. May God bless you to get it right the next time; because what you meant as evil towards me, God designed for my good! I release this with the love God gave to me in Jesus name and Jesus’s authority!
Amen….and the winner is…..
Courtesy of Pure Glory originally posted Oct 06, 2013
“Don’t mistake people who don’t understand for people who aren’t willing to learn.” — Georgia Baber — Girl Up Leadership Summit teen participant
It’s been a busy year for Garden State Equality Executive Director Andrea Bowen.
This weekend, Bowen will celebrate her first anniversary at GSE, having joined the Montclair-based civil rights organization after starting her career as a social worker and transgender rights activist in Washington, D.C.
Garden State Equality Executive Director Andrea Bowen, center, celebrates following the Supreme Court’s June ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationally Andrea Bowen BUY THIS PHOTO
A year in, Bowen describes New Jersey as a complex environment, one with many hardworking individuals looking to make a difference in their communities. Much of the past year has been spent meeting with community activists, including youth leaders, Bowen said.
She credited New Jersey students for bringing issues such as the need for LGBT-inclusive materials in health classes to GSE’s attention.
Bowen said she counts LGBT-sensitive training at schools, working with hospitals to provide LGBT-competent care, and training homeless shelter staffs to develop programs to work with homeless LGBT youth among the initiatives she is most proud of so far.
Essex County officials showed that they are proud of Bowen’s work, too, presenting her and state Sen. Teresa Ruiz with Pride of Essex County Awards during last week’s Essex County LGBTQ Pride Month Celebration.
Essex County Freeholder-at-Large Brendan Gill, a Montclair resident, said that the recognition of Bowen was well-deserved.
“I think she’s continued to hold up the legacy of Garden State Equality as an organization,” Gill said of Bowen. “Under the leadership that Andy has shown, GSE continues to be a real force and advocate for lesbian, gay, transgender and bisexual issues … I think we’re lucky to have Andy in that leadership role and [GSE] in Montclair.”
Gill told The Montclair Times that Essex County is unique in that it is one of the few New Jersey counties to have a LGBT advisory committee. He said the LGBT advocacy community is a large part of the fabric of Essex County.
Gill credited Bowen and GSE for its civic engagement and advocacy efforts, along with for Monday’s GSE-organized protest outside the Glen Rock office of U.S. Rep. Scott Garrett [R-5], in response to Garrett’s support of the First Amendment Defense Act, which prevents the federal government from taking action against individuals who claim to be acting in accordance with their religious or moral beliefs.
“I was really honored that they were excited about the work Garden State Equality is doing now,” Bowen said of the award. “This is an award that is partially for GSE’s legacy. [GSE founder] Steven Goldstein, [former Executive Director] Troy Stevenson, staff and volunteers built this. I was proud to carry the mantle.”
Bowen said she is focused on GSE’s future work. In the coming year, she hopes to address insurance discrimination against transgender individuals, provide better resources to shelters that serve homeless members of the LGBT community, particularly young people, and support LGBT youth in schools.
GSE is conducting an informal survey to see what New Jersey schools are doing to address bullying, establish gay/straight alliances, incorporate LGBT-inclusive health classes, and allow students to use the restrooms for the gender they identify with.
“If, in a year from now, we have changed the policies in schools to be more LGBT-friendly, I’d be a very happy woman,” Bowen said.
Bowen said she was also excited to have the support of U.S. Sen. Cory Booker and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, along with several New Jersey congressional representatives, for the Equality Act, which bans discriminatory practices against members of the LGBT community.
“I can’t wait to see it move through Congress and finally become law,” Bowen said. “In so much of the country, you can get married one day and fired the next.”
Praise for Bowen
Since GSE helped pave the way for marriage equality in New Jersey two years ago, rallying public support has been a challenge, according to Steve McIntyre, a member of GSE’s board. Marriage equality was the clear focus of GSE’s first decade of existence, he explained.
“In the post-marriage climate, it was important for us to get a leader that was completely dedicated to the non-marriage issues,” McIntyre said. “To find a leader like Andy, who is trans herself, and who’s young and energetic and she’s been in the trenches … We’re thrilled with her accomplishments in her first year.”
GSE’s board remains committed to advancing LGBT initiatives through both legislative and judiciary channels, McIntyre said, and is proud to have Bowen’s work recognized.
“We are happy that she is being recognized for the important work she is doing – taking the lead on trans advocacy in addition to youth homelessness issues and eldercare issues in the community,” McIntyre said, referring to the Pride of Essex Award.
In an email to The Montclair Times, Brian Edwards, coordinator of The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Center at Montclair State University, lauded the county for honoring Bowen.
“I am a huge fan of Andrea Bowen’s work and commend the Essex County Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Advisory Board for recognizing her with a Pride of Essex Award this year,” Edwards wrote. “Andy is a change agent, and LGBTQ+ New Jerseyans are so lucky to have her at the helm of Garden State Equality.”
On the campus of MSU, one of the major focuses for this year has been removing transgender restrictions from student health insurance plans, Edwards wrote. Effective Aug. 15, MSU students will join students at TCNJ, Kean and Rowan in having accessibility to gender confirmation surgery, he said in the email.
The LGBTQ Center is working with campus administrators on developing inclusive policies regarding chosen first names and gender markers, Edwards added.
Article by ANDREW SEGEDIN – STAFF WRITER | THE MONTCLAIR TIMES
Good habits formed at youth make all the difference —Anistotle —
Providing basic mediation training to managers would resolve a lot of interpersonal conflict in the workplace
Adults feel too weak and ashamed to admit they’re being bullied because they think an adult should be able to cope with it,” says Dr Genevieve Murray, a specialist liaison officer for workplace mediation with the Mediators’ Institute of Ireland (MII).
The MII is the professional association for mediators in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
While bullying in schools is often discussed, Murray conducted research in schools but focused on staff rather than students. She examined workplace bullying in post-primary schools and says bullying can come from any direction – superiors, peers or subordinates.
Increased levels of testosterone in boys can contribute to greater anger and aggression.
Ideally, all prospective parents should seek professional health screening at least six months prior to a planned pregnancy.
What emerged from her research was that disputes usually started over something small and eventually got out of control. Mediation came too late, if at all, after bitterness and resentment had already set in.
“By that time, there was far too much anger between the two and far too many people involved,” she says.
A member of staff might have withheld information, not given someone credit for their work or shouted at a colleague.
Severe criticism, hurtful teasing, setting unrealistic work targets or depriving someone of responsibility are other ways co-workers bully each other. One of the most common ways, according to Murray, is spreading rumours.
“It’s all a power game. Power is a huge element of workplace bullying. Other reasons are envy and fear.”
Bullying can leave employees feeling depressed, anxious, sleep-deprived, unable to concentrate and socially isolated.
“Studies have shown that workers who experience bullying over a lengthy period may develop symptoms similar to those of post traumatic stress disorder,” Murray says. “People isolate themselves when they feel that uncomfortable. That’s a very lonely space for an individual to be in.”
In situations like that, absenteeism increases. Employers might not realise the impact interpersonal conflicts have on productivity, she says.
“When a teacher is out sick due to the stress of bullying, a substitute teacher has to be brought in. Therefore, they’re paying two people for one job. There is also a break in the continuity of teaching. Students would have to adapt to another teacher. What a waste of money and resources. These are some of the hidden effects of workplace bullying.”
It stresses out not only the victim, but the entire workplace, causing a “psychological ripple effect. It affects everyone. Therefore, if mediation was brought in at an early stage, where both people could have at least communicated with each other before it
Murray says providing basic mediation training to managers – in this case, school principals – would resolve a lot of interpersonal conflict before it becomes bullying and results in a stressful aftermath. They would learn to improve communication, narrow outstanding issues, defuse emotions and set out areas of agreement.
Her research showed that managers frequently mishandle conflict.
“A lot of people find it very difficult. Managers might be good at their jobs, but when it comes to interpersonal relationship issues that arise in the workplace, they can find that very difficult to handle,” she says.
“There are skills and language one uses to come across as a neutral party, even though you know both people very well.”
Murray’s work with the MII focuses on intervention and prevention. She wants to make employers and employees aware of what workplace bullying is, how to identify it and what to do if they feel something is wrong.
She advises employees to learn what they are entitled to and talk to their employers. Often, mediation is written into an employer’s workplace harassment policy, continue reading »»»
Article by Erin McGuire for The Irish Times – Thu, Jul 30, 2015