It is hard to believe it is June and that despite all the snow this past winter another school year is drawing to a close.  Youth Health Connection has spent this year dedicated to studying bullying with the intent of creating a comprehensive understanding of what it is, how to be aware of it and what we can do about it.

We have hosted a number of programs and worked very hard to encourage communities to work collaboratively to unite in strength and determination to positively deal with bullying and how it creates risk for youth.  We know that though solid policies, procedures and programs we can insure schools and communities speak with a united voice.   Culture and climates that emphasize kindness, respect,  and tolerance for difference help build a foundation that nurtures empathy connection.

Through the year we have heard from Dr. Elizabeth Englander on bullying and cyberbullying, Michael Jackman on the new Massachusetts legislation, Al Moscaritolo on the Brain-Body reaction to bullying, Ned Hallowell on Learning Differences across the lifespan, Al again on effective group work with youth, Brigitte Berman on “Dorie Witt’s Guide to Surviving Bullies, Marisa Howard-Karp on Supporting Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth.  We had a wonderful meeting with Stephanie Patton on how communities can create and sustain coalitions for addressing change.  Cohasset started a community wide campaign, Cohasset Coalition for Caring Community and had pledges signed and bracelets distributed.

We know the work is never done and that we must maintain an observant posture and consistent attitude that bullying in any form will not be tolerated.  As adults who care about our youth we must serve as positive role models and narrate pro social behavior and attitude.  We must not allow silence to have the power but rather affirm that through collected, strong voices we can provide safety for all our children to flourish, grow and develop. Let all that we have learned this year be used daily.