Tragedies Give Rise to Anti-Bullying Society

This week, we profile I AM SOMEONE ENDING BULLYING SOCIETY, by talking to Executive Director Barb Henham, along with Mayor of Port Coquitlam and Board Member Greg Moore. I AM SOMEONE ENDING BULLYING SOCIETY is collaborating with bc211 to deliver the 2TALK texting program, an anti-bullying texting service for youth serving Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.

bc211:
How does the new 2TALK Program work? What are your hopes for the program?

Barb:
 When youth text 2TALK during the designated service hours, they will receive a text message response from qualified referral specialists. A conversation via text messaging will continue until the 2TALK representative can convince the youth to continue the discussion on the phone, or they can refer the youth to an appropriate resource or service in their community that will provide the assistance the youth requires to deal with their situation or issue. If a text is received outside the established service hours, the texter will receive an auto-reply providing them with hours, as well as a phone number they can call in case of an emergency. Their text message will then be placed in a queue, to be responded to once the service becomes available.

This text messaging platform is not exclusive to the victim; it also provides referrals and information services to the youth causing, participating and/or witnessing the issue, in the same way a referral would be extended to a victim.

bully victimAt the successful completion of the pilot in the Tri-Cities area, it is anticipated the anti-bullying texting service will continue to develop, eventually expanding to the entire bc211 service area. The program will also provide information on whether existing resources available to youth in our community meet the demand and nature of the issues being reported.

bc211:
Could you tell me a bit about the history of the organization, and the story behind the name you chose?

Greg:
In 2012, four local youth ended their lives. At that time a group of interested stakeholders came together to determine what could be done to help our youth and provide support. The name came about based on the last slide of Amanda Todd’s video were she indicates that she has no one. We believe that we are all ‘someone’ and need to be ‘someone’ to help our youth succeed. I AM SOMEONE Ending Bullying began.

bc211:
Could you tell me a bit about your annual walk, and the community response to it?

Greg:
I AM SOMEONE held the first walk in December 2012, followed a year later by our second walk. IAS is currently planning our third walk in February 2015. The members of our community, both young and old, have come out to support the walk and paint our town ‘pink’ to demonstrate the love and support for we all share for the well-being of our community and youth.

bc211:
anti-bullying hand art imgWhy did you decide to collaborate with bc211 for 2TALK?

Barb:
bc211 has a long history of providing professional support to thousands of people throughout BC, including youth in the Tri-Cities.

bc211:
How many schools will 2TALK reach?

Barb:
2TALK will reach ten public secondary and three private/independent secondary schools.

bc211:
How do you ensure that youths’ perspectives are represented in your organization?

Greg:
The IAS Society has partnered with the City of Port Coquitlam Youth Services to provide opportunities for connection and communication with 11 to 18 year-old youth. Youth Services provides the opportunity for youth to be heard, and have their thoughts and feedback incorporated into all aspects of programming.

If you are being bullied and need support, key in 2TALK (28255) from any mobile phone, Wednesday to Sunday, 3:30pm to 11:00pm. iamsomeone.ca

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