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Bullying Prevention Awareness: Bullying Hurts The Bystander Too

Would it surprise you to know that those who witness bullying may be more impacted than those who are victims or those who bully? According to the American Psychological Association, “Students who witnessed acts of bullying were more likely to report greater psychological distress than those students who were bullies or victims, according to the results. This was the case even for students who had not been victims themselves, although being both a witness and a victim did also significantly predict mental health problems.”

We may spend time talking to our kids about not bullying, or what to do if they are bullied, but do we talk to them about what happens if they witness bullying? Statistics show that every child will be a witness to bullying at least once during their school years.  As TGIM accepts submissions for The Bully Diaries Volume II, we know that many bystanders of bullying experience feelings of guilt, shame and helplessness.  They don’t want to simply stand by, but they don’t know exactly what to do.

About.com provides some ideas about how to handle being a bystander:

Avoid joining in or laughing. Sometimes kids will chime in or laugh at a bullying incident in order to avoid becoming the next target. Explain to your children that you expect them not to join in the bullying. Even if they don’t feel brave enough to do something, they can at least avoid giving in to peer pressure.

Walk away. Sometimes bullies are bullying simply to get the attention. And, if they don’t have an audience, they will stop. As a result, sometimes all it takes is to walk away from the incident or to ignore the bully. Still, your child should report the bullying incident to an adult so that it doesn’t happen again.

Tell the bully to stop. Usually if a bully is not getting positive attention from the crowd, he will stop what he is doing. It only takes one or two people to show disapproval and the bullying will end. Tell your children to use this method only if they feel safe in doing so. If the bully poses a physical threat, another option might be to find help.

Get an adult. Encourage your child to calmly walk away from a bullying incident and go find help. This can be done discreetly and keeps your child out of harm’s way.

Use a cell phone to call or text for help. Most tweens and teens have cell phones these days. If your child is one of these kids, tell him that he can always call or text an adult and ask for help. This keeps him from having to say something directly to the bully, but gives him a way to help the victim. Some schools have even implemented help lines where kids can text or call anonymously when someone is being bullied.

Request other bystanders to stand up too. Sometimes it’s safer and more effective if a group of kids confronts the bully. In fact, research shows that when peers intervene in a bullying incident, the bullying stops nearly 60% of the time.

Address cyberbullying. Keep in mind that your child doesn’t have to be physically present to be impacted by bullying. Witnessing a classmate being targeted online can affect your child too. Be sure you teach her how to report cyberbullying. For instance, your child should save the message or postings and report the cyberbullying to an adult. What’s more, many social media sites have mechanisms for reporting abuse. Help her become familiar with how to report harassment.

Support the victim. Sometimes the best way to get involved in a bullying incident is to be a friend to victims. In fact, research shows that having at least one friend can deter bullying. Give your child ideas on how to be a friend to the victim. This might mean walking to class together, sitting with them at lunch and inviting them to social events.

the-bully-diaries-cover-300dpiThe Bully Diaries

Chances are that you experienced bullying in your life. Whether your experience was as a victim, a bystander or the bully, if you search your memories, you will probably find instances when bullying was a part of your life. For many of us, these experiences have defined us and shaped us. Our experiences made us stronger, and helped us become who we are today.

When you are being bullied, it is hard to think about much more than getting through today. For others, there is no today. Their experience being bullied was too overwhelming, and drove them to a devastating and permanent solution to the temporary pain.

Through a community partnership with Stand for the Silent, Writing for the Soul Workshop collected stories, letters and poems from youth, teens and adults from around the world. These stories are pieces of lives impacted by bullying; written to show everyone affected by bullying that you are not alone, that you can survive the experience, that you are somebody.

A portion of the proceeds from book sales goes to support Stand for the Silent.

Details:

eBook: $11.99 USD
Soft Cover: $16.99
Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm) 
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 202 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1539125297
ISBN-10: 1539125297
BISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / Literary
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Do you have a story about bullying?  Writing for the Soul Workshop™ is collecting stories from youth around the world for Volume II of “The Bully Diaries”.  Every voice is important, so submit your story today!  You can use the Contact Form below, or email us at: submissions@tgimonlinue.us.

 

Are you using a trauma informed approach?

In our current school system, almost 50% of all children have experienced at least one ACE or Adverse Childhood Experience.  These include things like having a parent that is dependent on drugs or alcohol, abuse, neglect, and a dangerous environment.  Although these may sound like things only experienced in an urban, or high poverty area, the statistics are alarmingly clear.

Dr. Christina Bethell, Director of the National Maternal and Child Health Data Resource Center states,  “If more prevention, trauma-healing and resiliency training programs aren’t provided for children who have experienced trauma, and if our educational, juvenile justice, mental health and medical systems are not changed to stop traumatizing already traumatized children, many of the nation’s children are likely to suffer chronic disease and mental illness. Not only will their lives be difficult, but the nation’s already high health care costs will soar even higher.”

With the increase in school violence, many schools adopted a “zero tolerance” approach, which created an environment that actually increases the likelihood of issues, and creates further damage to already traumatized youth.  This is not a “feel good” approach, as science can now quantify that children exposed to the constant stress of an adverse environment.   Meg Walkley, MSW and Tory L,. Cox, LCSW / PPS, discuss the effects of trauma on the development of children and adolescents, stating “Trauma exposed youth are often hyper-vigilant, making it easy for them to become overwhelmed and undermining their capacity for self-regulation and anger management.” Often times, this leads to children being misdiagnosed with things like ADD, ADHD and Oppositional Defiance Disorder. This leads to medications that simply address symptoms, and not the root cause.

Our Trauma Informed Approach

Creating a trauma informed approach starts with changing the dialogue around behavioral issues.  Instead of asking the question, “What’s wrong with him/her?” the real question is “what happened to him/her?” This is where Writing for the Soul Workshop™ emerges as a viable component for organizations and schools to help better work with trauma impacted youth.  As a writing as therapy program, our workshop goes a step further than simply understanding what is driving behavior, we are able to promote a safe environment needed for healing, plus give at risk youth something no other program can… empowerment.  This is a key in truly changing outcomes for trauma impacted youth.  Instead of the constant stress of a “fight or flight” environment, our participants have the potential for financial independence not present in other programs.  This means better emotional outcomes, and better overall outcomes as well.  Teachers can better understand how traditional disciplinary approaches are seen as combative to trauma impacted youth, creating a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to youth dropping out of school, or getting into legal trouble, or both.

In schools that have already adopted a trauma informed approach, the results have been amazing.  Arnone Elementary, for example, which has 826 students from kindergarten through 5th grade, 86 percent of which are minorities, has seen a 40 percent drop in suspensions after implementing a trauma informed approach. When Lincoln High School  implemented a trauma-informed approach, suspensions dropped by 83 percent and expulsions dropped by 40 percent in the year following implementation.

An estimated two in three children are exposed to traumatic experiences that have the potential to impact brain development, social functioning, and ability to learn and engage in school. Recognizing and addressing this issue must become a focus for our educational system. Trauma-informed approaches, which have been supported by research evidence in fields such as mental health and child welfare, recognize and address the implications of traumatic experiences for students. Trauma has the potential to affect all students, and implementing a trauma-informed approach is imperative to change this cycle.  Test drive our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program to see  if it would be a viable component to what your school or organization already has in place. Call us at: (682) 235-8446 to schedule a free consultation today.

#TGIMAfrica: Meet Vincent Omondi

TGIM recently certified Vincent Omondi as a Community Coordinator to serve the youth at Touch Life Children Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. Touch Life Children Centre is situated in the Korogocho Slums in Kasarani Constituency. Korogocho is one of the largest slum neighborhoods of Nairobi, Kenya. Home to 150,000 to 200,000 people pressed into 1.5 square kilometers, northeast of the city centre. Korogocho was founded as a shanty town on the then outskirts of the city. It is approximately 1km from Kariobangi Terminus. Touch Life Children Centre is located just opposite of the Damascus Primary school.  It goes without saying that the children in this high-risk part of the world NEED our writing program.

Vincint is pictured here playing with the children during free time at Touch Life Children Centre.
Vincent is pictured here playing with the children during free time at Touch Life Children Centre.

Certifying Vincent to offer our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ to the children at Touch Life empower them to benefit in multiple ways. Writing for the Soul Workshop™ differs from other “writing as therapy” type programs because our participants have the opportunity to become published authors, and earn an income based on a self-created marketing strategy with expert advice. Vincent is trained and in position to help them. This long-term financial opportunity for participants creates a strong desire to continue moving forward towards their dreams.

Our workshop addresses not just educational outcomes, but emotional and physical needs as well. Here are the wow factors experienced by participants in Writing for the Soul Workshop™ :

*Experience writing as therapy

*Access to counseling

*Nutritious meals, snacks and medicine

*Lasting, positive friends and mentors creating an ongoing network of support

*Increased proficiency in both reading and writing

*Participants become published Authors, and can promote that skill on every future resume and job application

*Participants earn royalties based on individual book sales

*Participants establish strong accomplishments that will help with future entry into colleges and the job market

These unique wow factors go beyond helping participants develop a love of writing; they produce long-term behavioral changes and helps participants make positive life choices. While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™  is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.

Testimonial:
My name is Ben, and I live in Embu, Kenya. I have been a member of writing for the soul workshops for one year now and my story is in Pieces of Me. I have written several stories of my own experience when I was 10 years, and I believe it helped me to look ahead and forget what I had suffered. Other boys write stories which I read and I enjoy to learn I ‘m not alone in this world. Sometimes we share our problems and then think about them. I ask my teacher questions about life, and he guide me in every issue. I believe writing for souls has helped many youth who could have been drug addicts or even worse. I thank you the people who thought about it.  -Ben age 14, Pieces of Me

As our Coordinator, Vincent earns $3 when you purchase A Touch Life Project which includes stories written by youth attending Touch Life Children Centre. During checkout, enter Coupon Code: vincent1017. You save $1.00 and Touch Life Children Centre in Korogocho, Kenya receives a donation.

Stories of Hope: A Touch Life Project

About The Touch Life Project:

The Touch Life Project is the second release in our Stories of Hope series. For participants who submitted their stories while attending our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ program in Korogocho, this was an educational, spiritual and emotional journey for them.  True to the series, this is a compilation of heart wrenching, and liberating short stories written by students at Touch Life Children Centre.

Vincent Omondi is our Community Coordinator on the ground in Kenya. Through his efforts, other young adults were able to access our unique writing program. The stories collected in this book is what happens when we bring education and passion together in a way that offers permanent life changing impact. Many of these young writers developed a love of writing as a result.

Details:

eBook: $9.99 USD
Soft Cover: $12.99 USD (available 1/15/2017)
Size: 5.5″ x 8.5″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Color: Black & White on White paper
Page Count: 106 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1541297883
ISBN-10: 1541297881

BISAC: Nonfiction / Biography & Autobiography / General
Purchase a copy of the book or download the eBook and enjoy it from your favorite device today! Stay connected with updates from our workshops in the United States on Facebook at: Writing for the Soul Workshop™ in Africa.
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Is Your Organization Focused on the Right Measurements? Five Key Questions for Leaders Today

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”  ― H. James Harrington

In order to stay alive and keep growing, any organization knows that they must be able to measure their production. It only makes sense that you have to know where you are in business to continue to be prosperous.  If you start by looking at the dawn of the industrial revolution,  when American companies were focused on manufacturing something, those measurements seemed very straightforward; obvious things like “how many of it do you make in a day”, “how many of it do you sell a day”, “how long does it take to make one of it”, and of course “how much does it cost”.   These things were fairly easy to measure,  and those measurements lead to goal setting, and then process refinement.  It was very straightforward and “businesslike”. Organizations that used this process became more successful.  Those that ignored them typically failed.

Through that lens, organizations saw the need to make decisions based on hard facts.  Emotional markers like employee moral, employee engagement and employee satisfaction were really irrelevant. Productivity was measured to an individual level, in a facts only way. Specific behaviors that were detrimental to the output of the organization were outlined and sent out in a memo, and behavior violating the memo was addressed per the policy outlined.  Leaders consistently sent the message that emotions had no place in business decision-making; creating workplace environments that were cold and impersonal from a leadership level.

Fast forward to the 21st century, and we realized that the measurements needed to define success are really more complicated. Successful organizations had some common traits that could not be stacked and counted. These traits were not factual, but emotional ones like customer satisfaction and customer loyalty. We realized that people made their purchasing decisions based on fact AND emotion. We developed ways to measure how customers FELT about an organization. Suddenly emotions became important, but only on one side of the equation.

It wasn’t until 1995, when author, psychologist, and science journalist Daniel Goleman published the book Emotional Intelligence that we started understanding the value of emotions in the workplace.  After years of training on what successful leadership should be, the concept of Emotional Intelligence (E.I.) then started to make everything click. E.I. is generally defined as a person’s ability to recognize and control their own emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and manage the emotions of others.  E.I. really defined what used to be that thing good leaders just naturally had.

Now that we have started to understand more about E.I.,  the more we understand the competencies someone with a high E.I. exhibits. We also understand that these different competencies are important not just for leaders, but for every member of an organization.  These competencies are about how to relate to others and better communicate; skills that are important for success at ALL organizational levels. Dr. Stevie Dawn who specializes in Emotional Intelligence strategies for the workplace explains the importance of E.I. this way:

“Emotional Intelligence is really about communicating. It is about being aware of your emotions and the emotions of those around you. It is about thinking about the group as a whole when making decisions. It is about looking at the bigger picture. It is about helping others to feel empowered to achieve their goals. It is about doing all these things in a way that makes you likable and trustworthy.”

It is clear that the competencies shown are important to making successful decisions, in business and in life.

So how do you know if your organization exhibits these core competencies? Here are five questions to ask about your organization.

Does your organization communicate important information proactively and transparently?
No organization is perfect.  An emotionally intelligent organization makes sure that their people know whats coming and why. From a new sales strategy to a negative story in the media, to have good E.I. means that your people aren’t surprised and unprepared for change.

Is your everyone in your organization given a way to express how they feel about their company and leaders?
An organization with high E.I. knows that how their employees FEEL about their jobs is an important way to measure success.  Consistent processes that allow employee to express how they feel about their jobs helps to ensure that their workforce is engaged and passionate about what they do.

Does your organization train all levels of employees about Emotional Intelligence?
Being aware of how each of your employees understand and apply emotional intelligence means that you can start to identify any deficits and address them. Unless all employees receive some basic training on E.I., having leaders with great E.I. doesn’t automatically mean the people on their team do.

Do your leaders really have an “open door policy?”
When it comes to creating an environment with high E.I., being “available” to listen to your employees and peers is imperative.  Many leaders will say they have an open door policy, but are too busy to speak with their employees, or speak with them while finishing other tasks.  Leaders with good E.I. understand the importance of acting on this policy and make sure they are available to talk to employees one on one, with no distractions.

Does your organization empower  your entire workforce?
Organizations that focus on E.I. understand that at all levels, employees want to feel that they are empowered with choices, instead of being tied by policy.  This could be as simple as allowing customer facing employees leeway on how they handle a customer complaint, or a robust “suggestion box” where feedback is communicated back out to the employees who make suggestions. No one wants to feel powerless to improve their work environment.

Although there is still debate regarding how E.I. can really be measured, one thing is clear; companies that focus on Emotional Intelligence and invest employee development time around E.I. have realized a whole new level of performance. Gone are the days where there is no emotion in business; thriving organizations accept that how their employees handle their emotions directly ties to success.

These five questions were Eric’s concern while developing Writing for the Soul Workshop™, especially since our program evokes powerful emotions when its participants engage. Our core goal is using writing as therapy to help participants safely get what is on the inside… out.  And while recognizing your emotions is an important piece of E.I., it”s certainly not all of it. The role of Emotional Intelligence in personal success is one of the key reasons why we include E.I. Leadership Training from Dr. Stevie Dawn as part of certification to organizations who offer our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ programs.

Would you like to add our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component to the programs your organization already has in place? If you would like more information, please complete the contact form below. Financing is available.

 

TGIM & Texas ReEntry: Justice Reinvestment for a Better Tomorrow

TXRS LogoTGIM and Texas ReEntry Services, INC have partnered together to implement Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a realistic criminal justice  strategy that safely reduces the State’s costly reliance on incarceration– creating stronger families, less taxpayer waste, and safer communities.

TGIM developed Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a resource in direct response to the growing number of young people who are either falling through the cracks at school or are already entangled with the court system. The goal of the program is to identify youths who are going to have a turbulent transition into adulthood and offer a positive support system to avoid the pitfalls that can derail their lives. It wasn’t until recently after talking to Kay Smith, Texas ReEntry’s Director that I realized the curricula was leaving out the very nucleus in a young persons life: ADULTS.

After weeks of meetings with Kay and her Board, TGIM is pleased to announce that we’ve adapted our curriculum to now include individuals on probation and parole. Texas ReEntry allowed TGIM to come in during their Job Readiness Training to do an Information Session in an effort to expose Writing for the Soul Workshop™ to their clients to get feedback. 100% of the clients we surveyed said they would attend the program! One said he’d come even if he had to walk to get there. Here is an interview from one of their clients:

Sometimes it takes a trip to jail or even prison for a person to realize that their life has become unmanageable. By then, so much damage has been done.  As a felon, it’s hard to get a job or even a place to live.  Most commit more crimes to survive because their inability to  read and comprehend along with their criminal record makes it impossible to get and hold down a job.  The vicious cycle of doing life in prison on an installment plan (in and out of prison) begins.

These men and women need to know that their past does not define their future.  Writing for the Soul Workshop™ will offer them the same support and resources that our youth access.  Along with the Anger Management, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse Relapse Prevention, and the Job Readiness Training that Texas ReEntry offers, they have added our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ as a viable component as well. Our partnership allows Texas ReEntry clients to:

· Experience writing as therapy

· Access to counseling

· Nutritious snacks (Brain Food) to stimulate creativity while writing

· Lasting, positive friends and mentors creating an ongoing network of support

· Increased proficiency in both reading and writing

· Participants become published Authors, and can promote that skill on every future resume and job application

· Participants earn royalties based on individual book sales

· Participants establish strong accomplishments that will help with future entry into colleges and the job market

WFTSW LogoThese unique wow factors go beyond helping participants develop a love of writing; they produce long-term behavioral changes and helps participants make positive life choices. While it may seem incredible that a writing workshop can impact behavior so dramatically, Writing for the Soul Workshop™  is more than just a writing workshop, it is an opportunity for individuals to see a different perspective, to interact with others that truly care about them and their story, and to know that telling their story opens up new opportunities.
Writing for the Soul Workshop™ offers these men and women another chance to make a positive and encouraging difference in the world through their storytelling while allowing participants an opportunity to build self-worth, and learn a new trade.  After all, we all have a story to tell!  Just like youth attending Writing for the Soul Workshop™, they too will earn royalties when they share their stories for group publishing in our books and in The Writer’s Block.

Want to know more about our program or donate to Texas ReEntry to help with expenses? Use the Contact Form below for questions or click here to make your donation directly to Texas ReEntry. Texas ReEntry Services INC, is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization.

10 Reasons Why We Will Never Franchise Our Programs Part 2

Last week in Part 1 of this two part series, we talked about how many small businesses and entrepreneurs create business expansion through franchising their product or service allowing others to bear the cost of their business expansion. In Part 1, we focused on key reasons that we would never franchise our Writing for the Soul Workshop™ programs. Those reasons were based on how franchising impacts the organizations operating the franchise -from the restrictiveness of the operating procedures, to cost. This week, we’ll focus on how all of the different groups that benefit from Writing for the Soul Workshop™ would be impacted if we offered the program as a franchise instead. Last week we mentioned there are thousands of reasons that we wouldn’t franchise, each with a face and a name. How our program impacts individuals and empowers communities are the focus points for the last 5 reasons we won’t franchise our program. Continue reading “10 Reasons Why We Will Never Franchise Our Programs Part 2”