Saba – Zelfs in een kleine, hechte gemeenschap als die van Saba neemt pestgedrag onder scholieren problematische vormen aan. “Toen we een klas vroegen wie er last had van pesten, stak bijna iedereen zijn hand op”, zegt Rayann Ramdin van de afdeling Community Development en coördinator van de vrijdag afgesloten week tegen het pesten.
Saba’s Sacred Heart School hosted an anti-bullying week From Monday, March 15 through Friday, March 19 for all classes, facilitated by the Mentorship Program participants. Bullying is on the rise now within today’s youth. In some instances, it can result in some dire consequences, which makes it a concerning matter for the parents and educational institutions, and on Saba, this is no different.
During the week, the Mentorship coordinators assigned mentors and his/her mentee to a class to raise awareness about bullying, educate the children on why it is important to be kind to one another and talk about the effects of bullying on another person. The sessions were also to motivate the teachers who often have to deal with bullying at school.
“The mentorship program has been a positive learning experience for me not only as a professional but also as a mother. It has definitely helped me to understand teenagers a little better and how to work with them. One of our mentor assignments was to give a short presentation on anti-bullying to grade 1 at Sacred Heart School,” said mentor Rosa Johnson.
“Together with another mentor/mentee, the four of us teamed up and brainstormed a fun way to teach kids that bullying is not right. We showed them a quick video on Captain McFinn anti-bullying, and we also asked them to sign and stamp their names in a pledge against bullying. Grade 1 was a great class to share this information with as most kids recognized bullying and that it was the right way to treat fellow classmates or friends,” said Johnson.
“Bullying is a serious and ongoing concern. Especially at the primary school level,” said Mentorship Program coordinator Rayann Ramdin of the Community Development Department. “On Monday, when we went to one class, and we asked who was experiencing bullying, almost the entire class raised their hand. It is definitely alarming, so we’ve decided to pay some attention and lend our resources.” The children are responding well to the anti-bullying project. “Children tend to respond positively to a new approach, to new faces and a new activity,” said Ramdin.
The Mentorship Program, a joint initiative of the Community Development Department of the Public Entity Saba and the Saba Comprehensive School (SCS), started in September last year. In August last year, 11 mentors received training. Each mentor has one mentee between the ages of 12 and 16. The program’s first cycle will be closed off at the end of this month. About the program, Rosa Johnson said: “I am thankful and grateful for the past six months of this mentorship program, not only for the relationship I’ve been able to build with my mentee, but also I’ve learned more about myself in the process.”
The Christmas community project in December last year was another successful project of the Mentorship program where each mentor and mentee got a different assignment: baking cookies for police officers, volunteering at the daycare, organizing activities at the primary school, presenting tokens of appreciation to firemen and women, giving inspirational candy canes to random people in the street. “We are committed to making a positive impact in the community, contributing in our own small way. And since the school is an important part of the community, we decided to close off our program with the anti-bullying project, which we hope will have a positive impact on the children, their teachers, and parents,” said Ramdin.