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Quote of the Week
"The primary cause of bear deaths is too much contact between bears and people due to motorized access."
- Wendy Francis  


New Girl In TownThe end of October marks the passing of National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States, closely followed by Bullying Awareness Week in Canada, which is observed from
November 13th to 19th.
Bullying Awareness Week was started in 2004 by Canadian educator Bill Belsey, and two years later, theU.S. began observing its own National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week before it became a month-long observance in 2010.
Since 2010, both campaigns have gained serious momentum, being discussed in print, broadcast, radio and online media, as well as being portrayed in several popular television series such as the hit TV musical Glee.
Other campaigns have also sprung up in order to raise awareness about the dangers of bullying, such as the It Gets Better Project, which was launched by American media pundit Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller in September 2010, in response to the ever-increasing number of teenagers who commit suicide due to being bullied for being gay.
The site,, features an ever-expanding pool of videos uploaded by users - both straight and members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered) community - sharing their stories of dealing with bullying and encouraging those watching, specifically high school teens, to remember that things will get better.
Users range from gay and straight celebrities to adults who have lived through bullying, and even kids who are currently dealing with bullying, all delivering the message that it does get better.
The message isn’t directed solely at LGBT youth, but also at any teen struggling with the daily physical and psychological torment of being bullied.
While I am glad to see the issue being discussed openly through several platforms, the fact of the matter is that talking about it and telling kids to keep their chin up alone doesn’t solve the problem.
Personally, I was bullied from such a young age that I cannot directly pinpoint the exact time when the problem started.
I was overweight, awkward, geeky, emotional, strange, loud, lived in a small house in the wrong part of town, didn’t wear top brand clothing, and my family didn’t have a lot of money.
All of these things provided the ammunition necessary to evoke an onslaught of bullying and name-calling by not only kids my age, but also those younger and older than me.

My peers would tell me I was fat, ugly, poor, weird, a nerd, a crybaby, that I danced “like an idiot” or anything else they could tear me apart for.
In elementary school, the worst perpetrators of my emotional torment were a small group of boys three years older than me, and a girl one year older and about 30 pounds heavier than me, all of whom focused their energy on ridiculing me about my weight.
In high school, it was a group of guys from my class - one of whom I had grown up with and three who had transferred to my school in Grade 10 - who again focused on my weight.
Being tormented by males for more than a decade has affected me in countless ways, even causing me to feel threatened and anxious whenever I encounter men I do not know, especially in groups.
Yes, I will be the first to say that it really and truly does get better – so, so much better – after high school, once you figure out who you are and where your interests lie and surround yourself with like-minded individuals, but the affects of ongoing bullying do stay with you.
Moreover, talking about bullying and being told that things will get better can only help so much.
It might give a kid hope and reassurance, but it doesn’t stop the problem.
Bullying Awareness Week and the It Gets Better Project wouldn’t have helped me in my adolescence.
The only thing that will really help kids is stopping the bullying and reprimanding kids who do it.
It starts with educating children and helping to ensure they are the kind of people who know that bullying is wrong, but when that fails, the problem can’t just be ignored.
We’re talking about it more and more, but at the same time, roughly 300 Canadian teens continue to take their own lives every year.
The fault lies not only with the bullies, but also with those being bullied who do not speak up.
I didn’t speak up; I didn’t tell my parents what was happening to me, for fear of further backlash from my tormenters if I did.
Instead, I cried, I hated myself, and I hated my life. I was angry and sad for years, but I didn’t have to be.
The only way to really stop bullying is for kids who are being bullied and those who witness others being bullied to talk to their teachers and parents, and for those people to ensure the problem is properly dealt with.
Kids, if there is a problem, talk to your parents. Parents, teach your kids not to be bullies, and if they are, don’t ignore it. Just talking about a problem doesn’t make it go away, but correcting it might.

Love, Kimberley

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