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1 On 1 Mentoring teams with school system for Upstander event to put an end to bullying

In honor of America’s Safe Schools Week and in recognition of National Say Something Week, students from Hutto Middle School and Bainbridge Middle School attended a 1 On 1 Mentoring program ‘Upstander’ event in the Bainbridge Coliseum lobby on Friday.

An Upstander is a person who stands up for what is right, does their best to help support and protect someone who is being hurt and says something to a trusted adult to protect a friend from hurting themselves or others.

A room full of students were challenged to be Upstanders by Bainbridge track coaches Larry Cosby and Tandria Phillips.

Cosby and Phillips both agreed that being a coach is an important position for building strong relationships with students who might get bullied.

“Sometimes (coaches are) their safe net, they know it’s safe enough to talk to a coach about their problems, share things going on with them,” Phillips said. “I think it’s important as a coach that we build those relationships with the kids.”

The coaches integrated track metaphors throughout the presentation. In relay races, each member of the relay team is as important as the next to ensure a successful race. In life, students are encouraged to be inclusive and pass along positivity.

Videos on bullying and how to handle it in its most common forms—mental, physical and cyber—helped give the students a visual on what to watch for when another peer is bullied and how to stand up for others.

1 On 1 Mentoring program coordinator Alesia Brinson said she hopes that the Upstander event made a difference.

“In today’s high-tech world, students are exposed to so much information,” Brinson said. “1 On 1 Mentoring wants all students to be equipped to accept others, regardless of their differences. Safe schools are critical to learning and are a key initiative in the Georgia Department of Education’s Strategic Plan to provide safe, healthy and positive learning climates.”

To cap off the event, students and teachers stepped outside to spell “HELLO” in the parking lot at the Bainbridge Memorial Coliseum. Sometimes saying “hello” is all it takes to make someone’s day.