Awareness efforts, events will take place throughout spring months
The Buffalo Sabres have announced a new campaign aimed at preventing bullying by educating and spreading awareness of its harmful effects to children and young adults in Western New York. The campaign, which is a partnership between the Sabres and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children/New York Regional Office, is comprised of a series of anti-bullying videos featuring Sabres players, and two educational events in April and May that will further spread the anti-bullying message of the campaign.
"In hockey, two of the most important things to emphasize are teamwork and good character," said Buffalo Sabres President Ted Black. "It is our hope that, through working as a team with NCMEC/NY and school districts throughout Western New York, we will be able to shed more light on bullying and how to better prevent it among today's youth."
The anti-bullying video series will be distributed to area school districts, including Williamsville, Orchard Park, Amherst, Lancaster, Kenmore, Clarence and the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts, where it will be shown to students at the middle- and high-school grade levels. The series of four videos features Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller, forwards Pat Kaleta and Nathan Gerbe, and defenseman Tyler Myers. School districts not included in the original video release can request the video series by contacting Kathy Gust, program director of the NCMEC/NY, at 716-842-6333, ext. 7021.
"We are very excited to partner with the Buffalo Sabres on this important initiative of bullying prevention and online safety," said Ed Suk, executive director NCMEC/NY. "This multifaceted approach to raising awareness is designed to reach thousands of children across the Western New York area, providing children and the adults in their lives with usable information and skills to prevent victimization."
The first event supporting the campaign, "Peer Training Day," will take place at First Niagara Center on Friday, April 12, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Local middle- and high-school students will spend the day with NCMEC staff being trained as peer mentors to tackle the major issues of bullying. The objectives of the training will be to learn about the resources of NCMEC, provide an overview of bullying issues in the real world and online, and to learn how to prepare and present "NetSmartz" activities to fellow classmates at their school.
Research has shown that peer-to-peer teaching is one of the most effective means for learning. The peer trainings are a teacher-guided process that promotes skill-based learning. These activities are designed to strengthen students' skills of decision-making, communication and advocacy.
The campaign's second event, "Band Against Bullying," will take place on May 14 at the University at Buffalo's Center for the Arts, beginning at 7 p.m. The event, hosted by Kiss 98.5 radio personality Janet Snyder, seeks to raise community awareness of bullying-related issues and to raise support of anti-bullying legislation, education, and other related efforts, through an inter-school arts competition related to the theme of "Dignity."
Over the past few months, each participating school has hosted band auditions and/or competitions within their own school. These acts are related to the theme of "Dignity" and incorporate all forms of the arts. The final act chosen at each school will move on to the final competition, which will be held at the event on May 14. More details on the event can be found at www.NYBandAgainstBullying.org.