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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand

The Situation: 

The majority of young people, especially at the secondary level, do not report bullying or harassment to adults. This is likely because they want to be able to resolve these situations on their own or they do not trust adults to make things better. The majority of these hurtful situations occur in the presence of other young people, not adults. This is especially true when young people use digital technologies. We need to help young people learn effective skills.

The majority of young people think that those who engage in bullying are “popular.” This is an assessment of the social status of these young people in the eyes of other young people. But young people do not personally like to see bullying behavior and do not admire those who are hurtful. Thus, there is a significant misperception of the actual norms. When young people recognize the accurate norms, bullying will decrease and positive peer intervention will increase.

Many young people would like to help when they see someone being hurtful. When young people do intervene, they are often successful in getting the hurtful situations to stop. Bullied young people who have supportive friends experience less distress. Young people highly admire those who step in to help. But when bullying situations do occur, most young people do not step in to help. We often tell young people they should speak up to stop bullying. Publicly confronting someone engaged in bullying presents major risks of retaliation or humiliation. To increase positive peer intervention requires helping young people gain safe and effective skills and emphasizing their peer's admiration of those who step in to help.

Many young people engage in bullying to gain social status, by demonstrating their power over those who are "different." Other young people are lashing back because they have been treated badly. These young people need assistance in stopping & making things right.

Young people who are bullied, especially chronically, often present themselves as lacking self-confidence and personal power. These young people can suffer long term emotional harms. When these young people have connections with supportive others, focus on positive activities and future opportunities, and gain self-confidence in presenting themselves and responding to hurtful situations, they can become positive and powerful.


Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand is a thoroughly research-grounded, youth-led program for pre-teens and teens, promotes positive norms and teaches effective skills to increase positive peer intervention, restoration of hurtful incidents, and resiliency. Young people are taught to:
  • Reach Out. Reach out to be kind to a person being hurt or help friends resolve conflict.
  • Say, “Stop.” Safely tell a person being hurtful to stop in private or publicly.
  • Report Concerns. Tell an adult who can help about situations that are serious.
  • Stop & Make Things Right. Stop yourself from being hurtful and make things right if you were.
  • Be Positive & Powerful. Reduce the potential others will be hurtful to you and respond effectively if someone is.
The program has been designed to be used in schools and a wide range of youth organizations, including after-school programs, youth clubs, religious organizations, and summer camps.

This program includes:
  • A reproducible booklet, optional survey, and slideshow and other resources for students that covers the five Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand relationship skills. These resources are designed to foster student empowerment and leadership.
  • An Implementation Guide for educators that provides insight on how to implement the program and outlines the research upon which this program is based.
The Introductory Price for this program $1.00/number of young people typically within the school or organization. Primary program resources can be previewed prior to purchase.

This document provides a brief outline of the approach taken in Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand.

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