Santa Maria Sun / School Scene
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 22
YMCA workshop is good for the soul
Children participating in camps at the Santa Maria Valley YMCA were recently treated to a special anti-bullying program sponsored by the Y, the Boys and Girls Club, Santa Maria nonprofit WonHeart, and Oakland-based nonprofit Soul Shoppe.
Boys and girls in kindergarten through sixth grade started the day with an exercise in which they each wore pieces of paper on their foreheads with numbers designating popularity. Numbers 1 through 3 were losers and the children were asked to stay away from whoever had those cards, 4 through 7 were mediocre, and 8 through 10 were the most popular.
“Kids began to open up about their feelings, and this happened within 30 minutes. It was amazing to watch them be there for one another,” WonHeart founder Joelyn Lutz said.
The purpose of the workshop was to help kids put a stop to bullying at school.
“I help the kids understand there’s no such thing as a bully. Kids who are bullying just need help. We’re teaching them to say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and to help each other,” Soul Shoppe instructor Asher Lyons said.
Lutz said she brought Soul Shoppe to the Central Coast to provide children an opportunity to heal. The children were also asked to make commitments to each other if they ever witness bullying at school.
“We ask them, ‘How will you help this person feel better?’ And they make commitments, saying, ‘If I see this happening at school, I’ll tell them to stop, or I’ll eat lunch with you if you’re sitting alone. I’ll be your friend,’” Lyons said.
Lutz is planning another event for parents on Sept. 18 during Santa Maria’s annual Peace Week. The forum is called “From Bully to Peacemaker,” and will give parents the tools they need to communicate with their children. It will run from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Shepard Hall at the Santa Maria Public Library.
“I want to rally parents to say, ‘Our children deserve this. They deserve to live happy, healthy lives,’” Lutz said.
For more information, or to donate, visit wonheartinfo.org.
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