The phrase ABC has taken on an additional meeting for a therapy group helping residents across Horry and Georgetown counties.
A Piece of Mind Counseling & Consulting, a firm based in Murrells Inlet, has launched its “Abolish Bullying Campaign” (www.abolishbullyingcampaign.org). Even though local schools are out until later August, the message and awareness about preventing and stopping bullying – and breaking that cycle – goes on year-round.
This group also has a poster contest for youth through age 18 to express their ideas on getting more of the message out, and entries are accepted through month’s end. The winner’s artwork will be used in marketing on two websites, eight social media campaigns, T-shirts, posters and other avenues of awareness.
Amie Hayes, who handles marketing for A Piece of Mind (www.apieceofmindcounseling.com), spoke about the ABC initiative, begun “just in the last couple of months.” She said the firm’s owner, Amy Cantley, heading a crew of counseling for people of all ages, wanted to bring anti-bullying efforts into the spotlight, through means such as the poster art contest and monthly meetings at which the public is welcome – the next gathering is 5 p.m. July 27 at The Karate Studio of Myrtle Beach, 3260 Holmestown Road, Suite 3, in the Burgess community.
Planning continues on other outings, Hayes said, such as a back-to-school event, and with donations from local businesses, and for the poster contest, “a lot of teachers we know … are helping us spread the word as well.”
Other insight shared by Hayes included how effects from bullying can last deep into a person’s lifetime, hence the urgency to act as soon as possible for anyone needing help.
Question | How does a poster contest inviting children’s input help promote a positive way of “promoting the ABCs of breaking the bullying cycle”?
Answer | There are a lot of places around town that do summer activities for children, … and we have a lot of children going through here every day. … We have pretty talented kids in the area, and the winning art for the anti-bullying poster contest will go in all sorts of places, including T-shirts, and we will let it be the face of it.
Q. | What are some aspects of bullying that need more magnification for better understanding?
A. | When people think about bullying, they think about children, but it affects all ages. People get bullied at work and at home; it doesn’t just happen on the playground. As adults, we kind of experience it, especially from somebody being mean. … Being in the counseling field, we deal with all types of people from different backgrounds … We have found in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, bullying happens to them as kids and pretty much continues into adulthood. The bullying behavior can be corrected, so it doesn’t turn into a lifelong pattern.
Q. | Has help and awareness about bullying and its negative effects gotten more immediate, accessible and streamlined with increased publicity in recent years, especially in schools and beyond?
A. | We don’t want to label a child as a bully. Instead of putting a label on a person, you just really want to educate a person what that behavior is, how it negatively affects somebody and maybe what caused them in their life to become a bully. We really think education is the tool, and the safest way to step in and help somebody. … We’re here so someone has a safe place to come to. … Sometimes the thinking in kids is they’ll get in trouble for being a tattletale, or they’ll be seen as weak; we see them as strong.
Q. | What trends have been detected in monitoring bullying and reacting constructively to the problem?
A. | Probably when you and I were younger, it just happened on the playground, and when you went home, it was over. Today, though, kids have so much electronics and communications access, and bullying doesn’t end when they get home; it doesn’t stop. It’s become so much more than just one kid on the playground, and it can become a social media campaign, with belittling kids because they’re gay, overweight, poor, have low grades or whatever, and it’s unnecessary.
Q. | Amid the constant need for people’s help in coping with bullying, and with kind helpers who never give up on reversing its ramifications, how do counselors stay upbeat and positive to continue the quest and make a lasting difference?
A. | In counseling, you see everything possible from every spectrum. We see things improving. The person who walks in with a frown on their face leaves with a smile. We have a little saying around here: “The pain of changing is less than the pain of staying the same,” and we believe that.
Contact STEVE PALISIN at 444-1764.
Submit art entries
What | Poster contest for “Abolish Bullying Campaign” (www.abolishbullyingcampaign.org)
By | Anyone through age 18
How much | Free
Deadline | July 31 at:
▪ A Piece of Mind Counseling & Consulting, 3938 U.S. 17 Bypass S., Murrells Inlet, S.C. 29576
▪ Email to email@example.com
More information | From A Piece of Mind: