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Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!
By Genet Berhane

A national anti-bullying campaign has begun, and anyone can get involved. The program is called Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!

Organizations across the country have partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau to support this program, making this campaign the largest government-organized effort to stop bullying. There's plenty of research, resources, and tips on ways to prevent bullying, and ways to respond when you find yourself being bullied.

Just because there's a long list of organizations participating, it doesn't mean that adults are the only ones who shaped this campaign. The adults who worked to develop this program knew how important it was to get kids involved. After all, young people are the ones who see bullying happen on a daily basis. For this reason, a Youth Expert Panel was created, made up of a group of 9- to13-year-olds. There were also some older teenagers involved, who gave advice on how their peer group could help younger kids deal with bullying.

What sort of contributions did these kids make to the program? You name it! From sharing their own personal stories of the effects of bullying to helping name the campaign, the input of these kids was always taken into consideration. They recommended ways that adults could help situations, and made suggestions about storylines and characters in the Web episodes of Take a Stand. Lend a Hand. Stop Bullying Now!

Stop Bullying Now

The campaign site has a combination of fun activities and important information. It takes you through the basics of bullying: what it is, signs that you may be bullying someone, and ways it can affect others. There's information on what to do if you're a victim, a bystander (a person who witnesses something), or even if you're the one bullying others.

There are fun games and puzzles you can play, or you can check out an animated "webisode" featuring a diverse cast of characters. You can even vote in a poll to see how your views compare to other kids around the country.

Does your school or community have a program to deal with bullying and its effects? If so, write about it, and your hometown could be featured on the Web site.

There's plenty of information on the site for adults, too. Parents, teachers, and any adult who wants to make a difference can access information with tips on how they can help.

Visit www.stopbullyingnow.org to check out fun activities, and learn more about what you can do to stop bullying now!

See what Matt Cavedon, one of the members of the Youth Expert Panel, had to say to Scholastic News Online about bullying.