Thursday, 29 December 2016

Middle School Students Help End Bullying

West Valley middle school students involved in the Peer Assistance Leadership (PAL) program got donations of laundry detergent, body wash, deodorant and related items for students who endure bullying because of body odor. The project provided access to clean clothes and toiletries for these students.

Personal Hygiene Related to Bullying

Participants in PAL, a Catholic Charities North Star Youth Partnership program, are trained in the peer helping model, which includes communication, group dynamics, active listening and problem-solving. The PAL group also does community service and provides volunteer hours to help others. These tweens and early teens identified body-odor related bullying as a problem in their community and wanted to help solve it.  Body-odor bullying often happens for teens who often come from families living on lower incomes.

"As many as one in five students have limited access to clean clothes, because their families don’t own washer/dryers (or can’t afford the electricity to run them), have limited access to laundromats, or can’t afford detergent or body soap. Many stay home rather than deal with the embarrassment or the bullies who single them out for hygiene issues beyond their control," says Christine Williams, health educator.

PAL Students Coordinate Donation

PAL students got a plan together and then started on communicating what items they needed.

These kids gathered:

  • Laundry detergent/dryer sheets
  • Deodorant/body wash/soap/shampoo
  • Loofahs/washcloths/sponges

Williams spoke with teachers and counselors at the schools and learned this issue is bigger than they first thought.

PAL participants identified two campuses where this problem is particularly prevalent, K-8 schools in Phoenix and Glendale, and organized an effort to reach out to the community for donations of the supplies or gift cards to purchase items. The campaign was a success with hundreds of items purchased and distributed to the schools. It was a great step in working to reduce bullying in Arizona schools. 


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