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October 31, 2013

Spirited effort: New anti-bullying group launches efforts with Halloween party

NEW CASTLE — Halloween is a scary time of year all in the name of fun. But children shouldn’t be frightened on a regular basis.

A new community-wide group — Let’s Make a Difference — has been established to address the issues of bullying.

Tuesday night was the group’s kick-off, and a chance for more than 50 kids to meet one another and have a good time during a Halloween party. And amidst the scary, funny and off-the-wall costumes, teal T-shirts with the logo “Let’s Make a Difference” were dominant.

Those shirts were worn by volunteers who want to help make a difference in the lives of a bullied victim — some of whom are parents — because teal is the color that represents anti-bullying.

Forming the group was the idea of Brandi Ford of Scott Township and the co-founder is Stefanie Monstwil of Union Township.

“We as a community feel if we could touch the life of one individual, the purpose of our program was a success,” Ford said. “We want to help these kids become strong individuals and help them realize their self worth. The stories we have heard have really touched my heart and it has opened my eyes to how major the issues of bullying really are.”

Monstwil said some of the short-term goals are to get the word out and educate about bullying.

“We’re here to advocate for those being bullied or those dealing with the repercussions of bullying,” Montstwil pointed out. “We want children to know there is a group of people that care and understand.”

Long-term goals include having active partnerships with all the schools in the area to support anti-bullying initiatives.

Let’s Make A Difference will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month at Highland Presbyterian Church on Highland Avenue. Sessions will include features such as self-defense classes and self-esteem workshops.

The social activities will help establish friendships and a support network between children who are or have been victims of bullying, Monstwil noted.

Ford added she has received support from organizations in the community that deal with mental health issues and those associations are offering their services for future programs.

“We know bullying won’t stop but we want to lets kids know they’re not alone while the community is behind them.”

(Email: lhudson@ncnewsonline.com.)

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