On Monday, January 14th at Parkland Elementary, 75 grade 5-7 students from Parkland, Devereaux and McLeod Schools took part in the ?Dare To Care? Program. Also participating were sixteen adult volunteers and two facilitators, Dwayne Peace and Lisa Dixon-Wells.

The ?Dare to Care? Program is an all-inclusive, school-wide approach to deal with bullying and challenges within the school community.

Research has shown bullying is at its peak in Grades 5 through 8. Dare to Care was a student day for this age group. Their new initiative, Take the T.I.M.E., is a combination of assembly presentations, small group activities, games and larger group discussions. Through the levels of activities, students began to understand the damage bullying, cliques, peer pressure, racism, and oppression can cause individuals and communities.

What does T.I.M.E mean?

TRUTH – being honest and respectful 100% of the time even if doing the right thing (being truthful) is the hardest decision to make.

INTEGRITY being looked upon by others as being truthful, trustworthy and reliable.

MOBILIZATION noticing what is going on around you and doing something to make it better (one person does make a difference).

EMPATHY the willingness to put yourself in someone else?s position to understand how they feel in any situation (bullying, isolation, peer pressure).

The goal of the Dare to Care program is to get students into action. The Take the T.I.M.E. Day provided several ways for students to talk about their fears and why they remain silent in bullying situations.

Throughout the day, students discovered their strength is in numbers, and they have the power to make huge changes in their school climate. Students, teachers, and parents were shown how to shift the balance of power to create the school of their dreams. This was a closed-door session with no bell or other interruptions.

This Take the T.I.M.E. Day is one of our main initiatives to support Parkland?s 3rd school goal (to continue to foster a positive community atmosphere in the school).

The day was a success in many ways. There were fun, team building activities, hugs, and acts of forgiveness and kindness. At the end of the day, students identifed ways they would start making a difference in their own lives and the lives of others. I would like to thank the teachers, parents and district staff for volunteering.

Note: Improving social responsibility has been an on-going focus in the school district.. The Dare to Care Program, out of Calgary, has been an initiative for four years. Most of our elementary schools and all of our secondary schools have been involved. The Challenge Day Program, out of California, has also been a district initiative at all our middle and secondary schools. Our SD 59 students have had presentations on life challenges, truth about drugs, how to be ?bully aware? and/or have participated in Challenge Days.

For more information about Dare to Care and the Take the T.I.M.E day, visit their website, www.daretocare.ca. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me, Diana Lindstrom, Principal, at Parkland, (250) 843-7777.