October is National Bullying Prevention Month. One of our missions at Wayside Waifs is to stop the cycle of violence towards people and animals! One of the main ways we use our voice at Wayside Waifs is by reaching out to the students in our community through our Humane Education program. Bullying is something students face on a regular basis. If Wayside can get students to start developing empathy at an early age, we can make progress towards disrupting that cycle of violence.
Our relationship with animals plays a huge part in this as well. We know that people who hurt animals often hurt people as well. Also, animals gain students’ interest and attention. Affection for animals helps students understand how our actions affect those animals and the people around them as well. The connection between animals and students results in positive reinforcement.
Responsibility is the first Core Value we teach as part of the program.
Responsibility is the foundation for all of our lessons. We have re-framed how we think of responsibility at Wayside Waifs. Instead of focusing on all of the things we have to do, we think about what the end result is. We help the students learn that when we “do what we are supposed to do whether we feel like it or not,” we can create peace. Each one of us are powerful individuals and our actions have the power to help create peace – or to create violence.
We talk about what responsibility looks like, feels like, and sounds like in our daily lives. Most importantly, we talk about the areas in which we don’t feel peaceful (when the greatest amount of bullying occurs) and what actions we can take to help transition to a feeling of peace. Animals play a big part in our own internal peace. They are instant stress relievers and companions. At Wayside our humane education animals stimulate positive thinking in the students and they also bring peace to the school setting! We use the voice of animals to create a better connection with students and the issues that occur in their own personal lives.
Wayside Waifs wants readers of this blog to share their own representation of responsibility. Think about the things you do on a daily basis and how have you tried to create peace in those situations. No matter how big or small an issue is, it is important to take responsibility when conflicts arise. Take initiative and share your stories of responsibility with us. We love to see our community come together and advocate for peace!
You can download a selfie signs on our website here.
By: Emme Moorehouse and Ashley Stanley