Carmel Magazine

Carmel Magazine, spring 2018

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cerned when he discovered the kids at his school were not feeling safe. "Two years ago, we assessed all of our students…" he says. "Most of our students were not reporting bullying, but they had fear of being bullied." Harmony at Home brought the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program to the school and also implemented a buddy bench for students. Kids who felt left out were invited to sit on the bench at recess and all the children were trained to approach a child and invite them to play. "We weren't sure it would work," Hays says. "A group of student council members went out and tested it themselves and within a few min- utes it was working." The anti-bullying program uses positive behavioral intervention systems to provide plans for altering behaviors, and is inclusive, rather than just using consequences and punishments. "Academically we are preparing our kids for the 21st century," Hays says. "They need to be able to communicate and collaborate and be critical thinkers, and they need to be positive cit- izens as well. We reach out and support each other and work together not just on academics but on wellness. Olweus is amazing and has transformed our school into a much more pos- itive and happier place." _____________________________________ Savannah Alvarez started individual counsel- ing with Julianne Leavy as a teenager on her grandfather's advice. "I had a very, very rough childhood," Alvarez shares. "I had a dysfunctional family: When I was 16, my mom was on drugs and she had just come back from rehab. I was acting out. My stepdad was really abusive, and I was also sexu- ally assaulted [by someone else.] I didn't have any coping skills, except negative ones. I saw the C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • W I N T E R 2 0 1 8 209 Monterey Park Elementary School Principal Brian Hays works with students to help them understand that bullying is an imbalance of power. "Our motto is to stand up, stand together and stand strong," he says.

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