New York, NY, September 07, 2007 --(PR.com
)-- A new empowering program, Bully Busters Boot Camp™, has been launched to help children cope with the taunting, teasing and harassment they experience in school, on the bus, and through cyber-bullying. The hands-on role-playing workshop, the first-of-its-kind in the nation, is a grassroots effort begun in New York’s Westchester County that is now preparing to become a national program. “We want to help kids everywhere,” said Gary Gione, the retired and highly decorated NYPD Lieutenant who developed the program along with partners, Lorraine Santoli, a former Disney marketing executive, and her brother, Robert Santoli, whose own son had been the target of unrelenting bullying.
As Gione is keenly aware based on his 20-year history with the NYPD, bullies are often considered “little criminals.” According to a study by George Washington University, by the age of twenty-four, two-thirds of all bullies who were bullies in school have been convicted of three of more crimes, often violent crimes, and had already done time in prison. “Bullying has become a problem of epidemic proportions,” said Gione. “Statistics show that one out of four kids is bullied, a significant number of children miss one day of class a month for fear of bullies and over 100,000 young people carry a gun to school in this country… that is frightening.”
Created independent of schools, Bully Busters Boot Camp™ is a six-week, one-hour weekly program for kids. Parents are invited to attend and participate as well and at no cost. “We encourage parents to be present to better understand their child’s issues while opening the door to a dialogue with them,” said BBBC partner Lorraine Santoli. “Kids are often embarrassed to discuss being bullied with their moms and dads plus it also fosters positive parental reinforcement at home.”
Bully Busters Boot Camp™ is targeted to seven to fourteen-year old kids in elementary and middle school, the years where bullying behavior peaks. Gione is the primary instructor teaching non-combative, unconventional “street smart” tactics to outsmart and out-think the bully. Strategies are illustrated through interactive role-playing, body language techniques, and deductive reasoning. Self-esteem and confidence building methods are also incorporated along with Pressure Point maneuvers, a non-violent but effective “touch” response if physically confronted by a bully.
In addition to playing-out specific situations based on classroom input, the scenarios are videotaped for discussion so the victimized kids can see how such things as posture and voice inflection makes them an easy target for perpetrators. Videotaped classroom lessons will then appear on the Bully Busters Boot Camp™ website, www.bullybustersbootcamp.com, so that children around the world can learn to stand up to their own bullies through the website’s subscription based workshop (coming soon on the website). Special programs for schools, children’s groups, and other organizations are also available.
“We hope this program spreads across the country,” said Gione. “It’s much needed. We want victimized kids to know that they can stand up to bullies; they don’t have to take it.” Bully Busters Boot Camp™ is now reaching out to groups and individuals across the nation who are interested in implementing the highly effective program in their own communities. For more information, contact Lorraine Santoli at LSantoli@mac.com.
Contact: Lorraine Santoli