Anti-bullying program in schools

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Addressing issues of inclusion, bullying, and building connections and understanding between teens and their peers is the focus of United for Change, a program started at Mark Morris High School by Travis Ruhter, Washington State’s Leadership Teacher of the Year in 2013. The program has since expanded to high schools throughout the county. The program is comprised of three components: Make the Change, a one day seminar; Be the Change, a three day weekend retreat; and Live the Change, an ongoing follow up and mentoring program. Goals of the program include: addressing personal identity, developing leadership and organizational skills, developing empathy and sensitivity to others, developing skills to avoid and stop bullying, identifying areas of need for teens in the community, and learning how to impact other positively. According to Ruhter, all aspects of the program focus on creating relationships, mentoring and teaching students to take charge of their future and surroundings and believing that each person can make a difference in their community and in the life of others.