This month, national Bullying Awareness Week runs from November 12 to 17, and to honour it this year SaskTel is dedicating the entire month of November as “I Am Stronger Month.”
Since its inception in 2013, the I Am Stronger program encourages Saskatchewan’s youth to stand up against cyber-bullying activities. By offering education about cyber safety and how bullying affects us SaskTel hopes to help eliminate harassing and belittling behaviour throughout our online communities.
“All of our province’s youth deserve to feel safe at school and online,” Deputy Premier and Minister of Education, Gordon Wyant said. “The Government of Saskatchewan is proud to unite with SaskTel and the I Am Stronger program to help young people take charge of their online footprint and feel empowered.”
Partnered with the Ministry of Education, I Am Stronger also provides grants up to $1,000 for youth-led initiatives that promote kindness online and address the underlying issues of bullying.
“We want to empower the young people of our province to take their ideas and turn them into real results that can influence others to be kind online,” said Acting CEO and President of SaskTel, Doug Burnett. “If youth are given the opportunity to make these ideas a reality, we believe change can happen.”
Greenall School in Balgonie recently received a grant for their school’s outdoor school (ODS) program which promotes kindness to people and the environment through the ODS Kindness group.
To celebrate their bullying prevention efforts, Greenall School will host the third annual I Am Stronger rally, making it the first rural school to host the event. The rally will be held on November 14 and features guest speaker Katia Hildebrandt, PhD candidate and instructor at the University of Regina specializing in digital citizenship and what it takes to practice safe responsible and legal use of technology.
Katia says, “One of the complexities of cyberbullying is that it occurs in digital spaces that many people of all ages are still struggling to navigate. One in five teenagers now report being victimized online. That said, it often falls to young people not just to be responsible digital citizens but also to take up a leadership role in online spaces by standing up to cyberbullying and initiating positive digital change.”
To-date, the I Am Stronger program has awarded over $64,000 in grants across the province to support youth-led kindness and bullying prevention initiatives.
Each week in November, SaskTel will post a new Community Story highlighting the successes of the I Am Stronger program and the creative initiatives that past grant recipients have done to encourage kindness in their community.
For more information about the I Am Stronger program, visit: www.iamstronger.ca.