National Bullying Speaker to Visit Axtell Community School

On January 17, 2019, author Tom Thelen will speak to the students at Axtell Community School. Also attending will be students from Wilcox-Hildreth. Thelen is the founder of the Victimproof Bullying Prevention Program, a curriculum that helps kids speak up to bullying and become a positive influence at their school. “A new study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that 30% of sixth graders experience bullying on a regular basis,” said Thelen “And by the time they reach 12th grade, that number is reduced to 15%, which is still way too high,” he said. “If we’re ever going to reduce bullying, we have to give kids practical skills for how to handle it and how to get help.”

As one of America’s top youth motivational speakers, Tom Thelen has spoken at over 500 schools, colleges, and youth organizations. His message helps schools create a positive culture and shows students how to “be the change.” Thelen has been featured on FOX, CBS, PBS, The National Association of Student Councils, The National Honor Society, as well as Student Conferences for 4-H, FFA, FCCLA, and YMCA.

In his book, Victimproof – The Student’s Guide to End Bullying, Thelen states, “You can’t control whether or not you get bullied, but you can control whether or not you become a victim.” As a student, Thelen was bullied and he got caught in a cycle of victimization. Thankfully one teacher stepped in and helped him develop the character needed to break free from bullying. “It was a total change of mindset,” said Thelen. “I used to carry grudges with anyone who would bully me, but I learned that bitterness was only bringing me down. The thing that changed my life was realizing that my response was totally up to me, and even if I was victimized, I didn’t have to stay a victim forever.”

It’s a message that empowers students to speak up for themselves and for others. Thelen’s follow up curriculum at victimproof.org includes 30 short video lessons along with a Teacher’s Guide with lesson plans for each video. “My video lessons go way beyond the typical ‘Don’t be a bully message,’” said Thelen. “Kids have heard that message many times, and it’s a good message, but they need to be taught the principles that help prevent bullying in the first place. Thing like respect, responsibility, and resiliency.” He went on to describe how resiliency helps students bounce back from bullying. “It may have hurt you in the past, and that’s real, but when you talk it out with a trusted adult you learn how to break free. For me, when I let go of the bitterness, bullying let go of me. I discovered that even if someone else went out of control, I could stay in control,” said Thelen. The Victimproof Bullying Prevention Program that Thelen founded encourages students to work through the pain of bullying by talking to a trusted adult, and then to speak up against bullying whenever they see it happen to someone else. It’s a message every student should hear. Learn more about Anti-Bullying Speaker Tom Thelen on his website at tomthelen.com.

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