The Guardian Angels held their first graduation of their new program, “Stomp the Bullying” on Friday, September 16, 2011 in Bradford, Pa. The program was created by Guardian Angels, Sean P. Kelley and Michael Miller. Kelley came up with the concept to take an active approach to the bullying epidemic our society is facing, and Miller designed the program manual and was the first person to run the 3 month program leading to the first graduation.
Twelve students ranging from ages 7-15 became the first graduates of the program after twelve one – hour sessions at Miller’s Kenpo Karate Dojo, and became Junior Angels. “Stomp the Bullying” is an educational course that creates Junior Angels and it focuses on five key elements: the Guardian Angels (Junior Angels); leadership; community service; bullying; and verbal, mental, and physical self-defense. Each session includes an education portion – like a school setting, which focuses on one or more of the five key elements, and a physical portion, where the students work on the physical self-defense.
The primary focus of the program is bullying, however, where the students learn how not to become a bully, the different forms of bullying (physical, verbal, emotional, and cyber), the risk factors, common myths, statistics, how to avoid becoming a target, how to recognize the signs of bullying, the 3 t-steps to verbal harassment, the rules of engagement, and what to do if you see somebody getting bullied.
Miller’s Kenpo Karate Dojo is the East Coast Headquarters for the program and Miller is in charge of teaching other Guardian Angel members how to implement the program. Aside from Miller, Kelley was present for the graduation as well as Pennsylvania Regional Directors Scott Koppenhofer and Jason Weston, both based out of Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
“Stomp the Bullying graduation was a huge success and had a great turn out considering the small population of Bradford, Pa,” Koppenhofer explained. “This goes to show bullying is a concern in all size communities. I have a personal interest in this program considering I was a victim of bullying from middle school through high school. The military, martial arts and the Guardian Angels empowered me not to be a victim anymore.”
The program is now currently being implemented in Pottstown, Pa through Pottstown Shotokan Karate/Crossfit under the direction of Rob Mathews, the Guardian Angels chapter leader in Pottstown. He is the second person to run the program and graduation will be on Sunday, December 11, 2011.
The program has been well accepted and is gaining a lot of interest. Miller has already been contacted by two schools to come in and speak about bullying and the program “Stomp the Bullying.” Since bullying is at an all time high, this program is the perfect community service program for any community.
“It comes as an honor for me to see leadership being exampled by someone like Michael Miller and his staff that have stepped u and become role models as Guardian Angel volunteers in seeing the first graduation of the ‘Stomp the Bullying’ program become a reality to the global crisis of bullying,” Kelley explained. “The program has set such a profound impact with our tag team efforts that it is now being considered a module program for other Guardian Angel chapters to utilize. We feel confident that between the efforts of myself, Michael Miller and other Guardian Angel leaders across the world, this will begin to make a huge impact in areas that have been effected by such tragedies due to bullying and its serious effects.”
It can still be seen on the news quite often, where a child either commits suicide, or goes on school shooting sprees due to unending torment that he goes through at school. Children bully all the time. In some instances the child cries out, but nobody listens. In other instances the child keeps it to himself until it is too late. As Guardian Angels we hear those cries and we do something about it. We also teach the children to talk about it. There is hope, and there is help. We “dare to care” and now we are daring you.
“This is a program that is needed in every school, martial arts facility, community center, etc. If there is a place where youth are organized then this program should be part of that setting,” Koppenhofer concluded.
Below is our mission: (www.stompthebullying.org)
Bullying is a major epidemic in our society. All forms of bullying, such as verbal, non verbal or emotional, physical, and cyber-bullying happen every day in the United States and it causes serious lasting harm to victims leading to severe depression, violence and/or suicide. According to statistics, 19,000 bullied children attempt to commit suicide over the course of one year; on a monthly average 282,000 students are physically attacked by a bully each month; and on a daily average 160,000 children miss school because they fear being bullied. In a recent survey it showed that over 100,000 children carried guns to school as a result of being bullied.
That all children will learn the appropriate lessons in life and will have healthy self-confidence and self-esteem, proper values, and a driven purpose motivated by a passion to become all they are capable of becoming. If this dream becomes a reality there would be no need for a child to bully another child.
To bring a realistic and active approach to dealing with bullying behavior appropriately by educating about all aspects of bullying through a martial arts standpoint, and to get celebrities, martial arts instructors, teachers, parents, and anybody else willing to join our team to take a stand and become active in stomping the bullying.
To get children and adults to understand the full effects of bullying and why “bully’s” bully; to teach children how to come together and stand up against bullies – strength in numbers; to instill confidence and emotional defenses to protect victims against verbal bullying; and to empower victims with self-defense techniques and principles to protect against physical bullying.
To conduct lectures, workshops, and seminars about bullying at schools, martial arts studios, or for any social groups such as girl scouts, boy scouts, youth groups, etc.; to get martial arts schools involved with the Guardian Angels and our concept of “Stomp the Bullying” and get the program implemented within those martial arts studios; and to petition congress to pass strict laws making bullying a criminal offense.