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Anti-bullying bash held at TACOLCY

Families helped in preparing for school

Miami Times staff report | 8/14/2013, 12:28 p.m.
Youth pose after receiving book bags. Photos courtesy of the Belafonte TACOLCY Center

At 7 a.m. last Saturday morning, community members stood in line at the Belafonte TACOLCY Center, Inc., anxiously waiting for the organization’s Back-to-School/Anti-Bullying Bash event to start.

The event, which was held in partnership with 360 Degrees and Marshall Party Rental, helped families get ready for the upcoming school year by providing them with information and resources that supports student and family growth and empowerment. There were also several free community giveaways at the event, offering the youth free books, school supplies, backpacks and even haircuts.

There were several workshops, including “Bullying 101” and “Know Your Parental Rights in the Schools.” There were also fun activities going on, such as: arts and crafts, games, a reading corner for children, music, and free food.

Shirley Sajousse, a Social worker at the center and the event’s organizer, said the event turned out great and better than she anticipated.

To ensure that people received useful information and resources, families who were given bookbags and other school supplies were required to attend workshops or visit at least two educational vendors.

The event ended with a skit by a group of young people, called Nest of Living Arts, who dealt with bullying directly.  

Taj Brown, CEO of TACOLCY, said bullying is very pervasive and the center is trying to get a bullying specific initiative started.

He said he is interested in using a resiliency education model, which will allow youth who have been through difficult things to build their character off of their negative experiences.

“Bullying in schools and communities is a serious problem that inhibits our youth from feeling safe and achieving their full potential,” Brown said.“Statistics show that 1 in every 7 students from kindergarten to 12th grade has been involved in bullying, and it has been demonstrated that bullying often leads to gun violence.

TACOLCY and our partners are committed to preventing bullying and increasing access to mental, emotional and behavioral health supports for young people who deal with this daily epidemic.”

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Artist gave attendees temporary tattoos.

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Nest of Living Arts, a performing arts group, performed a skit about bullying.