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Airdrie antibullying campaign partners with international foundation

By: Sara Wilson

  |  Posted: Thursday, Mar 20, 2014 01:28 pm

Alderman Darrell Belyk shares his hand gripper he uses to strengthen his hand for arm wrestling at an anti-bullying presentation at Good Shepard School on Feb. 20. He said he used the gripper to help him reach the goals he set for himself.
Alderman Darrell Belyk shares his hand gripper he uses to strengthen his hand for arm wrestling at an anti-bullying presentation at Good Shepard School on Feb. 20. He said he used the gripper to help him reach the goals he set for himself.
FILE PHOTO/Rocky View Publishing

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The Airdrie Bullying Awareness Program (ABAP) has joined forces with a non-profit bullying organization- stopbully.com – to help bring further awareness to the cause.

The Stopbully.com website has a following of 30,000 people from all over Canada and the United States (US).

“They approached me and wanted to help promote our program and help financially,” said local founder Darrell Belyk. “Their Facebook account has over 20,000 likes, so it opens us to (a larger market).”

The ABAP was set up by Belyk and officially kicked off on Feb. 6 and is designed to decrease school bullying problems by increasing awareness and responsiveness, fostering socially responsible beliefs, and teaching social-emotional skills to counter bullying and promote healthy relationships.

The 13-year-old stopbully.com organization has been an advocate for bullying awareness throughout North America, and hosts an annual bike ride, the International Ride for Awareness.

The event attracts 1,000s of bike enthusiasts and gives away a Harley Davidson at each annual event, according to Belyk.

“The bike run will go through Airdrie and other parts of Southern Alberta (Red Deer and Ponoka), and organizers are expecting a bigger turn out this year,” he said.

This will be the first year for the International Ride for Awareness to hit Airdrie streets, which is set to kick off this summer on Aug. 24.

The ABAP wants to stay a grassroots committee dealing with Airdrie, according to Belyk, but appreciates the recognition and support stopbully.com provides.

“We’re going to be starting up a couple of programs,” he said. “The first will be a School Ambassador program that we may be able to get a project going at one of the schools, and then we will be hosting an Awareness Week in November that will have 11 initiatives.”

Belyk said there is already a group of volunteers to help with organizing the Awareness Week, and he met with Rocky View Schools on March 18 to talk about the ambassador program.

To view more about the upcoming program visit the ABAP’s Facebook page “Airdrie Bullying Awareness Program” or follow them on Twitter at “@Abapawareness01”


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