Gemma Dineen, Amy Kelleher, and Eileen Kelleher, members of the Ballinora/Ballincollig branch of the Irish Red Cross, have joined with three other Red Cross youth members to form an anti-bullying sub-group tasked with creating resources to help young people tackle bullying.
The sub-group leading the ‘Don’t be a bully, be a buddy!’ campaign was set up following a motion in which 150 young Red Cross volunteers from all over Ireland said it was their ambition to combat bullying.
Eileen said she felt compelled to get involved in the campaign: “I feel strongly against bullying as it can be harmful in so many ways and, if not taken seriously, it can lead to more serious outcomes such as low self-esteem, self-harm and even suicide.”
The campaign name arose out of a slogan competition which encouraged Irish Red Cross Youth to submit their ideas.
The slogan ‘Don’t be a bully, be a buddy!’ will appear on t-shirts, posters, and a new information resource card which the sub-group has created for distribution to branches, schools, and to the public.
The group has developed a wallet-sized information card, which unfolds to reveal useful tips for those who find themselves or their friends the target of bullies. The tips include how to recognise a bully, how to recognise if you are being a bully, and how to be a buddy.
It also provides contact information for organisations which help victims.
The sub-group is now planning to send their resource card to schools around Ireland to help teachers and students tackle bullying. They also plan to visit groups and schools to encourage other young people to choose to ‘be a buddy’.