StopBully.com began as a “one off” project in Central Alberta in 2001 – making it often referred to as the “Grandfather” of the Bully Prevention/Awareness Programs in Canada. By 2002, there was a demand for its resources nationally and had spread to 80 western towns. Soon after, it became one of the first programs to send regular instructors to schools to address students. In 2003, it added online reporting as a means for students to safely report “bullying actions” to a “trusted adult.” In 2007, the program changed its focus from school programs to community awareness. Today, it’s once again offering training to all community stakeholder organizations – from students to parents, as well as maintaining a focus on “community awareness” and youth empowerment.
In 2002 instructors for schools were added to the StopBully.com mix and demand went through the roof for the program as it offered something that went beyond other school “Bully Programs” being offered at the time; programs offered by “experts” and “consultants” in the field which were beginning to inundate schools. StopBully.com began to offer a program that was present all year round and went beyond the scope of the school. At this time many “programs” consisted of a puppet play or a discussion/workshop format for the kids – that was often readily engaged in but just as often forgotten when the kids were dismissed. StopBully.com offered the “crime stoppers” of Bullying by providing free tools that would make the kids accountable all year long with its online reporting system. Further the program was free to schools for use unlike most other offerings out there that often commanded price tags of hundreds or even a thousand dollars for a one off session.
As the program evolved further, more focus was put on community awareness as Bullying has always been a social issue not a “school” issue – a viewpoint that many schools have appreciated and embraced.StopBully.com has always been privately funded through the generous support of business and other community leaders in the areas that we have operated. The down side to this was less funding became available in the economic upturn that western Canada began to see in 2005. It wasn’t that our community and business leaders became less generous – rather they became harder to access as a result of a scarcity of human resources. Moreover, finding good fundraisers and volunteers became increasingly difficult compared to the first 2-3 of operation. This resulted in a scaling back in the scope of the program, which stared with the discontinuation of instructors being offered to schools in 2005. In 2005 the program refocused its mandate on community awareness very similar in keeping its cause front and center in the communities in which it operates much like MADD or SADD does. The program’s current objectives beyond awareness include re-launching the “Tell a Trusted Adult Program” later in the year and in certain communities testing “live” online help for those parents who need advice on this issue soon and for the children directly involved whether they are a “Bully”, a “Target” or a “Bystander”.