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July 21, 2022

Walking Away from Bullies

Learning (and Teaching!) Self-Management

Having lived through extreme trauma at a very young age, “Alan” knows that life can be cruel and unfair. He hasn’t always coped well.

At the start of 7th grade, for example, Alan repeatedly used his fists to answer a bully’s persecution. Of course he repeatedly paid the price with multiple school suspensions.

But by year’s end, Alan had learned self-management, earned all As and Bs, and had landed a summer job as a junior counselor in training at a Tiny Mighty & Strong camp for K-6 youth. As he led activities from kickball to sewing, he quickly was recognized for his ability to de-escalate conflicts between campers, even calm a raging child on the basketball court.

“I learned to breathe and walk away at school,” said Alan of the tools he adopted to control his emotions with bullies. “I help campers do the same, negotiate solutions, and get adult help instead of fighting.”

Alan’s adult help with bullying and other life challenges comes from Jose Hernandez, his long-time professional mentor (“Friend”) at Friends of the Children - Klamath Basin.

“I love being able to tell him about my day and express my emotions,” he said of their close relationship. “Jose has helped me a lot.”

Even as self-management has just started to pay off, Alan already looks forward to the future when he can become a police officer and pay forward all he has learned.

“I want to make people’s lives better,” he said.

Dozens of TMS campers would say he’s already doing that!