How The Salvation Army is Addressing Bullying

students gather around table to participate in anger management program
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Bullying is a major problem in Canada with one in five children affected. While the Pink Shirt Day campaign raises awareness about the issue, The Salvation Army’s Red Cap Anger Management Program is teaching children, many impacted by bullying, how to deal with stressful situations.

“Once kids open up about why they are angry, it usually has to do with bullying,” says Sandra Reid, Community Children’s Outreach Worker for The Salvation Army in Newmarket, Ont.

Red Cap is an anger management program geared to children ages 8 to 12. It is run for eight to 10 weeks as a school lunch club. The program is interactive and facilitated by staff and volunteers that are trained and police checked. Through activities and discussion, participants learn how to regulate their emotions and avoid negative reactions. When they learn how to handle their frustrations, such as bullying, they are better able to focus on learning.

“I used to let my anger control me and get into fights at school,” says Nicole, 11. “Red Cap taught me how to respond better. Now I count to 10 and walk away. I feel better about myself when I do that.”

Anger with peers can spill over into other relationships and with family. “The strategies learned at Red Cap are passed on to friends, parents and siblings who end up coping better with anger issues. That’s success,” says Reid.

At the end of the course a graduation is held where students receive a certificate and a Red Cap.

“We all get angry at times,” says Nicole. “I’ve learned that it’s how we react that counts.”