By Dru Ahlborg, Co-Founder and Executive Director of BRRC
School is back in session for darn near everyone in Colorado. It is a time of year that used to hold the promise of new beginnings and the hope of a few moments to catch my breath before the autumn and winter holidays come crashing in. This year, I don’t have those feelings. Back to school means our advocacy picks up and the phone starts to ring. For thousands of children it means stress, fear and anxiety especially if they have been a target of bullying in the past.
My husband and I founded BRRC after our son was relentlessly bullied in middle-school. We became experts about bullying. We determined what we did well and how we could have improved our actions as we waded through the aftermath of the trauma our family. had endured. My son switched schools and eventually began to acclimate to a new environment. He participated in volunteer work and did a great deal of emotional work as he recovered. My husband and I co-founded BRRC with the aspiration to help other families just like ours who were left hurt, dumbfounded and traumatized. We didn’t want other families to go through the aftermath of severe bullying alone. We wanted to become a life-preserver in the deep-end of the pool. We empower parents and caregivers of children to report bullying and to advocate for the school to stop the bullying. No family should have to go through this alone.
I’ll be honest, this work is challenging. We have many heart-wrenching stories about children across our state that have endured tremendous pain and torment at the hands of someone who exploited their power over them. Bullying takes place at school, on playgrounds, on the child’s way home and online. Advocating for bullied children is oftentimes highly emotional. Many times, a desired outcome is not achieved. Quite often the child who has endured bullying is the one who moves to a different school, district or to home-schooling. It just isn’t fair that a person targeted is the one who is required to make changes when a school neglects to make school safe for a bullied child.
Our why and our reason for BRRC is always to help a child who is being bullied. Our work with caregivers lets bullying targets know that someone other than their family has their back. They feel less alone. We are incredibly passionate that a bullied child knows they did nothing to deserve to be bullied and that they receive the reassurance and support they need to walk through their trauma.
About a week ago we received news that the child of one of our very first families was moving into her college dorm as a freshman. During her time with us we were quite fearful for her mental well-being, and now she is excited to start her college adventures. We hear about children and young adults we have served that have become upstanders and watch out and speak up for their peers. We have been blessed to learn of first jobs and prom outings from our families. We are making a dent. We are helping to rebuild lives. We thank you for your support and letting us serve many amazing families in Colorado.