The letter below from the Director of Programming for the Halifax Project should speak for itself. What follows is a summary taken from an in-depth research report on the success of the program.
Dear Mrs. Webster-Doyle:
On behalf of the residents and staff of the Reigh Allen Centre, I would like to express our sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Atrium society for partnering with us in developing a pilot project that will assist youth in gaining skills and insights on how to cope with conflict in their lives. Conflict and bullying behavior is an on going issue with many youth at risk. Presently there seems to be a lot of literature discussing the issue of bullying but there are limited resources on how to directly address this problem with youth. As Program Coordinator of the Reigh Allen Centre, I have regularly sought programs of this nature that would fit the needs of the Reigh Allen Centre youth population. I was delighted to discover that Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle’s work provides “hands on” solutions to the problem through the use of his comprehensive books, curricula and fun, youth centered activities, utilizing both Mental and Physical Martial Arts. We are especially excited by the potential of developing a specially designed pilot project specifically tailored for our youth.
The pilot project is entitled “MAP–S.T.A.R.S., which stands for “Mental And Physical Safe Training Awareness Response System. This project is being utilized as part of the programming services offered at the Reigh Allen Centre. The Reigh Allen Centre is one of six programs of Residential care offered by the Association for the Development of Children’s Residential Facilities, (ADCRF.) The ADCRF is a non-profit, community-based organization that provides care to youth between the ages of 12-18 years of age who are presently in the care of Child Welfare Agencies. The other five programs include, Hawthorne House, Johnson House, Jubien House, Sullivan House, and Brenton House. As the pilot project progresses, it is our hope that Dr. Webster-Doyle’s books and curricula will be shared with the other ADCRF facilities.
To date, Dr. Webster-Doyle’s regular Bullying Program has been well received by the youth at the Reigh Allen Centre and we are excited about future successes as the pilot project unfolds. For example, after only two workshops utilizing the conventional bullying program positive changes were noted with the residents. The youth who have participated appear to think more about how their actions would affect others in the long term, especially in respects to causing permanent physical damage to another person. As well during the sparing activities the aggression displayed seemed to lessen. The youth were slowing down and focusing on technique not just on striking their opponent. With the success of this program we feel that the MAP S.T.A.R.S. Program will have more success since it will be specially developed for our particular needs with youth-at-risk.
Historically program resources are not usually easily obtainable to non-profit groups. The level of co-operation and generosity bestowed on us by yourself and Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle pleasantly surprised us. You have both devoted a great deal of time and effort into implementing your existing program for our youth. It is exciting that you have created this special program to fit the specific needs of the youth who reside in our care facilities. This is a new experience for us as our youth are generally expected to fit into an already existing program. The benefits of tailoring the program to meet their needs are something that we can utilize immediately. Also, thank you for your generous donations of books and curriculum. As well we would like to express our deepest gratitude, for all your time, guidance and expertise.Sincerely,
Shelley Teal Program Coordinator,
Reigh Allen Centre
MAPSTARS – Bully Prevention Program Report/Evaluation – Halifax
MAPSTARS Bully Prevention Program Halifax
Project Sponsor: Home Bridge Youth Society, formerly known as the ADCRF (Association for the Development of Children’s Residential Facilities).
Project Title: MAPSTARS (Mental and Physical Safe Training Awareness Response System) Bully Prevention Program
Project Duration: 12 Months
Original Start Date: October 1, 2004
Original End Date: September 30, 2005
Actual Start Date: December 2005
Actual End Date: November 30, 2005
There is a critical need for youth living in residential care to learn how to solve conflict peacefully. These young people are surrounded by conflict in their home, school, peer group and surrounding communities. Due to disadvantaged life circumstances, youth living in residential care are at an increased risk of becoming either the bully or the victim. Although conflict education is a needed resource for this population, the MAPSTARS program was launched during a time when both the media and police reported an increase in youth becoming involved in, and victimized, by swarmings in their communities. The main goal of the project was to educate and prevent crime related incidents including, assaults, uttering threats, property damage, substance use/abuse, as well as decrease the number of calls placed to the Halifax Regional Police (HRP). In 2003, the Reigh Allen Centre placed 257 calls to the HRP for many of the above-mentioned crime related incidents.
The MAPSTARS bully prevention program was designed to reduce youth participants. Impulsive and aggressive behaviors. A successful reduction of these behaviors will lead to an overall reduction in the number of aggressive incidents both in the HomeBridge youth residential facilities and in the community at large.
Stated Objectives Actual Results
Increase youth at risks understanding and awareness of the roots of conflict, bullying behavior and prejudice. During program implementation youth reported a 95% level of comprehension of the material presented.
Youth feedback forms also indicated that 79% of the youth felt confident that they would be able to apply the knowledge learned during these session when confronted with conflict.
The first step to defeating a bully is to know why a bully bullies. Decrease aggression, which is often linked to community crime, while increasing problem solving skills, self-control and critical reasoning.
During the course of the program Youth care workers reported:
- Impulsive behaviors decreased by 42%
- Property damage decreased by 57%
- Physical aggression decreased by 48%
- Verbal aggression decreased by 39%
- Reducing bullying incidents in residential group homes and reduce the number of youth violence calls received by the Halifax Regional Police.
- Incidents of physical bullying decreased 47%.
- Incidents of psychological bullying decreased 39%.
- Facility F1 reports of serious incidents decreased 87%
- Calls to Halifax Regional police decreased 71%.
The MAPSTARS conflict education curriculum enables youth at-risk to safely look at their behavior in an objective manner so they can problem solve differently and more effectively. As they become more knowledgeable about the roots of bullying, and share their experiences of bullying with others in a safe environment, it is not uncommon that they become more empathetic towards each other. The decrease in horseplay seems to be directly related to a decrease in impulsive behavior.
How has your project developed and/or strengthened broad, community based partnerships that can deal with local crime prevention issues?
HomeBridge’s relationship with Halifax Regional Police has strengthened. The program yielded a decease in impulsive and aggressive behaviors, which led to a decrease in the use of police resources. The mail out to other youth care facilities will provide resources to other youth at-risk in residential care, and aid them in understanding the roots of conflict. Seven Nova Scotia Community College students, enrolled in the Youth Care program, were trained during the course of this project. Those students will carry the knowledge of this training to future employment in residential facilities throughout the province. At the request of Dr. Terrence Webster-Doyle, a community member who owns a martial arts facility in the community was trained. He plans to use the knowledge to educate youth in his martial art facility.
How has your project increased public awareness about effective approaches to crime prevention?
The MAPSTARS training received extensive media coverage (Global, the Herald and CBC Radio), which increased awareness around the issue of bullying, and what community-based organizations, such as HomeBridge, were doing to combat this serious social issue. Mailing out resources to organizations with similar clientele will provide other professionals in the field with much needed resources on conflict education.
Building capacity in the community
How has the project increased the community=s capacity to deal with crime and victimization?
This project increased youth=s awareness of the roots of conflict, bullying behavior
and prejudice. HomeBridge youth care workers are trained in this conflict education strategy and will apply this knowledge in daily situations with youth at-risk.
The Halifax Regional Police have a better understanding of our mandate and the
challenges that young people living in residential care face. Positive relationships were
built and communication strengthened, further leading to a productive working relationship.