Today’s guest blogger is Gregory Spitz, an Americorps Member serving on the Bain and Company Team at PS 83M in East Harlem.

Here at P.S. 83M in East Harlem, every day is a new challenge for our Bain and Company York Team. My nine fellow AmeriCorps members, our proud team leader and program manager work every day to make better happen for our students in a variety of ways. In the classroom, my teammates and I are learning the instruction style of each of the teachers and determining the best way to support our students. Although helping to improve academics is important to our cause within the school, our team also tries to make sure that the social-emotional needs of our students are met as well.

Recently, our school began an anti-bullying initiative which demonstrated to students the dangers of bullying and the flawed logic behind why people bully. YouTube sensation Lizzie Sider was invited to P.S. 83 on Wednesday October 8th to present a speech about the perils of bullying to our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students as well as students from nearby middle schools. Lizzie is a 16-year-old from Florida whose song, “Butterfly,” is about her struggle to overcome the bullies in her school and to emerge from her shy youth as a confident young woman. Our students were very excited to sing along with Lizzie and created anti-bullying posters that are displayed around the school. Her message that “No one should be allowed to ruin your day” resonated with many of our students who vowed to stop any bullying that they saw at all costs.

The next day, Thursday October 9th, our principal, Ms. Castillo, put on an anti-bullying seminar for our entire school. Following this our team led a presentation and put on a few skits which demonstrated the dos and don’ts of bullying scenarios. We stressed that it is important for students to have strong body language, stand up for themselves, be inclusive when facing bullying as a bystander and to tell an adult instead of resorting to violence.

Students at P.S. 83 have had some excellent exposure to the language and the techniques of anti-bullying and as an AmeriCorps Member delivering that message, I am proud to say that my students have been informed about the dangers of bullying. I hope that my students will learn that bullying is dangerous and wrong and that it needs to be stopped at all costs. 

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