August 14th – 20th

Hey there Green Dot readers!

This school year is in full swing and it seems like it’s going to be a good one!  We’ve got few of our very first events for this school year planned and I sincerely hope to see some of you there!

At the end of this month will be our first bystander training for Altha Public School for the current academic year.  I’m so excited to meet with some new faces and to get to share our ideas and curriculum with the students there.  Check with the front office or one of your Green Dot Coordinators about signing up!

Recently I was reintroduced to the Myers-Briggs personality assessment.  The Myers-Briggs serves as a tool to better understand peoples personalities, along with their abilities.  It really got me thinking about how different people can approach the same problem with radically different ways to solve it.  Some of us value organization and good preparation, others fly by the seat of their metaphorical pants hoping for a good outcome.  Some of us are bad in new situations, and others still flourish with fresh challenges.  I immediately started thinking about our Green Dot program and the different tools and strategies we give our students when faced with a troubling situation.  Some Green Dotters are totally comfortable in totally uncomfortable situations, like when one of your closest friends is being a jerk to someone.  While others may find it easier to be proactive and to get involved through their community.  I wish I could some how use this personality test to find out what kinds of Green Dots would be good for which personality traits, now that would be useful!

We try our best to equip you for times when life isn’t so easy, but sometimes the answer you’re looking for comes from within.  Maybe you’re non-confrontational, or maybe you can’t talk to strangers, or maybe still you hate feeling obligated to talk about something just because you support it.  No matter what about your personality makes it hard for you to be a Green Dot Bystander, there are options that play to your strengths.  Whether your strength is leadership, or creativity, or just being a good friend in a time of need, you can make a difference and we hope you want to be a part of our movement!

Green Dot is for everyone big and small, no matter what your commitment we hope you stand by it and work for a better tomorrow!

Till next time!

August 1st-13th

Hey Green Dot Readers!

School has descended upon us in full force.  Many of us have been back to school shopping with our families or are relearning how to socialize with our peers after a much needed summer vacation.

Back to school means back to planning fun Green Dot activities!  I hope I saw you at Calhoun County’s Children’s Coalition back to school event.  We passed out paper and folders to students in need of a helping hand the weekend before school started.  The event ran super smooth without many interruptions as we greeted and welcomed all the guests in attendance.  Hundreds of backpacks were filled during the event thanks to the help of our local programs and organizations.  It was truly a blessing to be part of something bigger in our community and to help out those around us.

This school year your Liberty-Calhoun GreenDot program will be decked out as we spice up our programming with a little fun!  If you haven’t already heard by now, GreenDot will be employing a super hero theme to excite our students into being real heroes every day.  Expect to see us on your campus as soon as early September; we’ll be putting up banners and posters and looking for your feedback on what events could use a little ‘green dotting’.  We hope to see you at a football game decked out in your favorite hero garb and thinking about ways you can make a difference in your schools and communities.

We want nothing more than to excite the next generation of hero’s to do their part in making the world a better place.  The world can be a cold and harsh place, and now more than ever we need you to stand up and become the hero that’s already inside you.  You already have more than you know, you can make a difference, one ‘green dot’ at a time.

July 24th – 30th

Hey Readers!

After a short stay in the hills of North Georgia I am back and ready to share Green Dot’s message with you.  Over the weekend I took a trip up to Cloudland Canyon State Park to spend time with family and enjoy nature.  It was a really great experience full of hiking, camping, and some much needed fresh air.  Although this experience was far more isolated than my usual day to day in our states capital, there were still plenty of people there to meet and talk with.  As you may already know, any place where people are gathered is a great time to kick into bystander mode and to be a good neighbor.

While I didn’t see any kind of violence during my stay in Georgia, (thankfully I might add), I was able to be a helping hand to those around me.  Whether it was just waving a friendly ‘hey’, or sharing water while hiking, its always so rewarding to help those around you.  One of my favorite things to do is to meet new people, and being in a new area I got to do just that.  I talked to a handful of campers during my stay at Cloudland making friends and greeting new faces.  It was so nice to hear a new perspective from the people living there, because life there is much quieter and more food is grown locally.  Some of the guests shared experiences of traveling and camping from all over the United States; I especially liked listening to people’s accents as they varied heavily from family to family.

Often in our program we talk about being proactive and getting more involved, and to a lot of us this just sounds like more work.  But, I can assure you it doesn’t have to be a chore!  Being a proactive bystander can be really and truly fun.  All you need to get started is a few conversation points and a friendly smile, and I don’t mean just Green Dot talking points.  Being proactive could mean just getting to know members of your community and being more aware of the people you already ‘sorta’ know.  Making new friends gives you a window into their lives and allows you to be a watchful eye in case a potential red dot comes up.  I really want to encourage all of our readers to be more proactive at the beginning of this school year.  Maybe you could 1) sit with someone new at lunch, or 2) make it a point to talk to a freshman before the first week of school is over, or 3) maybe plan a fun Saturday event and meet some new people, or 4) perhaps your school will get some new transfer students this year and you can greet them with a warm conversation.  What ever your Green Dot is, you can make a difference in your community, and be a massive change for good by being a Green Dot bystander and asking people around you what they see.  You never know, a great green dot might start with a simple “Hey!” or “How ya doin!”.

Tyler Wertenberger – Your Calhoun Liberty Green Dot Coordinator.

July 17th – 23rd

Hey Readers!

Summer is quickly passing by and it won’t be too long until we’re back in school!  Some of us have taken really nice vacations, others are still waiting to travel, but no matter how you spent your summer we hope you have enjoyed it!  For some of us, summer has been absolutely boring.  Whether you’ve been working a summer job, helping out more around the house, or just spending less time with your friends, we sympathize with you.  It can even be pretty lonely during this time off for some of us.  That’s why we here at Green Dot are going to give you some great tips to channel that negative energy, into something absolutely positive!

The best way to turn your summer around is with some easy to plan activities for you to spend with your family or best friends.  Why don’t you try a few of them for yourself?  Our first idea is to try a new restaurant in town.  Whether you’re just hungry or are in need of a place to hang, going out to eat can be a great get together for you and your friends.  One of my personal favorites is the Sand Dollar grill in Blountstown, and I especially like the shrimp tacos.  Next you could try a walk around the park.  No matter where you live, your town probably has a park or other recreation area.  Getting out in the sun is super nice, whether you’re just going for a walk, or you’re engaging in something more fun like a sport.  With cellphones and social media it’s never been easier to invite your friends to come hang out in the sunny weather.  Lastly, plan an event!  Planning something big is really rewarding and can feel really great.  Find a reason to cook out, or to throw a party, no matter what occasion you’re celebrating… hanging out with friends makes it great!

If you want to plan activities but can’t think of anyone to invite, here’s some great tips on how to get out of the house (even if it’s alone).  You could try going for a bike ride, going for a quick ride through town is a great way to get your blood moving and a better way to get an endorphin rush.  No matter what your mood, a little exercise is a great and healthy way to improve it.  If biking isn’t your forte, you could try picking up a new hobby!  Whether you decide to play music, draw some colorful art, read a good book, play video games online, or pick up stamp collecting, a hobby is a great way to pass time.  My favorite kinds of hobbies are ones that I can practice and get better at, like guitar.  I love the feeling of mastering a song I couldn’t play before, or hitting the high notes that I couldn’t previously.

Whether you decide to get some friends together and go down to the park, or to spend some time alone with your favorite book,  we hope these tips have excited you to spend a day doing something you love.  Lastly, we want all our readers to exercise good bystander awareness.  No matter what activity you end up pursuing you’re probably going to be around other people.  By being another set of watchful eyes and ears we can keep our community and friends safe.  So, remember your 3 D’s (direct, delegate, and distract), you’ll be ready if the need arises to help someone you know! The day is yours to seize, and sincerely we hope you have a great week!

July 11th – 16th

July 3rd – 10th

Hey Readers!

Let’s start off this post by saying, we at Green Dot hope you had a great 4th of July!

Personally, I spent my 4th of July the “right” way. You can never go wrong with cooking out, spending time with your closest friends and families, and seeing some absolutely spectacular fireworks. I was fortunate enough to spend my 4th of July with some of my best friends. It really ‘recharged my batteries’ for the coming month.

The 4th also serves as a reminder of our sovereign freedom and our rights as individual citizens. These days it seems that many people are unfamiliar with their unalienable rights to basically be themselves. One of the most important rights of course being the First Amendment and our right to free speech. When we’re trying to make a widespread culture change through a program such as Green Dot it is so important that we can freely share our ideas to speak up and speak out against violence. Imagine how detrimental it would be to our society if programs, like this one, were censored and people weren’t able to talk about problems such as violence. If someone could shut down your free speech immediately by calling you a liar or a slanderer it would be absolutely difficult to make a difference.

Remember that when you’re faced with a situation that is making you uncomfortable, it is not only a great idea to speak up, it’s your right. You can make a difference just by being yourself and helping others for what you believe in with one of the 3-Ds (Direct, Delegate, Distract). Nothing is more beautiful than seeing change for good, especially if you were the catalyst for that change.

So, exercise that free speech people! Make the world a better and less violent place. Not only because you can, but because it’s your right! And remember, “No one has to do everything and everyone can do something!”

June 19th – July 2nd

Rainy weather really put a damper on this weekend;  I spent most of it trying to enjoy the fluorescent lights and buzzing of a cathode ray tube.  Life can be dreary when the weather doesn’t reflect your mood or daily ambitions, but I know good weather is right around the corner.

The Fourth of July is going to be here any day now and the summer heat isn’t going any where anytime soon.  Over the last week we’ve gotten some big things accomplished for our local program.  We now have a permanent spot at Altha School, soon we’ll be involved in a brand new location, and we’re thinking up some sweet t-shirts for next year’s Green Dot gear.

Over the weekend I read an article about making people feel included and I think it’s something that we can all relate to.  Here’s a link to the article:

http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/am-i-invisible-the-pain-relieving-response-to-being-rejected-or-excluded_1518190386?cid=sm_npd_td_fb_pa

Rachael shares a story of bringing her daughter to an extracurricular activity where they were both not well included.  Rachael shares that even some of the other parents were a little bitter or rude to them when they asked about what was going on in the activity that day.  However, Rachael was not deterred, but instead she turned it into a learning experience for her daughter and she told her to remember this feeling.  Remember it because other people feel alone, and remember it because you can make this feeling go away for others.

I think that no matter where you are, you’re bound to bump into lonely somebodies.  Any day you can make a huge difference in someone’s life, just by being yourself and showing you care.  No matter who you are, or what makes it hard, you can be the change in someones life that they were so badly needing.  Be that change today, because you have the tools and ability as a bystander to become someone’s hero.

June 12th – 18th

Big things in the works for your local Green Dot program!

We have been brainstorming big ideas for the coming school year. We’re talking new t-shirts, themes, events, and we may even have a new command post at Altha School. We are so excited to share with you in August what we’ve been working on!

Yesterday was Father’s Day, I hope no one forgot! With so many holidays it can be hard to keep track of them all, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less important to try to remember them. Personally I just gave my dad a quick phone call, but I hope some of you had a really great Father’s Day. Whether you went fishing, hunting, or just watched the game together, I hope yesterday was a lot of fun!

After just a few weeks of summer I can already say I’ve been bored a few times. It seems like so many of our friends are out with their families or on vacation while the rest of us are working or lounging around at the house. I would bet that one or two of us in our Calhoun-Liberty County communities have even felt lonely at times. As sad as that is, it is a great opportunity to do a Green Dot. If we all took the time to check in on someone in our community and to spend some quality time with our friends, I think a lot of people in our area would feel great. Here are just a few Green Dot ideas that you could do this week: text a friend and ask them about their week, ask someone new to lunch, set up an open-invite-park-day for you and your friends, have a movie night with pizza, or something else great we haven’t thought of yet!

No matter what your Green Dot is you can be a positive influence in your community. Your words and choices have power and no one can take that away from you. Sincerely from your Green Dot program, we hope you have a great week and that you make others around you smile!

 

 

 

June 5th – 11th

Sunshine and light showers, that very well might sum up this last week.  Some days it can be hard to remember the bigger picture and that we live in such a large country.  Heck, I seem to forget I can leave my house sometimes.  Every time I read an article about some new policy or new event in the news I’m always surprised at just how connected we all really are.

Recently I came across this article by the Huffington Post about Green Dot bystander intervention specifically.

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colleges-bystander-intervention_us_56abc134e4b0010e80ea021d

The article mostly covers some of the methods we use in Green Dot and how the program is being molded to fit the needs of what ever community it lands in, but I gathered something a little different from it.   Green Dot is being implemented in hundreds of schools and communities all over the nation and the world.  We truly are part of a massive global change for good.

What’s even more amazing is that an almost equal number of ‘Step up!’ programs are popping up all over the country as well.  ‘Step up!’ is a program similar to Green Dot bystander intervention, it focuses on being proactive in times when little violence is seen or received and confident when situations arise.

I think whether or not you’re a Green Dot bystander or a member of a similar program we’re truly making a difference.  The best part is solutions can be simple like walking someone home, having a conversation, or checking in on your friends.  It doesn’t have to be anything big, but when you make a decision to do the right thing you make the world a better place!

May 30th – June 4th

Hey all you Green Dot readers!

The first week of summer has come and gone faster than you can say Jack Robinson.  The teachers at Blountstown High and us here at the Green Dot program had a pretty uneventful week hanging around the school and getting things in order for the rest of the summer.

Over the weekend I was reading some articles on the Bystander Effect.  For those of you unaware of it’s existence, the Bystander Effect is a social phenomenon where people are less likely to help a victim when there is a large crowd observing the situation.  This is a huge obstacle to be aware of if we’re going to be doing Green Dots all over our school and community.  It’s so important that we stick to our values and do the right thing even if we begin to feel less socially responsible the more people crowd around us.  The Chicago Tribune expertly documents one of these cases occurring at a 7-Eleven convenience store:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-bystander-effect-bartender-death-met-20160421-story.html

Marques Gaines

Marques Gaines was mugged outside a 7-Eleven and was left unconscious in street to be run over by a cab ending his life.  Video footage later revealed that many bystanders saw what was happening outside the store that night, but many people did not respond to the actions being taken against Marques in any way.  Even after the event onlookers failed to move his unconscious body away from the road and onto the sidewalk.  This tragedy, unfortunately, is but one of many incidents that was allowed to take place because of the Bystander Effect.

The next time you witness a high risk situation in which many other people are not taking action, remember that other people probably aren’t getting involved for the same reasons as you.  If a potentially violent situation is making you uncomfortable, keep in mind that everyone else most likely feels exactly like you.  Be the first to speak up and watch as others are sure to follow!