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September 2014

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Class teaches kids to stand up to bullies

Youth, parents invited to workshop

Bullying has become something of a catchphrase in the last few years as the issue comes more and more to the forefront of social consciousness.

But far beyond just a popular topic for school assemblies, bullying is a real issue with real-life consequences. "It can make kids lose hope and feel like the whole world is against them," said Dave Young of the Vistelar Group, who teaches workshops on bullying.

One such workshop is taking place from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at J.K. Lee Black Belt Academy, 690 Westfield Way, Suite E, Pewaukee. "Bullying Response Tactics" is offered for youth in fourth grade through high school; parents and other adults are also invited. The cost is $30 per person, $40 per family.

The interactive workshop will be presented by Young, who has 25 years of combined military, professional and civilian training experience. "I travel all over the country teaching kids and adults how to manage bullying. We can't possibly control all bullying and what people say, especially when it's posted on the Internet, but we can teach kids how to react to it," said Young. "Bullying happens at so many levels, and it can build and build. … We teach kids how to be assertive and confident and that they don't have to take it."

Workshop participants will learn about the dynamics and categories of bullying attacks, how social dynamics can prevent or contribute to bullying, how to develop verbal distractors and physical strategies and tactics, how to communicate with parents, teachers and other adults about bullying and more.

Exercises will be used to demonstrate the importance of bystander intervention and how to avoid obstacles that often make intervention difficult.

"Bullying happens when there is the least amount of adult supervision. I strongly encourage parents and teachers to also participate in this workshop so that everyone is supporting each other and speaking the same language," said Young.

For the last three years, the J.K. Lee Black Belt Academy has hosted anti-bullying programs, reaching out to more than 40,000 kids and their parents and teachers in the Milwaukee and Lake Country areas. The martial arts school is also part of a national network of individuals certified in an anti-bullying program developed by Verbal Defense & Influence called "The Bully Expert."

"In 1975 my family immigrated to the United States, and I was the only Asian growing up in my neighborhood in Milwaukee. I was bullied as a child, and I fully understand what that feels like," said J.K. Lee, owner and martial arts instructor.

"I have many students who come to me because they have been involved in some type of bullying situation. I am passionate about teaching kids how to protect themselves when they are being bullied. I was drawn to Dave Young's program because he teaches how to have an assertive response to conflict that doesn't promote violence," added Lee. "The overreaching message is the best tactic is teaching kids about respect and kindness."

J.K. Lee Black Belt Academy is located at 690 Westfield Way, Suite E, in Pewaukee. For more information, call (262) 695-6700 or visit www.jkleeblackbelt.com, www.milwaukee.thebullyexpert.com and www.vistelar.com.

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