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Secret Mentoring Program

I recently attended a Bully-Schools workshop and had the opportunity to sit with a group of middle school teachers, counselors and social workers. We were discussing acknowledging positive behavior. Nancy Buyle our awesome facilitator shared the importance of making students feel wanted and accepted. When Nancy broke us up into groups to share some of the things schools should be doing to help our students take pride in their accomplishments and good deeds, my group members explained how their school has a secret mentoring program. They all shared with me how it works. Each staff member has a group of kids they high five, make positive comments, cheer on and let them know that someone cares about them daily. Some even attend their mentees extracurricular activities. The general consensus from my group was that their schools bullying incidents have reduced more than seventy-five percent since starting this secret mentor program. Many of the student who were struggling academically are doing much better, they’re happier and feel safer when on the bus and at school.

“Feeling safe- socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically- is a fundamental human need. Feeling safe in school promotes student learning and healthy development. (Devinde and Chohen 2007)

There are many reasons why a student will be aggressive toward another student. Their home life is filled with anger and disrespect. They may have a deceased parent. Their parents might be in the middle of a nasty divorce. The parents are too busy to be there for their child. Because of this many children are screaming out for attention. If they get more attention with negative aggressive behavior they are more likely to keep up. Negative attention is better than no attention.

When I was in fifth grade there was a very smart kid who was aggressive and threatening to almost everyone in the class. He would go in our desks and throw things on the floor. He stole hats, gloves and scarves and would tease, push and shove. We used to say he was crazy and should be put in jail but in 1968 there weren’t many things in place to help this student or the rest of us feel safe in school. Later I learned that he had come from a very bad home life. Both parents were alcoholics and drug addicts. He never received any attention for anything he did. I often wonder if there was some kind of secret mentoring program in place if this student would have changed his behavior.

Paula Dirkes in her awesome book Mentor Me! Writes: “An important school-based mentoring study (Curtis 1999) sheds some light on the “ripple effect” of mentoring- not only in school but in the child’s self-confidence level. Positive attitudes about school and personal self-confidence both improved a whopping sixty–four percent amongst mentored children.”
In every school there are students like the one in my fifth grade class crying out for help. So why not get teachers, staff, parents and even students on board to create a secret mentoring program to remind kids and teens that someone cares about them and that they have a right to be proud of themselves.

If you would learn more about mentoring contact

Together we can change the world one duck at a time!”
Copyright Richard Paul 2013

11 Responses to “Secret Mentoring Program”

  1. Dear Richard, Here’s the login link below to build your profile. Then you can blog your writes. It’s new. Stop Bullying International Coalition
    We can stop Bullying, but only if we become a STRONG FORCE. 100 people in one website, 500 in a local organization, or a few 1,000s in Facebook do not represent that force. Keep fighting bullying the way you do now, but add your project/your website here. When millions join us; authorities, legislators and governments will listen to our voice. Something BIG has to be done, not by individuals, but by a great Coalition . This is an Inclusive concept that incorporates ALL anti-bullying websites, campaigns, projects, efforts and participants in every country, and in every school. WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT.

    Michelle Cox

  2. Hi Richard. Thank you for accepting my invitation. I saw some of your videos and they’re just amazing. You’re using a powerful deadly weapon to fight bullying: HUMOR. Duck Sense is a masterpiece.

    We have launched 3 weeks ago the Stop Bullying International Coalition (STOP) and we are already the 3rd most visited anti-bullying website in the world, but everything at our website is so serious… Man, we need your support and your help. Please, join us and show our current and future members how you combat bullying.

    Thank you for what you do and best regards,


  3. I really like it.
    By Michelle Coxx

  4. Great Richard! I like this (“Feeling safe- socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically- is a fundamental human need. Feeling safe in school promotes student learning and healthy development.’)
    By Michelle Coxx

  5. This is great, Richard. Thanks. A 25% reduction in bullying in aggression; that is REAL growth. I believe in mentoring; it is the best kind of education. I have/had mentors in my life and have been a mentor; a powerful relationship. As you shared about the kid in 1968, imagine if he had a mentor. Take a look at; a newly developed International Anti-Bullying website/resource, perhaps an opportunity for you to connect worldwide. Thanks so much for sharing your workshop experience.
    By Lisa S.

  6. Hi Richard,
    Lisa Small here. Just a thought: Does your training (just love the HUMOR-my favorite thing in life) program have the constructs that would be effective at the college/university level? Bullying is rampant, more dangerous and sneakier in our colleges; It is crazy! Some of these students-it is their first time away from home- and they have no sense/definition of bullying/abuse. I am not a trained psychologist, but this obsession w/control by some students to get what they want/control their environment is fear/acting out; however, it is detrimental to the educational process. Thanks for what you do. So glad I found you here in Michigan. Hope we meet in the near future.

  7. Richard,

    What you are doing is wonderful, and I plan on really diving into your website and gaining a lot of valuable information on different methods of anti-bullying presentations. Thank you so much for doing this.

    -Andrew J. Nalian

  8. Richard,
    Thanks for sharing! I am going to forward this email to every educator I know! I love the idea!

    Shelly Penzien

  9. Hello Richard, Very well written and powerful article! Thanks for the mention, however, not necessary at all! I hope your Easter was nice. I have been enjoying this whole week off. I checked my email tonight and had the opportunity to read your article!

    I am confident that your article will provide educators with new and inspiring information on how to reach out to their students.

    Thanks for all you do!


  10. […]  The second is an essay by Richard Paul at Duck Sense on how schools can use Secret Mentoring programs to help at risk kids avoid bullying – […]

  11. Thank you for sharing the message.

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