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      Grant money helps schools fight back against bullying

      Seven grants totaling to $241,000 were given to nonprofits and local units of government in the Rotary Charities spring grant round.

      One of the grants went to a program adopted by Conflict Resolution Services, Olweus Anti-Bullying program, and will help fight back against bullying.

      Conflict Resolution Services adopted the Olweus Anti-Bullying program. An internationally successful program that has been around for more than 35-years and is proven to prevent or reduce bullying incidents in a school setting.

      With the $65,000 grant, along with school interest and community support, they are now launching a 3-year plan for schools in the entire five-county region.

      "When the schools contacted us they of course wanted some help with raising the dollars that go along with the training and so we agreed to help them do that, which was part of reaching out to Rotary for their grant," said Conflict Resolution Services Executive Director, Rebecca Garland.

      Traverse City Area Public Schools is serving as the pilot school, and will launch the program in all 18 of their schools next fall. The remaining school districts in Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim Counties will launch their anti-bullying programs in the next 3 years.

      "This Olweus program really allows us to identify our needs within our individual buildings and maintaining those things we do think have success and find new ways to strengthen and support what we already have," said Traverse City West Middle School Assistant Principal, Ryan Ranger."

      The grant will help cover the costs of training, and lessons at the public schools in the entire five-county region.

      "There might be better grades, higher attendance, kids feeling valued, kids feeling that they can learn in a safe environment, really just improving the overall culture of school and it could potentially be part of this grant," said Becky Ewing from Rotary Charities of Traverse City. "And we're just really proud to be a part of it."

      Since it's inception, Rotary Charities have granted more than $55 million to organizations and non-profits in Grand Traverse, Leelanau, Benzie, Kalkaska and Antrim Counties.