Trinity Bay kids learn to put friendship first to end bullying

The Masonic Lodge has been showcasing its anti-bullying presentation to students across the province to bring awareness during anti-violence month.

The Masonic Lodge in Trinity Bay has developed an anti-bullying program for kids

About 200 students took in the Masonic Lodge's This Little Light presentation at Woodland Elementary in Dildo on Feb. 21. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Members of Masonic Lodge in Heart's Content have spent the month of February teaching young students in the region about the dangers of bullying.

The program is called This Little Light, and its core message is to teach children to put friendship first.

"We feel we are doing something worthwhile in the lives of these children," said Mason Kinsley Welsh.

"My philosophy is that if you can reach one child, and save one child the anguish of being bullied, then the program is successful."

Kinsley Welsh said the anti-bullying campaign is a way for the Masonic Lodge to connect with the community. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The Masonic Lodge has showcased its anti-bullying assembly to about 600 students from kindergarten to Grade 6 at schools in Dildo, Chapel Arm, Whitbourne, Winterton and Bay de Verde to bring awareness during anti-violence month.

The hour-long assembly features interactive presentations, singing, a poster contest and a puppet show to explain to children how the affects of bullying can last a long time, and what kids can do to stop bullying.

Some of the students at Woodland Elementary in Dildo played in the band while everyone else sang along to This Little Light of Mine. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The presentation also discusses some of the reasons that someone might behave like a bully.   

The program, which has been ongoing for nearly a decade, began as a way to engage with the public, Welsh said, with the hopes of alleviating some social stresses that affect young children.  

Area MHA Sherry Gambin-Walsh presented an award to Woodland Elementary Grade 3 student Zoe George, who was one of two students to win a poster contest showing how students can put friendship first. (Gary Locke/CBC)

The message seemed to get across loud and clear to the student body, including Grade 5 student Abbie Thorne.

"Well, I learned that you have to be a friend to everybody ... and if there's someone not like you, you can still be nice to them," she said.  

Student Abbie Thorne enjoyed the presentation's puppet show, and said everyone is responsible for helping to end bullying. (Gary Locke/CBC)

Members of the Masonic Lodge intend to keep the program going for years to come. They credit a partnership with the region's schools and their administration for making This Little Light such a success.