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Anti Bullying Advocate

I have been coming to Lavallette since 1972. I belong to the Lavallette Yacht Club, and I used to be a Commodore there. The yacht club in Lavalllette is just fantastic. I was a city boy. I was never on a boat until I was 28. My wife got me into it, and she grew up down here. When I married her, I married the yacht club, and I have been sailing ever since.

“I have a Masters Degree in Counseling and am a retired counselor. I have always liked working with kids. When I was a counselor, I had a program on kids getting bullied. I had a peer mediation program. In the school I worked at it was a very low-income area, in New Jersey. I worked with special needs kids there as well. I taught these kids how to deal with their problems in a peaceful way, and what to do when they were bullied.

“My philosophy with bullying is, the ones bullied need help, and the ones doing the bullying need counseling. But I really wanted to emphasize that the ones who could stop the bullying, the ones who could make the difference, were the spectators who saw it happening. I did workshops for teachers in South Jersey at the time, and I had two of the teachers play-act. I had one teacher be the bully, and the other be the one bullied. When the teacher started teasing the other, I had all of the people in the audience say loudly, ‘Stop that! We don’t do that here!’ And they all did it. And the teacher ‘bully’ said, ‘Holy smokes, that was powerful!’ I think we have to work on the spectators more.

“When I was a counselor, I never said I was ‘going to work,’ when I was going to school for the day. I always said, ‘I’m going to go and talk with kids.’ It wasn’t a job to me. It was an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. The greatest compliment I ever got was from the principal. He said to me, ‘George, I have to tell you something. You’ve been here ten years, and it’s a better place because you’re here.’ That meant the world to me, to know I was making a difference.”

~ Lavallette

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