On The Beat: 09/08

FLOC Anti-bullying rally kicks off

By Jim Bucher

I remember being a scrawny kid; in grade school, I was pushed around by guys bigger than me, which in most cases was just about everybody. Bullying was a part of school life. Now, it wasn’t all the time, but occasionally it was worrisome.

That part of life for me at least is gone, but for many youngsters it happens daily. Beth Mann is well aware of the issue and plans on not just talking, but doing something tangible.

She and her organization FLOC (For the Love of Children) will present the Second Annual Anti-Bullying Rally this Saturday at McIntosh Park.

“We’ll have testimonials at the rally, both by the bully and by the bullied,” Mann says. “We’ll educate, we’ll offer resources. We’ll have bands playing on two stages, different entertainers and informational facts on bullying and its effects offered on a consistent basis. There will be food and drink and hope.”

The bullying stories are gut-wrenching.

“One of the families invested in this rally lost their son, Paul, to suicide due to cyber bullying,” Mann explains. “Their story is heartbreaking, and they’re trying to put Paul’s message out there. Paul had an illness that was never identified—doctors were baffled by his symptoms, one of them being hair loss. The more hair he lost, the more his schoolmates taunted and tormented him. He was beaten up on a consistent basis. His parents went to the school, to the community, to his peers and pleaded for the bullying to stop. No one listened. One day, Paul came home and looked down at his phone at a text. His color changed. He told his mom he was going to go clean his room, she found his body an hour later. And never found out what the text held, but the message was enough for Paul to end his life.”

FLOC has changed with the times and the growing needs of children. It began in the early 1980’s by a small group of caseworkers who realized that the children they served would not be receiving Christmas cheer but for their input.

Christmas for Kids became the first program developed under FLOC’s supervision. In the early ’80s, 35 children received holiday cheer. Last year, FLOC served 2,261 children and now have stockings, stocking stuffers, coats, hats, mittens and gifts.

Christmas For Kids is now one of 14 very specific, very successful programs available through FLOC.

“We provide birthday gifts to all children in foster care, we have a tools for school program, wherein we have provided academic resource for thousands of children,” Mann says. “We have the Betsy Hoobler Skills Center where we have computers, tutors and mentors in place to work with our children who need academic resource.”

Recently FLOC added another mission to its growing slate of services. A very serious issue to confront.

“FLOC was approached two years ago by three young ladies who were contemplating or, in one case, had attempted suicide,” Mann continues. “In sitting down and hearing their stories, we were made painfully aware that in our current state, those children who are bullied have no avenue of escape. Cyber bullying is constant, and we need to educate our children where they can find comfort and resource.”

With that, the anti-bullying event was born in 2014 with over 300 in attendance.

“Our goal is to educate, to offer resources, to share stories, to make sure kids know they’re not alone,” Mann says. “To have a place where adults can learn how we can best help. That is the primary purpose of this rally- to put this reality out in the spotlight, and find any kind of hope and solution.”

Beth’s husband Doug, by the way, you may know from TV. He’s the Mann part of attorneys Dyer, Garofalo, Mann & Schultz.

When Beth and Doug they became empty nesters, and with Beth’s background as a child therapist, joining FLOC as a volunteer was a no brainer.

And, she adds, you too can do the same.

“It will give you a whole new perspective on how and why it feels so good to give back to your community, and in how you can change a child’s life,” she beams.

For the bully and the bullied,

Buch

The Second Annual Anti-Bullying Rally takes place Saturday, Sept. 12 from noon-7 p.m. at McIntosh Park, 882 W. Riverview Avenue/Edwin C. Moses Blvd. in Dayton. For more information about FLOC, please visit flocdayton.org. If you are interested in volunteering, please email Beth Mann at beth7mann@gmail.com.
For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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