National Bullying Prevention Month (October) is fast approaching. Now is the time for you and your team to organize your observance if you would like to join the AAO in raising awareness of this challenging issue affecting children and teens.
For the second year, the AAO will observe National Bullying Prevention Month in October as a significant part of the celebration of National Orthodontic Health Month. The AAO 2020 observance, known as #bullyingbites, offers the following tools and creative materials:
● T-Shirt Graphic. Producing T-shirts and distributing them to your team and/or patients can help raise awareness as they wear and share the anti-bullying message. Members interested in a time-saving approach are welcome to use the AAO’s design. Alternatively, put your or a team member’s creativity to work on a customized anti-bullying concept and design for your practice.
No matter which direction you choose to go, you may find our new one-page guide will help your team make T-shirt production a turnkey process.
Once the T-shirts are produced and distributed, ask everyone to wear their shirts to observe Unity Day on October 21 (or another date of your choice).
Unity Day, an initiative of Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, asks participants worldwide to wear orange and support anti-bullying efforts by posting photos on social media. Last year, some AAO member practices elected to design their own Unity Day T-shirts (see below).
● Pledge Form. Developed by anti-bullying organization Stand for the Silent, the pledge form may be distributed and signed by AAO members, their employees and patients. The pledge states:
“From this day forward, I promise to respect those around me as well as respect myself. I am somebody, and I can make a difference. I can make another feel loved. I can be the helping hand that leads another back to the path of hope and aspiration. I will not stand silent as others try to spread hatred through my community. Instead, I pledge to lift up those victims and show them that their life matters. I will be the change because I AM SOMEBODY!”
● Communication Materials. Posters, social media posts, and a press release template may be used to amplify the anti-bullying message.
● Philanthropic Options. Those who may be interested in related charitable efforts may wish to consider the following:
- Financial support or volunteering as a provider for the AAO Donated Orthodontic Services (DOS) program; and
- Supporting Stand for the Silent. The anti-bullying organization provides educational assembly programs at schools nationwide, which may be sponsored by community members. If your practice is already active in supporting nearby schools or if you would like to get involved, sponsoring an anti-bullying presentation can be a unique way to help kids in your community.
The AAO plans to sponsor a presentation by Stand for the Silent at a school in Boston during the 2021 Annual Session (April 24-27).
Traditional National Orthodontic Health Month Materials are Available
In addition to the anti-bullying campaign, the AAO is in the process of updating its traditional National Orthodontic Health Month materials, including fliers, posters, social media posts and more.
Access the Current National Orthodontic Health Month Materials
(To access materials, log in and scroll down the linked page to National Orthodontic Health Month.)