Altoona residents were tackling an important issue Tuesday night.
A bully prevention seminar was held at the Altoona Center for Martial Arts. People were talking about bullying and the options kids can take to prevent it from happening.
“We want to make sure that kids have the right understanding of what’s going on and that they are absolutely confident in speaking up and making sure something gets done,” Ryan Hollen, who is a child therapist, behavioral specialist & clinical supervisor, said.
By taking a martial arts class, kids not only learn the techniques to defend themselves, but also learn the importance of being confident.
“Not all of it is getting out there to fight and kick,” Stephen Smith, owner of the Altoona Center for Martial Arts, said. “It’s carrying yourself right in school. It’s being able to walk down the hall with your head held high because you know you have some options.”
Emily Rodgers started classes after she was bullied on the bus. It has given her the courage to now stand up to others.
“If me and my friends see someone getting bullied we would step in and help,” Rodgers told us. “We wouldn’t just let that go.”
By keeping the conversation going, people at the martial arts center hope to one day stop bullying.
“The most empowering thing is to look around and say, ‘I am not the only person this is happening to and there’s nothing wrong with me,'” Hollen said.
Although there was a disappointing turnout, the business does want to still have more seminars. They told us next time they’ll have people pre-register.