Bullying is prevented by example and cooperation
The city of Vantaa has invested in special youth work in schools and learning institutions. In the past years there have been as many as 15 special youth workers in high and upper secondary schools.
School safety has recently been a hot topic in Vantaa and youth work has also been directed to lower school levels. Five youth workers are being recruited for primary schools. The goal is to increase schoolers’ wellbeing, which is also a part of city’s program of positive special treatment.
The sense of security is a priority on student level. In Martinlaakso elementary school 8th – and 9th -graders can join a preventive anti-bullying M-Crew operation. The group members take an active lookout in pairs and make sure bullying doesn’t happen during recess.
They are both good examples to look up to and influencers inside the school community. According to inquiries the M-Crew effort has noticeably decreased bullying at Martinlaakso school.
Everything is done in close co-operation with special youth workers. They are safe and familiar adults, that provide support both in and outside the school day. Their job is to combine schoolwork with free time in meaningful ways.
The Martinlaakso youth center located adjacent to the school functions as a concrete bridge between school and free time.
Special youth workers, Kari Järvinen and Anni Salovaara, also take the work outside on the field. After school they go out to malls, yards and wherever the young people spend their time.
– On site youth work compliments the efforts in the school. This way we get the full picture and not just small sliver of youths’ lives, say Salovaara and Järvinen.