Preventing Cyberbullying

Have you or a family member ever been a victim of cyberbullying?

Before presenting at our event, Sara Broers, owner of Social Connections took a quick poll of those from North Iowa (and beyond) and found that 66 percent replied, “Yes.”

Cyberbullying is a pervasive issue everywhere and North Iowa is no exception. As Bridges staff, we’ve heard parents and school staff describe their struggles dealing with cyberbullying and hoped Sara could provide some understanding and advice on the topic.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County, we were able to host Broers and invite the community to attend free of charge. Here’s what we learned about cyberbullying:

Lacey into Cyberbullying

Bridges Program Coordinator Lacey introduces Broers

What Exactly Is Cyberbullying? : According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices. Examples include sending harassing text messages or posting a photo of someone without their permission and making fun of them online.

Which Apps Are Popular Cyberbullying Platforms? : Broers feels parents should be concerned if they find apps like Kik, Yik Yak,, Secret & Tinder & Snapchat on their children’s phone and iPads.

What Should A Child or Youth Do If They Are The Victim Of Cyberbullying? Tell an adult like a parent or teacher. Save the email or text message instead of deleting it! Don’t forward it on to others. If you are an adult and it’s serious, connect with law enforcement. If you are unsure, talk to someone.

How Can We Prevent Cyberbullying?

  • Whether you are an adult or youth, Broers emphasized being nice online and offline.
  •  Broers advised students to notice what color their teacher’s eyes are on the first day of school. They will appear confident and sit taller.
  • Know which apps your children are using and don’t be afraid to set limitations. For example, if your child has a Facebook account, make it mandatory for them to “friend” you.
  • As a parent, YOU are ultimately responsible for the phones/iPads/computer accounts you pay for. You truly need to know how your children are interacting with others online, not only their their safety, but because you are liable for the  activity on their account.
  • Teach children empathy. How would they feel if they were in the other person’s place? Teach and practice kindness. Kindness matters.
  • Stand up to bullies: We all need to peacefully stand up together against bullying behaviors instead of just being bystanders or ignoring these behaviors. For example, Broers described a situation that occurred in North Iowa where a youth was bullied and beat-up on a school bus while the other youth egged it on and took phone videos. What a difference we could make if we all said no to bullying.

Sara Presenting Cyberbullying

Finally, Broers reminded us that online interactions can also lead to good things! If your child enjoys being online, help them connect with positive role models and those who are experts in their fields of interest. Help them find people who provide encouragement and wisdom.

If you would like to contact Sara for further information, visit her Social Connections website. She shared a lot of important information about preventing cyberbullying and empowering our children to know how to appropriately respond if they should encounter a cyberbully.

Additional Resources:
Cyberbullying Research Center
Dr. Michelle Borba
11 Possible Signs of Cyberbullying 

Bricks for Bridges Fundraiser

Bridges is kicking off our newest fundraising effort with Bricks for Bridges.

Like many nonprofits, Bridges Mentoring is sustained by grants, fundraisers, and generous donations. We’re fortunate to receive so much support from our community, whether its financial support or volunteer efforts.

For this year’s fundraiser, we wanted to sell a unique item that’s different than traditional fundraising products like wrapping paper and magazines. Lacey’s mother crafts custom garden bricks which is how we came up with the idea of Bricks for Bridges.

Each brick with one logo costs $30, while bricks with two logos cost $35. You can customize each one with your choice of name, sports team or logo.Every dollar that we raise will go towards sustaining our programming.

Bridges Brick Collage for Facebook

You can also choose other design possibilities. LeAnn has painted the following logos for customers: Minnesota Twins, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Dale Earnhardt Sr., Jeff Gordan, Case International, Harley Davidson, and the Arizona Cardinals. For those with special requests, she has also painted knitting needles and balls of yarn, crosses, and people’s favorite pets.

Bricks for Bridges New Collage no title

Contact us for an order form. You can also email our Program Coordinator Lacey with questions about your brick design at It’s not too late to order a brick as a Christmas gift!

Final brick flyer 2 jpg

What Have Our Mentors & Mentees Been Up To In June?

We look forward to hearing about all of the ways our mentors and mentees spend time together each month. They reported so many fun activities during June, that we couldn’t help but share them with you:

Planting Flowers

image: barrethall

-Planting flowers

Trap shooting

-Playing checkers & drinking smoothies at Kountry Kupboard in Osage.

Opening a lemonade stand at a mentor’s garage sale. 

-Creating gravestone rubbings at the cematary.

Watching a movie and eating popcorn at home. 

-Attending a mentee’s sports game.

Having a spa day with manicures and pedicures at home.

-Getting ice cream from Stan’s Drive-In in Osage.

-Going on a picnic

– Working on Modge Podge crafts .

Making donuts

-Creating wood working projects such as birdhouses and bean bag game boards.

Baking red velvet cupcakes and apple crisp.

-Walking along the Harry Cook Nature Trail  and exploring Spring Park in Osage.

One of our mentees Alyssa made these beautiful art projects with her mentor Rae Anne. 

PicMonkey Collage

As you can see, the mentoring activity possibilities are endless! We look forward to seeing what they did in July.

Food, Fruit Art & Fun At Bridges’ Well Aware Event

On Monday evening, over 20 mentors and mentees attended Bridges’ Well Aware event to learn about health and wellness.

10561774_512878562179147_1428064989121915275_nThe Well Aware theme focused on teaching mentees how to take care of themselves from the inside-out. Four special guest speakers joined us to share their areas of expertise in fun and interactive ways.

St. Ansgar School Nurse  Emily Kuper shared tips for personal hygiene and each participant received a goodie bag filled with  a dental kit, shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, deodorant, soap, lip balm and a comb.

Lea Brians, owner of Lea Brian’s Hair Styling Salon in Osage discussed hair and sin care, and, in addition to donating her time, donated some salon-quality shampoo samples.

Finally, Carla and Erin from the North Iowa Community Action Family Health Center facilitated a dinner of  “make-your-own” chicken taco wraps and a fruit art contest. They also talked about making healthy food choices and provided everyone with some easy recipes.


The evening culminated in celebrating everyone’s fruit artwork. We were beyond impressed with all of the mentors and mentees’ creativity and skill.

PicMonkey Collage
This evening was made possible, free of charge, by a generous grant from the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County. Thank you to all of our mentors, mentees and parents who participated, our four special speakers,Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, and those who pitched in to help from cutting fruit to washing dishes.

We hope everyone will consider joining us for two upcoming workshops on cyberbullying and substance abuse prevention open to the whole community. The events are sponsored by the Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County so admission is FREE and includes refreshments. Visit our post for more information or RSVP on our Facebook page.

Save the Dates! Cyberbullying & Substance Abuse Workshops

Save the dates! We’re thrilled to share that we just finalized two upcoming workshops on cyberbullying and substance abuse prevention among youth. These events are open to the whole community and are FREE because of a generous grant from the Foundation for the Enhacement of Mitchell County. Don’t miss these opportunities to interact with these North Iowan experts in Mitchell County:

Sara BroersCyberbullying

Date: Monday, August 18th, 2014
4:30-5:30 p.m.
Osage Middle School Cafeteria, 820 Sawyer Drive, Osage, IA 50401
FREE. Refreshments will be provided.

Sara Broers has been active online through social media for 5 1/2 years. She blogs at All In An Iowa Mom’s Day and Travel With Sara. Through social media she has met and worked with some of the top cyberbullying/bullying experts in the industry. Sara will educate you on what apps are bullying platforms and offer advice on how to avoid cyberbullying and bullying in the workplace. Sara will define what bullying and cyberbullying are so you can work in a safer, smarter work environment. She is the owner of Social Connections, LLC out of North Central Iowa. Click here to RSVP on our Facebook page.

imgresPreventing Substance Abuse

Date: Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
5:30-6:30 p.m.
Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, 833 Ash Street, Osage, IA 50401
FREE admission & butterfly pork chop dinner courtesy of Signatures Supper Club.

Jay Pedelty, CPS, is a Prevention Specialist at Prairie Ridge-Addictions Treatment Services and certified instructor for Prime for Life program. He will present about preventing alcohol and drug abuse among young people.

Click here to RSVP on our Facebook page. Contact us or call (641) 732-3566 if you have any questions or want to RSVP to either of the events. We hope to see you there.