The Bully-Proof Campaign

A few months ago, I had the good fortune of being invited to attend a forum on the Anti-Bullying campaign of Reedley International School. This came at the heels of my own daughters’ bout with school bullies. So you can imagine how passionate I was…still am….about this.

Bullying, as we all know, is a prevalent evil that has become a big problem in almost all schools. The act of bullying isn’t confined to physical mauling and similar acts. Bullying can be in the form of verbal assault like name calling and teasing. Scare tactics is also another form of bullying. And in the school setting, taking of someone else’s things by force is another form of bullying.

As a parent, I have very strong feelings about bullying. As a parent of 2 children who have been bullied very recently, I am passionate about putting a stop to bullying.

And this is the very reason that this forum was a much appreciated affair.

Reedley International School prides itself in implementing an anti-bullying campaign aptly named, “I am Bully Proof At Heart, In Mind and In Spirit.” This program aims to quash any and all forms of bullying in the school as well as empowering its students to deal with this problem.

To help the students understand and take this campaign to heart, several steps were taken. All students and teachers were asked to sign a contract and a pledge stating that they will not tolerate bullying in the school. Several activities (such as essay writing, film showing, and open forums/testimonials) have been lined up to uphold the interests of the campaign. The students were also encouraged to be supportive of other students who have been bullied.

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Bullies Not Welcome

Growing up, I had my fair share of dealing with bullies. It is a well known fact that any school yard is home to a posse of bullies. And with the school bully comes the school bullied. To be honest, I was both. I used to be bullied. Unfortunately, when I learned to stand up for myself, I also did some bullying…just a little.

Bullying need not be confined to physical acts of aggression. Emotional and mental torment also fall into the category.

Fast forward…..I have new bullies to deal with. It started with Gaby when she was in prep. Sometime around the middle of the schoolyear, I would catch this worried look on her face whenever I would drive her to school. It took a while before she finally opened to me. Apparently, one of her classmates was bullying her. Initially, I did what any “newbie” mother would do. I went to school and I reported the incident to the Prep Director. Then I spoke to the kid’s mom and then to the kid. Lastly, I instructed Gaby to fight back. And fight back she did. Needless to say, the bullying from this kid stopped.

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Bring Your Own Mobile Phone

My daughters’ school does not allow the students to bring their own mobile phones. Its the policy. However, they do make exceptions. Like when the kids are on a field trip or when there is a previous arrangement that the child will be picked up a little later than usual. In these cases, the phone has to be on silent and cannot be brought out until dismissal times.

We follow this rule. To the T. Despite the fact that I gave the girls their own simple mobile phones (free stuff from all these credit card and mobile network promos). They want to follow the rule. Even Adi, who has repeatedly declared that she WANTS her own Iphone (better check out those best buy coupons), is afraid to bring a phone to school.

But, I took exception to the rule. During the last rainy season when flash floods were an almost daily occurence, I insisted that they take their own phone to school. Hidden in the inner recesses of their bags, I instructed them that the phone was to be used ONLY in emergency cases. Those cases would be an automatic suspension of classes or when I couldn’t get to them as early as I usually do. Luckily, nothing came up to warrant the use of those phones.

A few days ago, a massive earthquake struck the Visayas region. The news was rife with predictions that the Big One that would hit Manila was long overdue. I really don’t want to imagine what that will be like. I’m just praying that it doesn’t happen.

And because of this, I have resurrected the phones. The girls still have to get the hang of having a phone. Gaby almost always forgets to turn it on. But it’s good that they have it tucked away in their bags just for emergency purposes.

Why I Don’t Plan Parties Anymore

Next week, my Adi will be turning 7. This goes without saying that we will be celebrating. But unlike when both my kids celebrated their 1st birthdays, I won’t do any party planning anymore. I won’t stress over a venue, a caterer, and a party host. I won’t hire a balloon decorator or a magician. And I won’t be making the arduous trip to Divisoria to buy toys and giveaways for the loot bag…not to mention the prizes for the games. So why don’t I plan parties anymore?

Well, when Gaby turned 7 she decided that she wanted to have her party at this newly opened branch of Shakey’s. I had my reservations, to be completely honest. I used to love planning parties. And I enjoyed all the stress that went with it.

When Gaby turned 1, we had a huge party. Wasn’t really surprising since she’s the first born. We rented a wonderful venue, got a host, an uber expensive magician, got food booths, and had a balloon decorator pretty up the place.

When Adi turned 1 it was pretty much the same with one major difference…I decided to do the balloon decorations myself. It was a fiesta themed party so aside from the balloons, I made “banderitas” to hang all over the place.

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The Worm Bin Project – Part 1 (Building the bin)

It was around 2 years ago when I was formally introduced to vermicomposting. For those who don’t know what this is, it is the process of creating organic fertilizer using earthworms.

As I was saying, I was formally introduced to vermicomposting while on a visit to a plant show at the Manila Seedling Bank. A vermicomposter had a booth and I took a look. I’ve always been interested in vermicompost but I never had the desire to make it myself. Until I saw that booth. Upon seeing the wrigglers, I was hooked.

I bought myself a kilo of worms and attempted to create my own vermicompost bin using an old plastic trash can.

It was rather easy. My bin thrived for a good 4 months starting around February until around May. Without sounding too harsh, my worms died in the heat of summer. And I never attempted to do it again..until now.

To kick start my new project, I checked online on a better way to make a worm bin. Since I have limited space at home, I could not accomodate a farm-grade type of bin. Luckily, I was able to find a nifty way of creating a worm bin using either plastic buckets or plastic storage boxes that one can easily find at the nearest SM Home section..ahem. So anyway, I decided to start small. I got myself 4 9-liter plastic boxes. One worm bin would need 2 boxes. The first box for the worms and the 2nd box to catch all the worm tea…more on that later.

What you will need for making your own worm bin are the following :

2 plastic storage boxes (whatever size you like)
shredded newspaper

First you need a drill with a small bit.

Take the storage box and drill several holes on the top cover, top portion of each long side, and the bottom. The holes on the cover and the side of the box are for aeration because every worm bin needs sufficient air just like a compost bin. The bottom holes are to allow the worm tea to flow out.

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