Dutchess Mediation Center hosts event on Walkway
Anti-bullying Walk raises $12,000
More than 300 people from throughout the Hudson Valley spoke out against bullying Saturday on the Walkway Over the Hudson. The fourth annual Anti-bullying Walkathon, hosted by the Mediation Center of Dutchess County, raised more than $12,000 for the agency’s anti-bullying programs. “We get (reports about bullying incidents) every month from school officials, from young people and their parents,” said Jody Miller, executive director of the Mediation Center. “Bullying is preventable, but it takes the whole community. Holding this event enables us to develop multiple strategies to combat bullying in conjunction with our community partners.”
Red Hook High School graduate William Wasik
Anti-bullying walkathon participants on the Walkway
Dr. Marie Michele Constant, a physician from TLC Pediatrics in Poughkeepsie, told the crowd clinical studies have shown bullying can lead to multiple physical and mental disorders. “The constant state of anxiety and stress caused by bullying has negative effects on the body and brain,” Dr. Constant said.
Red Hook High School graduate William Wasik kicked off the walk by cutting a ribbon at the Poughkeepsie entrance to the Walkway. Wasik, currently a nursing student at Columbia Greene Community College, said he had been bullied by fellow students for most of his life. He said he decided to speak publicly about his own experiences to encourage others to seek help. “I decided I would become a voice for those who might be afraid to speak up,” Wasik said. “No matter what anyone tells you, you are somebody. You do matter.” Dutchess County Legislator Ellen Nesbitt, R-Town of Poughkeepsie, thanked the Mediation Center for taking a leading role in combating bullying. “Bullying, particularly cyber bullying, is a growing problem, and it’s great to see Dutchess County getting out in front of it,” Nesbitt said.
Other public officials attending the event included state Sen. Sue Serino, R-Hyde Park; Assemblywoman Didi Barrett, D-Millbrook; county Legislator Francena I. Amparo, D-Wappinger; Rhinebeck Village Justice John Kane and Red Hook Town and Village Justice Jonah Triebwasser.