• Brooks Gibbs


    Speaker gives students skills to defuse hurtful situations


    “Don’t get upset. Treat them like a friend.”


    Those were the powerful words of advice that a noted speaker in the field of resilience education had for Hamburg students to use to defuse a hurtful situation and to avoid feeling like a victim. Resisting the natural instinct to fight meanness with meanness is a skill that takes practice, said Brooks Gibbs, a prominent teen life strategist and author who spoke to Grades 5-12 students in November. Taking the anger out of a verbal confrontation throws aggressors off balance and shifts power away from them, he explained.


    And in the process, “You’ll be happy with who you become,” he promised those who can master this skill.


    Throughout a day at Hamburg Central, Mr. Gibbs gave presentations to students, to Middle School and High School staff members after school and parents in the evening, tailoring each segment to his audience. He also worked directly with the High School’s 30 student Ambassadors, who promote a culture of kindness with their peers. The Ambassadors will incorporate what they learned into presentations that they’ll do at the four elementary schools in February.


    The youth speaker’s visit was coordinated by the school district’s Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) team, with social worker Kristina LaMendola and teacher Rebecca Nahrebeski leading the effort. It was funded in part by a grant from the Hamburg Alumni Foundation, with support from the Parent-Child Connection.


    -- Nov. 8, 2016