Be a Friend


Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand:

How Young People Can Powerfully Promote Positive Relations

Embrace Civility in the Digital Age’s research-grounded, youth-led program, Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand, promotes positive norms and teaches effective skills that encourages young people:

  • To positively intervene when they witness bullying or other hurtful situations.
  • Not to be hurtful and to make things better if they have been.
  • To demonstrate self-confidence and resilience if someone is hurtful.

Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand incorporates strategies that focus on reinforcing positive peer norms and imparting effective skills. This program is appropriate for middle and high school aged young people.

An important additional component is professional development resources for adults that provide current research-grounded insight into bullying and other hurtful behavior along with initial intervention strategies that support youth acquisition of positive norms and effective skills.

The program has been designed to be used in schools and also a wide range of youth organizations, including after-school programs, youth organizations, religious organizations, and summer camps.

The Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand program includes the following components. You may freely preview components of this program by clicking on the links below. These resources are provided for preview only and may not be reproduced or used with staff or young people. You are, however, able to preview the entire program, with the exception of the professional development video for adults. You can preview the slides for this video.

  • A reproducible Booklet for students that addresses hurtful behavior, being a helpful ally, reaching out to be kind, saying “stop,” reporting concerns, not being hurtful and remedying the harm, and a positive action plan to become more self-confident. The preview format of this booklet is straightforward. The pages are designed to fit onto 8 1/2 X 14 sized paper in landscape format for reproduction. This will require 2 pieces of paper for each booklet, which will be printed in duplex and folded. Reproduction costs are the responsibility of the purchaser.
  • An optional Survey that can be used to identify young people’s norms, skills, and current incident rates. This Survey should be delivered electronically on a service such as Survey Monkey. The purchaser will have to implement the Survey on such a site. Instructions are provided. Schools are encouraged to use the Survey.
  • A Slideshow for young people. There are 2 versions of this Slideshow. One contains the addition of charts from the Survey. This is the example provided, but in PDF format. Note, this Slideshow has been created in Keynote on a Mac. The Slideshow without charts is provided in PDF format for easy showing. The Slideshow does not export well to Powerpoint, therefore if charts are to be added, the purchaser will have to use a Mac. Apologies.
  • A Youth Objectives document that is to be used in conjunction with the Survey, where the young people note current data and set forth positive objectives.
  • A Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand set of recommended Activities that can be used in organizations that allow members to earn pins or badges.
  • An 18 page reproducible Adult Guide that provides the research basis for this program and sets forth recommendations for initial intervention approaches by adults directly working with youth. This Guide provides vitally important information that all staff should know about underlying factors that perpetuate bullying, and how to encourage positive peer intervention, encourage those being hurtful to stop and remedy the harm, and assist students who are targeted in gaining greater self-confidence.  (More extensive investigations and interventions are addressed in Positive Relations @ School (& Elsewhere.)
  • A 45 minute narrated slideshow video that covers the information provided in the Adult Guide that can be used for professional development. The slides for this slideshow are provided for preview.

For those who might need to address the issue of bullying within a Summer Camp or other youth organization environment, an additional document is provided at no charge: Positive Relations @ Summer Camp. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed.



While most young people think bullying and other hurtful behavior is wrong, studies have shown they rarely intervene when they see this is occurring. Increasingly, the positive involvement of witnesses has been recognized as a critically important prevention and early intervention strategy.

As young people interact using digital technologies, a focus on positive interventions by witnesses becomes even more important, because often young people interact in digital environments where adults are not present. Further, studies have shown that young people often do not report negative experiences to adults, but they do tell their friends.

The Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand program is an approach that seeks to reduce the barriers for peer intervention in situations where bullying or conflict is witnessed. Two key barriers to be addressed are perception of risk to self, primarily risk to social status, that might occur as a result of intervening and the lack of skills to intervene in a manner that will be both safe and effective.

Young people who witness hurtful behavior are encouraged to:

  • Reach Out.  Reach out to be kind to the person being hurt and help to resolve conflict.
  • Say, “Stop.”  Publicly or privately tell the person being hurtful to stop.
  • Report Concerns. Tell an adult who can help.

It is also necessary to help those young people who do engage in hurtful behavior to reflect on their actions and stop. To restore relationships, it is  necessary that they take steps to make things right.

Young people who are the target of hurtful behavior could suffer from significant emotional harm. Positive strategies can be used to increase their self-confidence and gain greater resiliency.

Adults who work with young people require greater insight into the research and effective strategies to support young people in recognizing positive norms and gaining effective skills. Such adults, especially school staff, are advised to intervene if they see young people being bullied, but often are not advised as to how to do so effectively.

Times when young people are hurtful and this is witnessed by adults are perfect “teachable moments” for the adults to reinforce positive norms and help young people gain insight into effective skills. The Adult Guide and Video are directed to this objective.

Introductory Pricing for Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand

The Be a Friend ~ Lend a Hand program materials are provided to schools and organizations in a digital format. Schools and organizations are responsible for reproduction of the print materials. Purchasers can display the Slideshow and Video.

To ensure that the price reflects the size of the school or organization, the price is determined by the number of young people typically in the school or organization. Thus, a church group that typically has 30 young people would pay $30. A school that typically has 1,500 students, would pay $1,500. For schools, districts, or organizations with a greater number of young people than 1,500, contact us for discounted purchasing.

This is a one time payment that will allow the school or organization to reproduce the materials for young people and adults affiliated with the program into the future. If materials are revised, changed graphically, or additional resources are added, these will also be included in the original purchase price.

The introductory price is $1.00 per young person in the school or organization. You can send a P.O. via email. You can send a P.O. or check to 474 W 29th Avenue, Eugene Oregon 97405.

You can also purchase through PayPal. When purchasing through PayPal under “quantity” you will need to add the typical number of young people in your school or group. The price will be calculated from this. Upon payment, you will be immediately directed to a page where you can download all of the resources.


I would like to specifically thank Gary McDaniel, Clinical School Social Worker in Morgan Country Schools, West Virginia. Gary has been an early user of my positive norms strategies in his schools. His practical guidance on what works and what does not work has been exceptional helpful. I would also like to thank  Mary C. Friesz, doctoral student, for her assistance in some of the early stages of my research. Also, my discussions with Karen Siris have been exceptionally helpful. Karen is a principal in Long Island and author of Stand Up, an incredibly excellent book for elementary students on stepping up to help if a student is being bullied.

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