Recently I was in St John's and as I turned a corner, I saw a man laying out on the sidewalk, seemingly unconscious. There were 2 others standing nearing him monitoring the situation. I heard an ambulance coming up the street. We inquired if any assistance was needed, but by then the ambulance had pulled up beside the man. It's not the first time I have come across a person who may or may not be in distress. I have seen people laying on a sidewalk, bench, or a storefront 'cubby' area and always do a quick assessment of whether I should intervene. Likely to the frustration of some previously sleeping folks, I have shaken awake a couple of people I have come across as I wanted to make sure they were in fact okay. But I am never fully confident of when I should intervene or when I should just let people be. How does one know when a behaviour is simply different than my own experience and when that behaviour is a sign that someone is in distress and in need of support? I have often said that I wish there was a course to help me better assess these situations. Well, now there is. Take a look at the description of this Active Bystander Training class offered by the Mennonite Central Committee:
This class "provides participants the opportunity to see themselves as potential Active Bystanders who can intervene when they are witness to abusive, isolating or stigmatizing behaviour. The training teaches them about pro-social behaviour, making them more aware of why they may be hesitant to intervene and encourages them to consider taking action in the future. The program focuses on behaviours relating to interpersonal violence (such as abuse, bullying/hazing, physical violence, dating/relationship violence, and sexual violence) and signs of loneliness or emotional distress.
From a community perspective, priming (Active) Bystanders to intervene when they see problematic situations can improve feelings of individual ability and effectiveness and encourages caring and support for others. Bystander Intervention Training provides an impetus for personal action and helps potential Active Bystanders to envision how they can be a part of improving our community in an everyday way."
The class runs from 2-5:30pm on Sunday, Sept. 15th at the Community Room at 50 Kent Ave. The class costs $10 and you need to register. #365ofgoodWR