Sylvan Lake youth and parents learned more about bullying and its victims through a presentation presented by the Community Helpers Program.
Tad Milmine, a police officer with the Calgary City Police and motivational speaker, spoke to a small audience about his story and how it brought him to helping others who may be going through similar situations.
He said he always wanted to be a police officer because he wanted to help people, and while he did eventually go on to become an officer, he never expected to be a motivational speaker and speak to close to one million people about his story.
“I was incredibly introverted and shy, and I cried a lot… If someone had told me I would be a motivational speaker I would not have believed them,” Milmine said.
His shyness, crying, anxiety and depression stemmed from an abusive home life and being bullied everyday at school.
He said in the years since being at school he has become very interested in the bullies themselves, what makes them tick and why they do the things they do – as a child or as an adult.
A bully needs two things; a target and an audience.
Milmine remembers being bullied in school, the name calling, being pushed and beaten. While all this happened none of the other kids in his class stepped in or said anything to stop it.
“They were doing what they thought was right, they weren’t getting involved because then they would become a target.
“However, I’ve learned now, that they weren’t doing the right thing. They were actually fuelling the bullies by giving them an audience,” he said.
The other problem he has come to realize since his days of being bullied and abused, is that he felt entirely alone in his problem.
Milmine never reported he was being bullied or abused because he felt no one could relate, that this was only happening to him, and that no one else in the entire world had ever gone through anything even remotely similar.
“That’s how a lot of kids feel, like this is happening only to them, that no one else could possibly relate.”
Eventually, at the age of 17 and years of wishing someone would notice something was wrong, Milmine left home and spoke with a social worker.
“I realized I couldn’t expect anyone to help me if I didn’t say anything, if I didn’t ask,” Milmine said.
In 2011 Milmine read a news article about 15-year-old Jamie Hubley. He had committed suicide after years of bullying.
He said he was inspired by Jamie Hubley’s story and vowed to do something, anything to help others.
Bullying Ends Here was created in 2012.
“The whole point of the program was to reach out to those struggling in silence and provide them with the ability to connect through the website. To have a friend.”
Milmine says it is important for others to not feel alone, and for parents to understand the types of bullying, from name calling to cyber bullying.
That is why he volunteers his time to speak with youth and parents across the country, and sometimes even travelling to other countries.
Since Bullying Ends Here began in 2012, the website has received over 10,000 emails, and averages around 700 a month.