Program to combat bullying with art

COCOLAMUS – A splatter of paint to a canvas may be the voice that speaks to teens this month.

An anti-bullying program known as “Painting Hope” will be featured during school hours on Nov. 14 at East Juniata High School and Nov. 15 at Midd-West High School. A parents’ night forum is scheduled for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Midd-West High School.

Eric Timm is the artist bringing the presentation. He said the main three topics he will focus on are “The power of words. Words of Life or death; The power of choice. Breaking the cycle; and The power of story. Share yours.”

Timm did not want to give away too much of what he plans to share at the schools.

“My personal story? People will have to come,” he said.

Art has been his center for expressing himself.

“Art and music specifically became a great outlet for me. We all go through times that hurt. It’s what we do with that hurt that determines a lot,” he said. “Art and music have helped me to choose healthy choices when dealing with pain in my own life. I think just by using those elements encourages students to think outside the box and find what will help them.”

He will use his painting while music plays in the background to tell stories and relate it to the three topics mentioned. He said he will read letters given to him by other students that describe their bullying experiences.

He describes his target audience as “students who may be holding on by a thread.”

Most of all, he shared, he wants all in attendance to have fun and to listen carefully.

“If they take what I tell them into their school, their school will change,” Timm said.

Timm is finishing a master’s degree in transformational leadership and is starting on his Ph.D in storytelling.

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Timm also will be at Grace Covenant Church, in Middleburg, from 1-9 p.m. Nov. 16. Cost is $10.