Like too many others, Ben was bullied at school. He was excluded and made fun of, and it had a massive effect on his happiness and confidence. He felt alone: he spoke to his school counsellors and felt like he was getting better, until he realised that the bullies were telling other people things he thought had been said in confidence. He felt like this made things worse and was trapped in a vicious circle. He felt like nobody could help him.
Fortunately, Ben was wrong about there not being help. His dad found out about Kidscape’s ZAP workshops, and asked Ben if he’d like to go. Ben took the opportunity and his life changed.
At the one-day ZAP workshop, Ben met other young people in a similar situation and worked with the Kidscape team to build confidence and explore what to do when bullying happened. It was a turning point for Ben.
“This gave me the confidence I needed and a purpose to always be kind to people and always help whenever I can. This made me who I am now and I'll keep the promise to always try to be kind for the rest of my life.”
The skills you learn in a ZAP workshop don’t stop being useful once you leave school:
“The things I learnt in ZAP helped me every day while I was still in school and college, after that they sort of just became part of who I am and I've allowed them to help me deal with what people say to me or if I am ever laughed at for whatever reason. ZAP helped me realise that it doesn't matter what people think of me as long as I am happy with myself and as long as I am doing everything I can to be a good person.”
Ben’s family have stayed in touch with Kidscape. His dad participated in a charity bike ride to raise funds and awareness of how Kidscape can help children experiencing bullying. Now, at 19 years old, Ben himself did something remarkable, and became a regular donor to Kidscape at a young age. As soon as he started started earning money he wanted to give back to Kidscape for helping him.
Only 13% of under 24s give regularly to a charity. To young people who want to make a regular gift, Ben advises:
“When you don't earn much it can be difficult to make a regular donation. All I can recommend is if you really believe it is the right thing to do, then do it. If you want to keep the donation going I recommend setting it to come out the moment you are paid so that no matter what happens the donation will always be made.”
Of course, Ben also advises giving to Kidscape!
“To someone considering donating to Kidscape, I would say it’s really worth it, you are helping kids in the most difficult time of their lives and you will be making sure that they come out of that dark time confident and happy. It is by far the best charity for helping kids realise that who they are is perfect.”
Kidscape ZAP workshops have been running for two decades now, and we’re starting to see a generation of young people who have carried what they learned with them, and still use the ‘ZAP Tools’ every day. Some of our ZAP alumni become donors like Ben, or raise funds for Kidscape. Others volunteer their time to help out at ZAP workshops, or take time to raise awareness of the help Kidscape can give to other young people in the same position they were once in. After emerging from a ZAP workshop, 96% of young people feel more confident, and that confidence can stay with them for life.
Learn more about ZAP, and book a workshop if you feel your family could benefit.
If you’d like to join Ben in becoming a regular donor, please visit donate.kidscape.org.uk.
Register for ZAP
ZAP is a FREE one-day workshop for children and young people aged 9-16 who have experienced bullying. ZAP is currently available in London.