Changemaker Cole Bailey is helping to fight bullying in his community
“I want to give people the help I desperately needed.”- Cole Bailey.
Nineteen-year-old Cornerstone student Cole Bailey was bullied at school; this experience inspired the creation of an anti-bullying community project that Cole now helps to run.
According to a recent study, more than 3.2 million learners are bullied yearly in South Africa, the country that ranks second in the world for cyber-bullying. Cole was one of the many victims of bullying in South African schools, but Cole’s story did not end with him becoming another bullying statistic. With the help of his family, he has used his experience to contribute to an initiative that brings safety, hope and awareness to children in similar situations.
The Kind Heart Bench Project
When Cole’s father, Bradley Bailey, discovered his son was being bullied at school, he decided to start a project to prevent bullying. As a result, the Kind Heart Bench Project was founded in 2014.
The Kind Heart Bench Project, which was relaunched in 2020, now runs in several schools in the Western Cape. The project aims to highlight and address peer pressure, bullying and other mental health issues. Participating schools receive a ‘kindness bench’ placed on the school grounds to provide a safe space for students to connect with each other. This bench is a visual reminder to talk to and engage openly and to encourage peer-to-peer conversations. The project also runs workshops in schools that raise awareness around mental health issues.
Research shows that 67% of bullied children do not report bullying incidents because they feel nothing will change. The Kind Heart Bench Project is determined to show that change is indeed possible by creating a narrative of inclusion, love and kindness and urging communities to work together to support bullied, depressed, and marginalised kids.
The organisation’s work engages school principals, students, governing bodies, counsellors, grade heads, and school nurses, operating on the premise that everyone has a role to play in creating meaningful change.
In addition to helping run the Kind Heart Bench Project, Cole runs a clothing business called “Blessed by God”, which aims to motivate the youth with its message. He also uses his talents as a musician to express himself and inspire others.
Cole describes himself as a determined and driven individual passionate about helping and inspiring others; He is currently enrolled at Cornerstone Institute, where he hopes to use this qualification to help more people.
Cole Bailey, the once-bullied child, is now a Cornerstone change maker and community development student who is determined to drive social change. When Cole says: “Today’s generation is faced with many problems that affect them mentally. I know for a fact that many have the same story like myself. So I want to give people the help I desperately needed”, this resonates with what we mean when we say that people come to Cornerstone Institute to Learn to Change the World.
Learn more about Cornerstone Institute: https://cornerstone.ac.za/
Find out about the Kind Heart Bench Project: https://www.saferspaces.org.za/be-inspired/entry/kind-heart-bench-project.