Kim Karr, Upper Iowa University alumna and co-founder of #ICANHELP, will host a trio of discussions on cyberbullying in the UIU Student Center in Fayette on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
FAYETTE, Iowa (February 16, 2016) – An Upper Iowa University alumna is bringing an empowering message to the University’s Fayette campus to help people of all ages eliminate negativity in social media. Kim Karr ’01 will host a pair of #iCANHELP assemblies geared toward area fifth- through eighth-grade students Wednesday, Feb. 17, before holding a public session at 6:30 p.m. in the UIU Student Center.
A Decorah native, Karr currently teaches physical education and leadership to students at Excelsior Middle School in Byron, Calif. In 2013, she and fellow leadership instructor Matt Soeth were inspired to co-found #iCANHELP after a concerned student shared that a fake and damaging Facebook page had been created about a local teacher.
The two educators quickly discovered that students wanted to do something about bullying and negativity on social media sites; they just needed to be provided the right tools to respond. Through school assemblies, student leadership trainings, social media campaigns, and public presentations, #iCANHELP now provides young people the added confidence to better control the influences in their lives.
“Our message is clear. One person has the power to make a difference in removing online negativity and combating bullying in his, her, or another individual’s life,” explained Karr. “We want young people to learn how they can provide a positive influence to others suffering from bullying. Whether it be by checking in on someone who is having a bad day, commenting on a rude post, or reporting hateful sites, one person can make a difference!”
Karr noted educators across the nation are witnessing an increase in social media problems spilling onto their campuses. School personnel are inquiring how to deal with the issue and how to better educate students about social media and its proper use.
In addition to being fearful of speaking out against cyber or any type of bullying, students often question why so many adults don’t understand how important social media is to today’s youth. At the same time, parents are asking: How old should my child be to get their own social media site? What ARE all of these social media sites? How can I keep my child/teenager safe online?
#iCANHELP staff members have spoken to elementary, middle, and high school students at an estimated 150 schools since the organization’s inception. Currently, Karr has taken a yearlong leave of absence from her teaching duties to distribute the program’s message to schools and communities in the U.S., Canada, and potentially England and Sweden.
Area adults and children are invited to join UIU students, faculty and staff in attending the #iCANHELP discussion at 6:30 p.m. in the UIU Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 17.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to about 5,800 students–nationally and internationally–at its Fayette campus, 25 U.S. education locations, as well as locations in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit uiu.edu.