Anti-bullying speaker takes positive approach

ALAMOSA – Josh Drean, recognized as one of the most entertaining and prolific youth speakers in the nation, is kicking off his “Defeat Bullying Positively” tour with a fresh perspective on how to eliminate bullying in schools.

He will be speaking at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 12, at Ortega Middle School in Alamosa. OMS’ Positive Behavior Intervention & Supports committee is sponsoring the event.

“A lot of anti-bullying programs and speakers focus on the negatives, like abuse and suicide,” Drean says. “Research shows that when we focus on the negatives, the results are negative. My program seeks to reinforce positive behaviors in students by inspiring them to choose to be kind and respectful.”

In the past year alone, Drean has been featured on NBC Morning News, FOX News and has reached more than 100,000 students across the United States and Canada. He delivers his encouraging message to over 150 schools and student events each year and is instrumental in developing bullying curriculum for several organizations such as the Student Safety Advocacy Council (SSAC), Counseling and Psychology Services (CAPS), and Youth to Youth International (Y2Y).

Drean uses an entertaining combination of beatboxing, interactive activities, and engaging stories from his days as an unlikely college cheerleader and school mascot to teach students an important message.

“The purpose of a mascot is to stand as an ideal for people to rally behind, to represent something bigger than yourself,” Drean states. “Students learn to stand up and represent themselves and others in their social interactions.”

Drean focuses on developing empathy, resiliency and self-respect in students to help them turn bullying experiences into a positive learning opportunity.

Kara Santucci, bully prevention specialist at Child Abuse Prevention Services in Great Neck, NY, has worked closely with Josh to defeat bullying on Long Island. She says of Drean’s work, “Josh was amazing. What I really enjoyed about his message was that he was positive. It can be hard to engage kids and get them to open up. What struck me is that he did that within the first five to seven minutes. And as someone watching the presentation, I saw kids’ faces change.”

Drean is a senior speaker for the Student Safety Advocacy Council (SSAC), and he is one of the primary curriculum developers for student anti-bullying instruction. He is currently working with the SSAC to implement his curriculum throughout the United States. He is also a featured speaker for BullySpeak.

Drean has been a keynote speaker for the Future Farmers of America (FFA), Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), and Student Safety Advocacy Council (SSAC). He was a featured speaker at the National Conference on Bullying last year and has been a senior coordinator for the New York Public Library System to implement family-focused anti-bullying classes across New York State.

Drean reaches over 100,000 students every year across the United States and Canada, speaking at 150 schools and student events.

Josh Drean/Courtesy photo