PARIS – The Rape Education And Crisis Hotline, the sexual assault center of Oxford County and the towns of Bridgton and Harrison, recently received a $5,700 grant from the Oxford County Fund of the Maine Community Foundation to support bullying prevention work in the SAD 17 elementary schools.

“This bullying prevention project has the potential to positively affect all of Oxford County, Harrison and Bridgton, with Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School Respect Team students doing presentations in SAD 17. Then they will train other high school students to do this work in other schools too,” said Jeanie Stone, REACH school-based educator and Respect Team adviser.

The Respect Team consists of a group of 20 high school students who are working to “Make a Difference” in their school and their community. Along with the team, the pilot project has collaborated with Norway Police Chief Rob Frederico and his officers, and the Oxford County Cooperative Extension and its educator, Susan Jennings.

The prevention program is designed to focus on building self-esteem and emphasize the importance of thinking of each individual as “an awesome person the way they are.”

Pilot program curriculum has been designed for kindergarten through grade two using puppets, police officers and the Respect Team students, with the intention of providing puppets for each SAD 17 elementary school.

REACH provides a 24-hour-a-day hotline at 1-800-871-7741, staffed by trained volunteers and staff.

The Maine Community Foundation makes grants and provides leadership to strengthen Maine communities. For more information, visit the Web site at or call toll-free at 1-877-700-6800.

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