GARY | Dunbar-Pulaski eighth-grader Austin Green said he found a "healthy relationships" forum at Indiana University Northwest applicable to his experiences with bullying at the school.
"We talked about cyber bullying and not to encourage others to be bullies," he said. "There was a fight on the first day of school, and I went over to watch it.
"From the information I learned at the forum, that's not something I would do again. If I saw a fight or somebody bullying someone else, I'd report it and continue with my day."
Green was one of 61 students from the Gary middle school who attended the forum.
The day of learning was sponsored by IUN in partnership with the Gary Commission on the Social Status of Black Males. The sessions included topics related to understanding the family dynamic, interpersonal communication skills to enhance health or reduce health risks, conflict management or resolution strategies and building strong moral character.
The goal of the workshop was for students to learn the necessary skills to build and sustain positive relationships with their families and peers while also experiencing a collegiate environment.
Dorothy Ige, a professor and chairwoman of IUN's Department of Communication, focused on developing effective communication techniques.
She told students people are always communicating, whether verbally or non-verbally.
She told students that people sometimes say one thing but deliver a totally different message through their body language.
"When you go to a job interview, you have to project a certain image," Ige told students. She also gave them a short quiz as well as case studies to review and discuss.
Danny Doss, a retired child protection case manager, talked to students about forming and maintaining positive interpersonal relationships.
He emphasized to students that everyone is special and unique.
Doss also told students it's important to study history and to respect parents, teachers and others in authority.
"Most of us don't know who we are from a historical perspective," he said.