MERRILLVILLE | Ostracism and repeated social rejection may lead to poor school or work performance, anger or depression, problems with others, drug use or possible violence to self or others.
To build more positive relationships in the community, Purdue Extension Service in Lake County and several community partners will offer the All In: Building Positive Communities program series beginning Tuesday. This program builds an awareness of the negative effects of ostracism and rejection and teaches how each person can make a positive difference.
The educational program will consist of three community forums on consecutive Tuesday nights. The sessions are intended for adults who are concerned about rejection, bullying, harassment, ostracism and negative behaviors that hurt and exclude others.
These forums will bring together a broad cross section of the county, including parents, coaches, teachers, police officers, social service providers, religious leaders and others.
The first event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at Merrillville High School, 276 E. 68th Place, where participants will view the documentary film “Reject” produced by Ruth Thomas-Suh. The film shares research and depicts the effects of ostracism through personal stories, leading to some strategies to change behaviors.
The second forum Sept. 1, again from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Merrillville High School, will feature Dr. Kip Williams, Purdue University Department of Psychological Sciences professor, who will highlight his research and the research of others on ostracism and its detrimental impacts.
The final forum Sept. 8 will focus on making connections in the community, learning more about local resources and identifying actions that can be taken.
Doors will open at 6 p.m. each Tuesday evening. Advance registration is highly recommended by calling (219) 755-3240 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.