New anti-bullying call center and safe house holds first volunteer training session

Monday, March 24, 2014 - 11:32pm

From the playground to the workplace, millions across the country are a target.

"It's something that's going on and nobody says anything," said Letty Salas.

But two groups in El Paso are saying "enough is enough" to bullying.

"A lot of people don't realize what it is. They don't think the problem is as big as it is now, and the numbers just keep growing. It's not something that's declining, it's an actual growing problem," said Melinda Chavira with the "El Paso Stop Cyber Bullying" organization.

The U.S. Department of Education says one in four kids today is bullied.

Chavira has put herself at the forefront of the fight after her son fell victim to bullying and her 14 year old cousin committed suicide because of it.

"Nobody really knows how bad it is until something like this happens. And then you start to go over the phone, and the messages, and then you start to realize 'Wow. this was really bad,'" she said.

Bad enough to take action.

Chavira and "El Paso Stop Cyber Bullying" is teaming up with Goodwill to convert a storage facility into a 24-hour call center and safe house for victims of bullying.

Volunteers will run the project, many of whom came to a training session Monday evening.

"Volunteering only helps us learn more and helps us teach other people that it's okay to help, it's okay to intervene with other kids that are going through all this," said Salas.

"Anything that I can do to help my children, and other kids that need help, and that don't know that these services are out there," said Aurelia Tarin.

Tarin and Salas say they've watched their loved ones get bullied regularly and like every other volunteer in training, it's what motivates them to give their time to the center.

"I would hate for my kids to grow up, and going through that and seeing that it's okay for you to do that and it's not," said Salas.

The new call center and safe house will be located at Goodwill's east side location at 9611 Acer.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting will happen Friday, April 4th.

For more information, contact Melinda Chavira at (915) 203-1765.


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