Disadvantaged Kids Learn How to Protect Themselves From Bullies

Playing 'Bully-Proof Squad' Teaches Underprivileged Kids How to Defend Themselves

They are small but mighty warriors.

They call themselves the Bully-Proof Squad and they are comprised of children who want to carry themselves with strength and grace and avoid being bullied.

But in a program run by West Virginia nonprofit Forward Roll, these little folks are learning what to do if they are bullied, and how to escape becoming bullies themselves. 

"It teaches me how to fight back if a bully ever wanted to bully me, and not to bully," 11-year-old Taylor Noel told WOWK.

The kids come from low-income families and the hope is they will become rich in self-esteem.

"With kids in low-income housing, they face a lot of bullying, but they also face a lot of temptation to get into bad stuff," said the founder and director of Forward Roll, Kyle Vass. 

The children are taught jiu-jitsu and martial arts, as well as breathing techniques to practice when they become angry and need to cool off.

“They already like the idea of fighting or they see fighting as this cool interesting thing, but if you can work that into something positive then I think that’s super important because it gives them something positive to do, and it helps take care of their physical fitness, and it also gives them confidence,” Vass said. 

The group also offers jiu-jitsu to those battling addiction, as a way of helping them to take control of their lives. There are plans to offer programs to veterans and first responders.

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