Upstander Projects: 10 Steps to a Bullying Prevention Project

Ana Zaldarriaga
Ana Zaldarriaga

“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.”Aristotle, The Nicomachean Ethics

At Leadership, experience is at the core of all of our learning. All of our curriculum, trainings and workshops are interactive and dynamic, including Empowering Upstanders. Defining an Upstander is only part of our approach to bullying prevention. The other more essential part is actually becoming an Upstander. The Upstander definition we use is: someone who recognizes that something is wrong and does what they can to make it right. Based on this, an Upstander is not just a person who acts in the moment of a bullying situation, it is anyone who takes action to right the fact that bullying even exists.

Photo Credit: "10", by Photocapy,

Action is part of the experience in becoming an Upstander and is really synthesized and grounded by the tangible nature of a final project. Therefore, the last few lessons of our curriculum focus creating a final project by the group at large. More often than not, the project culminates in an awareness campaign through posters, ground rules, pledges, PSAs, videos, murals, or the formation of an Upstander Club. While the projects may vary, the common thread among all of them is that the students become Upstanders through them. In the actual brainstorming, identifying, planning, and creating, each person takes another action step towards becoming an Upstander, and in doing so, promotes the same message.

Here are the 10 steps towards a successful final project and to becoming an Upstander:

  • Work as a group

  • Identify a problem

  • Brainstorm solutions

  • Find a united voice

  • Select an idea

  • Outline the project

  • Delegate tasks

  • Take personal and group action

  • Complete project

  • Share the Project with others

Take these 10 steps and stand up!

Ready with an Upstander project? Tell us about it in the comments below, or —we’d love to showcase your work!

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Ana Zaldarriaga

By Ana Zaldarriaga

Ana Zaldarriaga Pronouns: she/her/hers Sr. Dir. of Employee Development The Leadership Program 535 8th Avenue, Floor 16 New York City, NY 10018 Phone: 212.625.8001 Fax: 212.625.8020 “…building strong leaders in classrooms and communities."