COSTA MESA — Richard Milenkovich is striving to instill hope in victims of bullies.
He hopes to never hear of or read about one more person losing, or taking, their life over bullying.
After reading about Phoebe Prince, the Ireland native who committed suicide after months of bullying in South Hadley, Mass., Milenkovich could no longer allow himself to be a bystander.
In fact, it is the bystanders he's mainly targeting in his 10-week crash course program, offered through the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Department, to bring an end to bullying.
"Our ultimate goal is to martial the bystanders together as a group because they tend to think of themselves as individuals," he said.
Milenkovich describes three basic categories to bullying: the bully, the bullied and the bystanders. There are also three categories within the bystanders: those who will support the bully, those who will simply watch and those who are likely to stand up to bullies.
"The bystanders are the largest group…," Milenkovich said. "And if we can get the bystanders to create a culture where bullying is not tolerated, then the bully will lose one of the rewards that they get from bullying."
Milenkovich said he's hoping to "change the culture of bullying one child at a time."
The Bully and Me workshop will offer students age 9 to 17 a chance to identify bullies, analyze their tactics and find a way to avoid bullies in a non-violent manner through practices like role playing, Milenkovich said.
The program will be offered from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 4 through Dec. 20.
The program will be taught at the Samurai Cop Self-Defense Academy, Shuyokan Martial Arts Center, 1360 Logan Ave, Suites 108 and 105
For more information, call (714) 327-7525 or visit http://www.samuraicop.com.