IT STOPS TODAY.
Almost one in four Year 4 to Year 9 Australian students are bullied every few weeks, or more regularly. There are government initiatives and also private enterprise produced resources, aimed at helping to educate students and parents. Linda Rive worked for a resource provider for seven years. That experience and exposure to school kids and their problems led Linda to think about creating a better, more practical resource.
Linda had solid ideas about a printed book she wanted to produce for children. She took that leap and quit her job to start her own business – It Stops Today.
Funding and distribution were clearly going to be large factors. Linda needed guidance and decided to undertake NEIS business training. She took the option to do the program remotely from home, provided by her nearest NEIS team at Konekt in Hobart.
During the NEIS training, Linda put her research into the final book form to be used by children and their parents. “I spent many sleepless nights on the design of the book,” says Linda. Mockups were shown to schools to see what interest she could expect and what feedback they could give. Print quotes were gathered and compared.
In order to make the business model work for primary schools, the books are distributed free. Production costs and a return for It Stops Today, are covered by sponsorship advertisements in each edition – paid for by local businesses supporting their local schools. It’s a simple model that schools and businesses are familiar with. Linda’s NEIS training also covered the financial records and insurances her new business would require. Step by step she was able to cover all the aspects a small business needs to have in place.
The support I got from NEIS was amazing – anytime I had a query, my NEIS mentor Justin was there to help me.
Now that her training is completed, Linda spends lots of time on the phone and visiting businesses. “I ring businesses in the local area of the school I am working with, to ask them to advertise and support the anti-bullying program. I let them know their sponsorship helps towards costs and makes the resource completely free for the school,” Linda explains.
It Stops Today works with several schools at any one time, developing the sponsorship and bringing each edition closer to publication. There are currently sponsorship drives on for 26 primary schools. The first printed books are out and have been received really well! Linda says “I was so excited to launch the first books into Austins Ferry Primary School. I’d like to say thank you to the schools that are participating; and a big thank you to the businesses – without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”
A resource for high schools may be developed soon. “I am also thinking of launching into Melbourne Primary Schools and I’m currently looking for people to help me with the program as it’s too much for me to do alone. I knew it would do well,” says Linda with a smile.
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