I found the WITS Program to be an exceptional tool to help children learn at an early age how to deal with peer victimization, and how important it is to treat each other with respect. Until bullying and peer victimization are a thing of the past, I strongly encourage other schools to implement the WITS program on an annual basis.

Louie Scigliano, Principal, Glanford Middle School

About us

WITS’ award-winning bullying prevention programs started in Victoria and have since spread into elementary schools across Canada and into the USA and Brazil. WITS, which stands for Walk away, Ignore, Talk it out and Seek help, was created in West Coast schools where teachers began coaching students to “use their WITS”! The concept was quickly adopted by many other schools, and “using your WITS” became a common phrase in Canada.

WITS takes a whole community approach, working with partners like the RCMP, local police forces, the Red Cross, Indigenous elders and others to deliver the WITS messages to children and their families. These partnerships help us keep the program affordable for the schools that need it the most. WITS was studied in two UVIC evaluations and has been proven to be effective in reducing incidents of peer victimization. Also, WITS is literacy based, with over 70 books vetted for the programs in English, French, and a few Indigenous languages. The WITS team creates lesson plans to accompany every ‘WITSpick’ book, making it easier for teachers to deliver these concepts.

Twenty years since its beginning, WITS is recognized as the leading program of its kind (Dalhousie 2016 report). There are now four segments: WITS for Kindergarten to grade 3, LEADerS for grades 4 to 6, and French counterparts DIRE and MENTOR. More than 200,000 children across Canada have been introduced to the program in every province and territory. Over 1,200 Canadian schools have started the WITS or DIRE programs, becoming a part of their culture. We’ve had interest from schools in Hong Kong and England, and a group of teachers in Brazil is working with program developer, Dr. Bonnie Leadbeater, replicating WITS as DIGA in Portuguese.

The WITS Programs Foundation is a registered Canadian charity based in Victoria, BC.

Mission

Creating capacity in communities to promote safety and healthy relationships.

Vision

All children are living, learning, and playing in safe and responsive communities.

Strategic Plan

We have adopted a strategic plan to guide the WITS Programs Foundation into 2020. Our goals are:

The number of WITS program users in Canada triples and the WITS staff team increases accordingly, with defined roles for each position under the leadership of the Executive Director.

We have developed an innovative strategic funding plan.

We can identify schools who are using the program and how they are using it.

The development of a thriving volunteer program that provides support to the organization at various levels.

To learn more about our plans, contact us