The WITS Programs (formerly Rock Solid) is dedicated to nonviolence in society, safe school and community environments for kids, and providing children with the tools to respond to negativity and confrontation. We deliver the WITS’ award-winning bullying prevention programs, which have since spread into elementary schools across Canada and into the USA and Brazil. Starting in 2020, we now deliver Pink Shirt Day activities with global advocate and Pink Shirt Day co-founder Travis Price, bringing our complimentary messages to even more children and youth. Our latest initiative, Canadian Kindness Leaders, is now being offered in schools across Canada.
In 1993 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 the Rock Solid Foundation, and eventually “using your WITS” became a common phrase in Canada. In two evaluations in partnership with the University of Victoria, WITS has been proven to be effective in reducing incidents of peer victimization. We take a whole community approach, working with partners like first responders, the Red Cross, Indigenous elders and others to deliver the WITS messages to children and their families. Also, WITS is literacy based, with over 70 books vetted for the programs in English, French, and a few Indigenous languages. We create lesson plans for every WITS-pick book, making it easy for teachers to deliver WITS lessons.
In almost 30 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 a million children across Canada have been introduced to the program in every province and territory. Over 1,300 Canadian schools have started WITS and/or DIRE programs, becoming a part of their culture. We’ve had interest from schools around the world, and we worked with the Conviver Program in Brazil, who created the DIGA program, based on WITS, in Portuguese.
3800 Finnerty Road (Ring Road), Cornette Bldg., Department of Psychology, University of Victoria
Victoria BC V8W 2Y2