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Genius Hour

Posted: 4/4/2018

High school student Addison, in her senior began a project called Genius Hour. Each student selected a topic of their choice, researched it, and then developed a presentation, video, or product Addison chose bullying because it is an issue that she has faced since elementary school. She knew that it affects a wide variety of students all over the world, yet realized it doesn’t get as much attention and awareness as it should. Addison made posters that displayed facts about bullying and statistics about it as well. She posted these resources in her classroom in hopes to draw awareness to this common issue. Throughout the semester she continually researched the effects of bullying and how many suffer from it around the world. Those statistic showed the overall percentage of how big of an impact bullying has on our society. At the end of the semester, she presented her speech in which she spoke from the heart.

Addison shared, “I genuinely hope that I changed the way my classmates view bullying and how to treat people, as well as for anyone who views this video. I really enjoyed this project and I aim to continue to raise awareness for bullying and for all the victims that suffer from it. They deserve to be heard and supported, and I am determined to be one person who stands up for them. I hope people learn to realize that we should accept one another for who they are, because that is another thing that I realized when doing this project— everyone is different, yet everyone should be respected. It only takes one person to make a difference.”

By: Anonymous

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Kindness Makes Miracles

Posted: 3/26/2018

Kindness Makes Miracles was established to promote kindness as a way of life. It was started after the tragic death of Kelly O'Loughlin. Our goal, from the very inception of Kindness Makes Miracles, was to do whatever we can to help others be aware of the devastating and deadly effects of bullying and the incredible healing power of kindness. By living lives of kindness, we enable others and ourselves to reach the fullest potential. Kindness Makes Miracles is a program of the Knights of Columbus Council #844 located in Helena, Montana. Watch our video on Kelly’s life. Get involved! Visit our website. #takeastandagainstbullying #kindnessmakesmiracles

By: Christopher Nelson and Kindness Makes Miracles

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Speaking Without Words

Posted: 3/1/2018

Video Credits

Andrew Carroll, Associate Professor of Dance, University of South Florida
Lana Heylock, Assistant Professor of Dance, Jacksonville University

Classroom Discussion Questions

These questions are in direct collaboration to Andrew Carroll’s cyberbullying video that supports a worldwide bullying prevention campaign. The discussion questions are designed for a teenage audience. They may be used as additional prompts that accompany the “Speaking Without Words: Be a Peer Advocate. Help Those Being Bullied. We All Have Unique Gifts. End/Delete Cyberbullying” video.

  1. Why do you think that the other dancers bully the girl with one arm?
    Answers may be that she is “different” or that “she looks different.” This is a good place to discuss that we are all different. Our physical appearances are unique, we often have varied interests, come from different types of families, and meet people of different ethnic and social backgrounds every day. The girl with one arm must have incredible strength, focus, and courage to succeed at the same skills that most people are fortunate to do with two arms. She is different and she is amazing! She needs to be supported, encouraged, and applauded. It is “cool” to be there for her and help her if she needs the assistance. It makes you a stronger person!

  2. Why do you think it is important to talk about disabilities?
    Discussion gives us knowledge. Communication is so important. If we do not understand something, it is more difficult to have empathy and show support. When we understand the situation of a person with a disability, we can walk in their shoes and understand that all people have the right to pursue their dreams, find happiness, and acceptance.

  3. Do you think that people with physical disabilities can achieve success in sports and dance?
    YES! There are many awesome athletes and dancers who have overcome their physical disabilities to be successful professionals. Here are a few:

    • Major League Baseball pitcher Jim Abbott was born without a right hand. He won the gold medal in the 1988 Summer Olympics.
    • Mixed Martial Arts Athlete Kyle Maynard was the first quadruple amputee to climb Mount Kilimanjaro without the aid of prosthetics in 2012.
    • Surfer Bethany Hamilton’s left arm was bitten off by a shark in 2003. She went on to earn first place at the National Scholastic Surfing Association Competition two years later.
    • AXIS Dance Company, REVolutions Dance, and Dancing Wheels are examples of professional dance companies that employ dancers in wheelchairs and on crutches.
  4. What was one significant event in the video?
    It took only one girl to be a peer advocate and change the bullying environment. All the characters learned mutual respect and acceptance by the end. In fact, we saw the girl with a disability reach out and catch her stumbling new friend. It makes us realize that kindness and friendship do not require two arms and legs. We all have the same needs and wants. We need to care for one another and appreciate the many unique physical conditions in the world.

By: Andrew Carroll, Lana Heylock

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Young Student Leads a Movement!

Posted: 11/9/2017

Thirteen-year-old Mai Mishan is committed to creating a world without bullying! In her third year of promoting National Bullying Prevention Month in October, Mai organized two significant events for 2017.

On Saturday, October 21, Mai held a Charity Ride at Soul Cycle in Calabasas, Calif., to raise funds for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. The studio was vibrant in orange, the signature color of bullying prevention, with orange balloons and graphics and all participants received the official orange “Create a World Without Bullying” shirt. Mai's mother, Michal also promoted the event with online Facebook fundraising; the donations received far exceeded the projected goal.

Mai followed up the fundraiser on Unity Day, October 25, by leading a school-wide coordination of Unity Day events involving every student and teacher at her school of 1200+ students. To promote participation, Mai wrote personal notes to key faculty, sharing why the day is so important. She handed out posters and flyers to display all over the campus. School administration supported Mai’s efforts by sending out a mailer to parents, encouraging their involvement. On the day of the event, EVERYONE on the four campuses wore orange! The principal, Mai and other students spoke at an assembly as well. Students also showed their support by creating links of positive statements on orange paper about how they would unite for kindness, acceptance and inclusion, creating an orange chain around the campus.

As a result of Mai’s influential leadership, Unity Day is now an annual official date on the school calendar. “We so appreciated Mai’s initiative and positive energy in making this happen,” wrote a school administrator.

By: PACER Center Staff

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Cyberbullying Dance

Posted: 10/10/2017

We are more alike than we think

A cyberbullying awareness video illustrating the necessity to end and delete cyberbullying message because “we are all more alike than we think.” The video was produced with the generous permission of incredible musical artist James Paget for use of “The Hero Within.” The short video highlights the story of an athlete who initially cyberbullies a ballet dancer not realizing they are similar athletes, just with different skill sets. This becomes apparent, and the athlete chooses to end and delete the cyberbullying.

Video and discussion questions by Andrew Carroll, The University of South Florida and Lana Heylock, Jacksonville University

Classroom Discussion Questions

  1. What similarities did you notice between the dancer and the athlete?
  2. Describe how athletes and dancers each practice to become good at what they do.
  3. Describe the traditional “uniform” of the dancer and of the basketball player.
  4. Why do you think each sport has its own style of attire?
  5. Do you think that dancers are athletes? Why or why not?
  6. How can you be a better advocate to stop cyber bullying?

Helpful tips, ideas, and conversation starters to foster greater dialogue during classroom discussion

  1. What similarities did you notice between the dancer and the athlete?
    • Has anyone here ever danced? What about played a sport? Can you both tell me about the skills you need to perform?
    • Are you surprised to find out that there are many similarities between the two?
      Similarities include hard work, focus, lots of skills to practice, physical activity, and valuable teamwork. Teamwork examples include: A ballet has a corps de ballet which must work perfectly in unison so that the audience can understand the story, a dance duet must work harmoniously or someone will fall or be dropped, dancers must negotiate the stage so they do not bump into each other. Similarly, a basketball team must know their play and pass the ball correctly, a basketball player must be alert to see how to execute the basket, and basketball players must find their paths on the court between many other bodies in their way. They both consider awesome skills and the use of energy, timing, and space.
  2. Describe how athletes and dancers each practice to become good at what they do.
    • Can an athlete and dancer in the class tell me what they do to warm up and practice?
      They practice A LOT!!! If they do not practice they will not be very good. They have skills that most people do not have naturally. Most athletes practice during a specific season, whereas, a dancer practices all year long. Both professions have rather short terms…professional athletes and professional dancers are usually fairly young…(in their 20’s and 30’s).
  3. Describe the traditional “uniform” of the dancer and of the basketball player.
    • Think about sports and activities you play. What do you wear for that?
    • What about for other sports: football, cycling, swimming, wrestling, baseball, etc?
      There are typical uniforms for dancers and basketball players. Dancers wear specific shoes, such as pointe dance shoes, soft dance shoes, and tap shoes. Basketball athletes wear sneakers. Dancers wear tight clothing, and football players, gymnasts, wrestlers, cyclists, and swimmers wear tight clothing, too. Basketball players wear loose fitted clothing and jerseys.
  4. Why do you think each sport has its own style of attire?
    • Have several students in the class identify a sport/activity they are involved with and explain what they wear and why they wear it.
      Each sport has its own style of attire to help athletes accomplish their skills and goals. Dancers use specific shoes that include pointe shoes for women to appear longer and have the ability to turn effortlessly, soft shoes help spin and feel the ground, tap shoes accentuate rhythms and jazz shoes cushion landings and help with sliding. Basketball athletes need sneakers to help them move swiftly across the court. Their shoes provide important support and cushioning when running and landing from dunking the basket. Dancers wear tight clothing in rehearsal in order to see correct alignment and form. Likewise, football players and gymnasts wear tight clothing so they can move effectively. It would be dangerous to wear baggy clothes that they could trip on or get tangled in. Professional swimmers wear tight Speedos to help them move fast. Basketball players wear loose fitted clothing made of wicking material so they can move freely and have faster drying and cooling in their jerseys. Dancers and athletes have figured out what clothing helps them be the best they can be at what they do.
  5. Do you think that dancers are athletes? Why or why not?
    • Do you think you can do the spins and jumps like you saw the dancer do in the video?
    • What would you need to do in order to do the dance moves?
      Dancers are elite athletes with many skills that involve endurance, coordination, stretch, and strength. Some athletes, execute their plays on the court with the grace, strength, and agility of a dancer. Oftentimes dancers and athletes cross-train. Many dancers work out in the gym with weights and machines and many athletes have been known to take yoga and dance lessons to help their bodies increase coordination and stretch.

      Dancers and athletes are more alike than we previously may have thought. Firstly, they are human with the same feelings and often the same pursuit of excellence. Dancers and athletes should be admired equally. They show us incredible physical feats and help us strive toward setting personal goals of excellence. The world appreciates the storytelling and beauty of dance and the fierce competiveness and spirit of athletics. Our communities are enriched by arts and sports!
  6. How can you be a better advocate to stop cyber bullying?
    • If you’re being cyberbullied, what are things you can do to stop the cyberbullying? What about things that would make the cyberbullying worse?
    • If you see cyberbullying, what are things you can do to help? What would be unhelpful?

Knowledge is power! Stop wrong information, speak up, and support what you know is important in our schools, cities, and country. Be strong, be smart and always be kind.

If you’re being cyberbullied, here are steps you can take to help end it:

  • Know that you do not deserve what is happening
  • Document the hurtful online content – take screen shots of and print hurtful content
  • “Unfriend” or block the person bullying you online
  • Remove/untag yourself from hurtful comments or picture
  • Report the hurtful content to the website where it occurred
  • Tell a trusted adult about what’s happening so you can think through options to end the cyberbullying

If you’re being cyberbullied, doing these things can make the situation worse:

  • Ignore it and hope that it stops - this usually doesn’t work in the long run or fix the problem
  • Avoid the person cyberbullying –you’ll soon see how hard it is to avoid someone who goes to the same school with you
  • Respond aggressively – this can make it look like you’re part of the problem, too

If you see cyberbullying, here are steps you can take to help end it:

  • Do not “like” or forward hurtful online content
  • Report the content to the site where it occurred
  • Send a supportive message to the person being cyberbullied
  • If it feels safe to do, you can also tell the person bullying that what they are doing is not okay.

If you see cyberbullying, doing these things can make the situation worse:

  • “Liking” and forwarding hurtful online content – you’re contributing to the problem too
  • Ask the person being bullied what they did to start the bullying and telling them it’s their fault
    • By: Video and discussion questions by Andrew Carroll, The University of South Florida and Lana Heylock, Jacksonville University

      By: Anonymous

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      Using her story as her power

      Posted: 5/5/2017

      “Take a look at your quirks and your traumas and find your own greatness.”

      Sherry Saturno is a national award-winning social worker and filmmaker, who wrote and produced a short documentary film about what drives professionals to help others titled “Human Investment.” The foundation for much of her work came from her personal experience of being bullied as a child, which she spoke about in a recent TEDx Talk.

      “I was bullied for many years,” Saturno said in an email to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “I am not ashamed of an experience that happened to me and neither should others be. Our stories and our struggles make us uniquely who we are, but too often, out of shame or fear, we silence the very narrative that is the foundation of our strength.

      “As an adult, I recognize how those years shaped my character,” she continued. “I began to use adversity as motivation, and every time someone told me that I couldn’t accomplish something, that would make me try that much harder. Adversity can be transformed into something beautiful and hardship can create ambition, not just to achieve professional goals, but to chase after your own happiness and build the life that you want for yourself.”

      Sherry was deeply affected by stories she heard about how kids who were experiencing bullying were struggling; she understood how isolating the experience can be. By creating a TEDx Talk and talking openly about bullying, isolation, and rejection, she shares her message about how her experiences shaped her character, her motivation, and how she could help others. “Use rejection as your fuel,” she says. “Your story, the source of your struggle, is your power."

      By: Anonymous

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      University of Northern Iowa creates inclusive dance company

      Posted: 2/13/2017

      ROAR! The United Dance Company is working to create an inclusive dance company for children with disabilities at the University of Northern Iowa. UNI students are paired with K-12 students, both with and without disabilities, and come together every week to dance, improve confidence, and boost self-esteem. Their main emphasis is inclusion.

      “We want people to know that having a disability does not define who you are,” says Bethany Piotter, founder and president of the dance company. “When the kids are all together, they have no idea that some of the other members of the dance group have a disability. There are many people who believe that certain people are not capable of certain things; our group exists to prove them wrong. There is not a soul in our company whose life hasn’t been touched by the amazing kids we work with.”

      In January, the United Dance Company performed at their first University of Northern Iowa basketball game. They danced to the song “Roar” by Katy Perry. According to Piotter, these students and dancers come together for one common purpose: “to spread some pretty amazing love!”

      For information and to view a video of the dance company’s basketball game performance, visit the group’s Facebook page.

      By: Anonymous

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      Taking a stand

      Posted: 11/22/2016

      Bullying is defined as “Unwanted aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance.” Even though bullying is most common with kids, it happens wherever you go. Bullying is something as simple as telling someone they’re not smart or they’re not good enough to do whatever it is they do. No matter what your saying to them, if it’s unwanted and aggressive, it’s bullying, plain and simple.

      Many people like to say that ‘words hurt only if you let them’, I know that one’s common in my house. When you think about it, it makes sense doesn’t it? A word is only letters of the alphabet put together to make a complete thought. I guarantee you though, if you ask anyone who’s been a target of bullying; whether it’s in person or online, they’ll tell you that’s not the case. They’ll tell you that those hurtful words damage them, and follow them for many years to come. Once those words get inside your brain, they’re always going to be there. The Center of Disease Control quotes that “Students who experience bullying are at an increased risk for poor school adjustment, sleep deprivation, anxiety, and depression”. That’s why I’m here today, in an attempt to convince you that as a nation, we need to protect these kids from further harassment and bullying. It’s time someone thought of the kids here.

      Some of you may be thinking, “How does she know all of this?” I know, cause I had a firsthand experience at what it’s like to be bullied, and to have their hurtful words constantly flood into your mind. That’s right, I was a target of bullying. Let me tell you first hand, it’s a nightmare to deal with. It’s a nightmare to go through the day, constantly wondering if that person’s going to make a hurtful remark against me or if that person is going snicker at me when I walk past them. It’s exhausting to constantly wonder if someone’s going to decide to make fun of me today, solely based on the fact of how I look or what my personality is. I was lucky though, it all ended eventually. I can’t tell you how happy and full of joy I was at the fact that I had no longer had to worry about these people making my life a living nightmare. As much as I hate to say it, it didn’t stop as easily as it should have. It took 5, maybe even 6 times of going to adults and saying that I was being bullied, that they were making me feel worthless every day for them to do something.

      We need to take a stand for people going through this every day. Times are changing all around us, and it’s time we think about students who experience bullying and what they need.

      By: Miranda, student

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      Posted: 11/16/2016

      Believe in yourself and all you want to be. Don’t let what anybody else says or does make you frown. Laugh as much as possible. Let in the good times and get through the bad. Be happy with who you are and where you are.

      By: Anonymous

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      Choose your type

      Posted: 11/7/2016

      When it comes to making a difference in the world, you can be a fire type, a water type, or a gas type.

      Matt Hogan is the Head Instructor at Master Khechen's Martial Arts Academy – Buffalo, and he is the founder of The Only Direction and MoveMe Quotes. He wants to inspire the community to act.

      Excerpt from Matt’s post on The Only Direction:

      In order to avoid a conflict, either verbally or physically, I’ll shut down, close my mouth and try and separate myself from the situation as fast as possible. There have been times when I have chosen to remain silent about things that I believed to be wrong, unjust, or hurtful. I was the bystander; the watcher; the one who becomes the gas for the fire.

      Choose to stand up for what you believe in – be an upstander.

      The answer, of course, is to do your best to always act as an upstander; a person who recognizes that something is wrong and acts to make it right. When you fail to act to make something right in some way, shape, or form – you’re the gas. Intentions and good thoughts don’t count. And the second you choose to be an upstander you change your state from being a gas to becoming water. Just like that.

      Learn more about the three key actions we can take to become rock solid upstanders.

      By: Anonymous

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