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Unity Awards. Celebrating those creating a world without bullying.

— 2022 Unity Award Recipient —

Ms. Chantelle Vaughn

Richfield, MN

Ms. Chantelle has consistently gone "over and above" to make sure the students in our elementary school are being heard and cared for. She responds to every complaint of bullying or unkind behavior, meeting with students and parents often, and she follows up with students as needed. She works closely with school staff and administration to keep everyone focused and working together to support a positive school climate. Because of her critical work, we have seen a significant drop in Bully Reports and Behavior Referrals in our school this year. Ms. Chantelle visits classrooms daily, models calm and respectful behavior, and provides classroom and small group lessons on kindness, empathy, inclusion, bullying prevention, supports the work our teachers do in the classroom by providing resources, presenting information at staff and team meetings, and offering her skills whenever needed or requested. Students love Ms. Chantelle, and our diverse school community respects the work she does and the "extras" she provides. Ms. Chantelle finds a way to fit all of this in, along with her many other duties as a School Social Worker, because she truly cares about every student in our school.

Nominated by Colleen Mahoney, School Principal at Centennial Elementary School

2022 Unity Award Acceptance

Why are you personally passionate about addressing bullying and promoting inclusion?

I am personally passionate about bullying because of how negatively impacted one can be by this experience. Often when someone is being bullied over a long period of time it can affect them through adulthood, subsequently increasing challenges with mental and physical health as well as relationship and trust issues. I think it's so important for students to learn and recognize early the meaning of empathy and treating others with kindness. I don't believe there is anyone who doesn't want to feel included and cared about. Empathy and kindness can evoke this feeling. I have also taken a strong stance with our students around being an upstander, which means to stand up in some way for someone whom you witness is being bullied. With this mindset and action being followed, my hope is for bullying to truly be eliminated.