The Fifth Annual Kidsbridge WALK2STOP BULLYING Saw Participants STANDUP4 DIVERSITY
The Kidsbridge Fifth Annual WALK2STOP BULLYING was held on Saturday, June 18 at ETS / Educational Testing Service’s corporate campus in Princeton. More than 300 adults, children and teens enjoyed a beautiful weather morning and were treated to a plethora of interesting activities and events. Said Kidsbridge Board President Frank Lucchesi, “Kidsbridge is grateful to our Presenting Sponsor, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, for their major support. And the purchase a van for our mobile outreach programs could not take place without Wawa’s backing and partnership.”
This year’s Walk was a little different than the four previous Walks in that there was a co-theme. Not only did participants WALK2STOP BULLYING, but they were asked to STANDUP4 DIVERSITY as well. In this year’s presidential campaign, there has been too much name-calling, perpetuation of stereotypes and disrespect for different religions, races and cultures. Kidsbridge Executive Director, Lynne Azarchi, explains why diversity needed to be spotlighted at this Walk, “Bullying and cyberbullying for children of color is increasing. Also, Muslim children are being victimized more. We added STANDUP4 DIVERSITY activities to our annual WALK2STOP BULLYING because we want our community to come together to become UPstanders and demand respect and kindness for everyone — especially for our children now.”
Special STANDUP4 DIVERSITY events included:
- COMMUNITY UNITY CHAIN ~ Participants celebrated individuality and diversity by joining hands to form a LONG human chain
- Selfies Kiosk ~ Friends old and new took photos with our Kidsbridge Diversity Dolls and other fun props & sayings — and shared them on social media
- “How We Include & Respect Others” Banner ~ People signed their names and added personal stories, statements or favorite quotes to our giant banner
These activities highlighted this year’s Walk and kept people busy for what many participants indicated was a fun way to spend a morning. Said one walker, “I was a former TCNJ Education major when I first learned about Kidsbridge, and volunteered in the Tolerance Center working with the students and learning bullying prevention techniques. I loved it! It really helped me prepare for my job as a teacher working with kids with special needs. I come to the Walk when I can. I love Kidsbridge!”
Check out our photo gallery below, which captured many of the fun activities listed below:
- Refreshments (fruit, bagels, apple packs & snack bars)
- Music by DJ Mike Galvin from MG Entertainment
- Live performance of “The Wiz in Me” by Substance and her energetic hip-hop dancers
- Family-friendly activities, including face painting, hula hoops and games for kids
- An awards ceremony for the winners of our statewide Second Annual Creative Character Education Youth Competition, including “The Gallery” featuring the winning essay, poster and PSA video submissions. Click here.
- A regaling of the winners of the Second Annual Educator Leadership in Character Education Awards, a statewide competition co-sponsored with SOURCE4TEACHERS. Click here.
- Calm & Confident Yoga — Bullying Prevention for All Ages (presented by Tina LeMar of Sheltered Yoga); participants learned to use breathing and stretching exercises to control their emotions and clear their minds during stressful situations.
- Resource table for parents & educators including bullying prevention and diversity appreciation activities
- Dedication of the new and decorated Kidsbridge Van, to be used for outreach programs to schools & camps in NJ (notice our “UPSTANDR” NJ license plates)
Thank you attendees and volunteers!
Check out the terrific photos from our event: