As it has for more than 20 years, Kidsbridge continues to offer programs focusing on bullying prevention, diversity appreciation and social-emotional learning. We now offer two options: taking traditional a field trip and visiting the Tolerance Center OR choosing our mobile outreach program – and letting Kidsbridge come to your classroom. Either way, your students will learn and have fun!
The jewel in the Kidsbridge program crown is the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center. In order to expand its transformational impact, Kidsbridge created the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center (a.k.a. learning lab) in 2006. It is also the only youth-oriented tolerance center in the United States, and is located in the Ewing Senior & Community Center in Ewing, NJ (a suburb of Trenton in the central part of the state). Hours are by appointment only, and the curricula is adjusted to the level of and based on the needs of the visiting class or group.
Classes visiting the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center break into groups of four to six students. They participate in small group discussions and interactive activities guided by a trained group leader — either Kidsbridge staff, college students, retired educators or other adult volunteers from the community. Exhibits focus on:
- Bullying and cyberbullying prevention
- Tolerance, diversity appreciation and respect for all persons
- Personal empowerment and UPstander behavior
- Respect for persons with disabilities
- Prejudice, discrimination and stereotypes
- Name-calling and exclusion
- Overcoming stereotypes about major world religions
- Changing bystanders into UPstanders
- Kid heroes, individual responsibility and youth grassroots activism
- Examination of gender stereotypes and school climate for LGBT students
- Media messages and their influence on attitudes and behavior
- Facing the reality of genocide through empathy and avenues for action
- Creating a support team and identifying adult and peer members
- A college student Q & A panel answering questions about college
- Puppet making and creation of UPstander skits
- Action plans on school, community, local and global issues
In a safe environment, kids are encouraged to analyze their own attitudes and behaviors – as well as those of their peers – and to consider the best pro-social actions or reactions. For example, if someone calls you a name, are there alternatives to calling that person a name back or punching him in the face? How does it feel when you are picked on or teased? What is the best way to advocate for oneself? If you see another kid being bullied, is there anything you can do to help?
Kidsbridge is in the business of creating UPstanders. The ‘Three E’s’ – Empathy, Empowerment and Education – are the thread themes that are interwoven throughout this tranformative program’s cloth. They connect the character education, pro-social skills and bullying prevention techniques for children, teens and educators alike.
Visiting students and educators are provided with strategies and practice for dealing with the mean people and volatile bullying situations that they face both in school and in their communities.
A typical visit to the Center lasts four hours and the price of admission includes: Four to six exhibit rotations in which students (four to six per group) learn content and strategies by participating in small group discussions and interactive, hands-on activities, led by a group facilitator; lunch during which a college student discussion panel answers youths’ questions (encouraging aspiration to college); and a main program including either: creating stick puppets and performing conflict resolution skits (for the younger kids) OR student-driven action plans addressing school, local or global issues (for older youth).
Only students pay an admission fee; there is no cost for teachers, school counselors, other educators or parent chaperones to attend with their students. Also at no charge, teachers have access to our Pick & Pack Area, in which they may choose post-visit curriculum, lesson plans and activities to enhance and reinforce the content presented during their visit.
Note that Kidsbridge continues to update post-visit curriculum on a regular basis! Educators, choose from a range of activities in the following categories: UPstander Behavior, Diversity, Social Emotional Skills, School/Classroom Climate, and Teacher & Parent Resources. Please bring a phone or iPad to take photos of the post-visit curriculum that you find useful.
Kidsbridge is proud to state that our ‘UPstander experience’ in the Kidsbridge Tolerance Center is an ‘evidence-based’ program. Under the direction of The College of New Jersey/TCNJ’s Psychology professor Dr. James Graham, Psychology majors in their labs coordinate and analyze pre- and post-visit surveys. They have found that visiting students show a statistically significant improvement in attitudes and knowledge in the categories of: 1) empathy, 2) stereotypes, 3) aspiration to college, 4) religious diversity, 5) moral reasoning and 6) empowerment after just a single, four-hour session.