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Making Middlesex County Bully-Free: Community Foundation and Business Leaders Report Campaign Progress, Announce New Initiatives

September 25, 2015 • Pressroom
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Highlights include: Upcoming Second Annual Bully-Free Communities Rally October 21, 2015, in Middletown, Conn., coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month and Unity Day; Presentation of the Inaugural Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award.

MIDDLETOWN, CT – (September 2015) – Working to prevent bullying since 2009, the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) and its Council of Business Partners have announced positive results and strong momentum after the first year of their county-wide Campaign for Bully-Free Communities. The ongoing collaborative effort rallies Middlesex County residents, businesses, municipalities, school districts, libraries and other community organizations to take a pledge to stand together against bullying and all mean-spirited behavior, and highlights the school-based No Bully Zone Program, underwritten by the Council of Business Partners Fund created through CFMC To date, more than 500 pledges have been signed and close to 7500 students, educators, school bus drivers and parents have participated in prevention training and programs. Plans are now being finalized for the second annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities, taking place on October 21, and will feature the presentation of the inaugural Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award.

         “Encouraging positive social behavior and preventing destructive choices is our primary focus. We want kids to know that “we’ve got their back” by providing them with real and useful tools to stand together and stand up to bullying,” said Dave Director, Council of Business Partners Chair and CFMC Board member. He also is President/owner of Connecticut Lighting Centers of Hartford and Southington.” As business owners, we are results oriented and these kids are our future employees. Our goal is to truly make a difference in their lives and throughout our communities, too.”

To expand their reach and impact, the CFMC Council of Business Partners has joined forces with the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS); EMPOWER Leadership Sports; The First Tee of Connecticut; LiveKind; Rushford, A Hartford Healthcare Partner; iCRV Radio; Former NBA and UCONN basketball player Donny Marshall; and Elizabeth Shulman (LMFT) in creating the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities.  The Campaign’s big push is in October, National Bullying Prevention Month, with the Rally for Bully-Free Communities date set to coincide with Unity Day on October 21, 2015. The rally will be held at EMPOWER Sports Leadership and Adventure Center, located at 2011 South Main Street in Middletown.

All are invited to attend with bus transportation being provided for middle school and high school students in each of the 15 Middlesex County towns. There, the newly created Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award will be presented to a school or organization that has implemented or supported a positive and safe learning environment.

          “We are thrilled with the communities’ response to the campaign in every way. We are implementing The No Bully Zone Program in more schools, more after school programs, and more school bus companies, with people of all ages and walks of life signing pledges and lending support,” said Cynthia Clegg, CFMC President and CEO. “That’s why we felt the need to establish the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award. There is so much good being done by our schools, our businesses, our civic leaders that it needs to be recognized and used as an example of how great things can happen when we all work together.”

In 2009, working through the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, the Council of Business Partners Fund was established and with the help of Rushford, a Hartford Healthcare Partner, the “No Bully Zone” program was developed and funded. Council members contribute annually and, to date, the partnership has implemented the No Bully Zone Program in Keigwin Middle and Woodrow Wilson Middle schools in Middletown; in the Haddam-Killingworth school district; in Oddfellows Playhouse and Ivoryton Playhouse projects; The Country School; and in conjunction with The First Tee of Connecticut youth programs. Most recently, the program was adapted for school bus travel on buses operated by M&J Bus Inc. with 470 drivers receiving training this year, and will also be implemented in the East Hampton school system with support from the Shulman Family Fund and the East Hampton Rotary Club.

 

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CT) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life in Middlesex County. Its two-fold mission is: (1) to work with charitably-minded individuals and organizations to build permanent endowments and other charitable giving funds; and (2) to support local nonprofit organizations through effective grant making and multiple programs to address community needs. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has invested more than $4 million through 1,295 grants in support of the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.

 

The CFMC Council of Business Partners includes: John Sullivan of A&A Office Systems; Arlene Mazzotta and Laura Pedersen of A.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists; William, Susan and Shawn McCann of BEST Cleaners; Mauricio Salgar of the Black Seal Restaurant; Colin Burr of Brown & Brown of CT, Inc.; David Director of Connecticut Lighting Centers, Inc.; David Gilbert of Direct Energy; William McMinn of Essex Printing/Events Magazines; St. Mary’s Church in Portland and Congregation Adath Israel in Middletown of the Interfaith Golf Open Tournament; Daniel Zimmerman of LiveKind; James Mahoney of Mahoney Sabol & Co., LLP; Marc Levin of Malloves Jewelers; Karen Beebe of M & J Bus Company; Cindy Bailey of Paulson Training Programs, Inc.; Attorney Nancy Raczka; Theodore Rossi of The Rossi Group; David Shulman of Suburban Stationers, Inc.; and Elizabeth Shulman, LMFT.

 

For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, contact the Community Foundation at (860) 347-0025 or at Info@MiddlesexCountyCF.org.