Highlights include: Upcoming Third Annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities on October 6, in Middletown, Conn., coinciding with National Bullying Prevention Month; Implementation of bullying prevention training program in East Hampton schools.
The Council of Business Partners at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County (CFMC) has announced plans for its third annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities, set to take place on October 6 in Middletown; and for the funding of bullying prevention training being implemented in the East Hampton public school system during the 2016-2017 school year. These efforts are part of an ongoing initiative started by the group of Middlesex County small business owners who believe that they can make a real difference in their community by tackling some of the tough issues facing today’s youth. Realizing their impact can be far greater if they work together, they created the Council of Business Partners Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, and have been pooling their passion and their resources to support anti-bullying efforts throughout Middlesex County for the past seven years. What started out as a small step toward real action has become a county-wide collaborative campaign with impressive results to date:
- $58,000 has been invested in bullying prevention awareness and training programs;
- 8,000 students, educators, parents, and bus drivers have participated in prevention training;
- More than 1,000 community members have signed a pledge to be an agent of positive change.
The campaign 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. Through partnership with the Connecticut Association of Schools (CAS); EMPOWER Leadership Sports; The First Tee of Connecticut; Rushford, A Hartford Healthcare Partner; iCRV Radio; and former NBA and UCONN basketball player Donny Marshall, the impact of the program continues to expand to more school systems and more community members.
The Campaign’s big push is in October, National Bullying Prevention Month, an optimal time to hold the annual Rally For Bully-Free Communities, this year scheduled for October 6 from 9 am – 11 am at EMPOWER Sports Leadership and Adventure Center, located at 2011 South Main Street in Middletown. Educators and students in grades 5 through 12 from all 15 Middlesex County towns and beyond are invited to attend with bus transportation provided by the CFMC Council of Business Partners. The rally program includes team building and self-empowerment activities; student speakers; presentation of the Bully-Free Communities Spotlight Award to a school or organization that has implemented or supported a positive and safe learning environment; and guest speaker and campaign partner Donny Marshall who will speak about his personal experiences with bullying. Members of the fire departments will also be volunteering their time to lead some of the team activities.
Other new initiatives include the implementation of The No Bully Zone Program, a bullying-prevention, train-the-trainer curriculum, in East Hampton Middle School during the 2016-2017 school year. During Advisory period, 475 educators and students in grades six through grade eight will participate in a selection of the 32-lesson training sessions created and presented by Rushford professionals. The aim is to facilitate a culture of positive choices and develop the leadership and empowerment skills necessary for creating a safe and healthy learning environment. Implementation of the program was made possible with support from the Shulman Family Fund and the East Hampton Rotary Foundation. The Council of Business Partners will also be funding bullying prevention training for an additional 200 M & J Bus Company drivers. The Company has already participated and trained 470 drivers over the past two years.
“As business owners, we are very results oriented. We believe the only way to truly make positive things happen is to work with and support our kids and our school communities in a real and meaningful way,” said Dave Director, Council of Business Partners Chair and CFMC Board member, “We also know that actions speak louder than words so we want the kids and their teachers to know that “we’ve got their back” by providing them with real and useful tools to stand together and stand up to bullying. That’s why we funded the development of the No Bully Zone program and continue to fund the implementation of the training program in our community schools. We know that every dollar we invest in helping young people choose positive social behavior over the alternative pays huge dividends in their lives, as well as the lives of all of us.”
The No Bully Zone Program
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. The program was adapted for school bus travel on buses operated by M&J Bus Inc. with over 470 drivers receiving training. It is now being implemented in the East Hampton school system with support from the Shulman Family Fund and the East Hampton Rotary Club Foundation. .
The CFMC Council of Business Partners includes: John Sullivan of A&A Office Systems; 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; East Hampton Rotary Foundation, Inc.; 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; Paulson Training Programs, Inc.; Attorney Nancy Raczka; Theodore Rossi of The Rossi Group; David Shulman of Suburban Stationers, Inc.; and Elizabeth Shulman, LMFT.
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 $4.7 million through 1,564 grants in support of the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements, and for health and human services.
For more information on the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, call the Community Foundation of Middlesex County at 860-347-0025.