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2018 Rally For Bully Free Communities Retrospective

October 9, 2018 • Events,Pressroom
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We would like to thank everyone – students, adults, volunteers, Council of Business Partners, and CFMC Board of Directors – who made the 2018 Campaign for Bully-Free Communities Rally a great success. This year we were joined by over 400 youth and adults for a morning of team-building activities followed by inspirational words from incredible speakers who shared their personal stories. October 4th truly was a day where Middlesex County (and beyond) came together to affirm our commitment to be UP-Standers by taking the Bully-Free Communities Pledge.

Take a look at some of the fun we had this year:

Thank you to Mercy High School, Xavier High School, Snow Elementary School (Middletown Public Schools), East Hampton Middle School, Valley Regional High School, John Winthrop Middle School, Essex Elementary School, Deep River Elementary School, Chester Elementary School, Strong Middle School and Memorial Middle School (Region 13), Westbrook High School, Westbrook Middle School, Morgan High School, Highland Elementary and Chapman Elementary (Cheshire), North Haven High School and Middle School, Rushford Academy, MARC Community Resources, Vista Life Innovations, Inc., Trooper Taylor & K9 Lucas, EMPOWER Leadership Sports, Middlefield Volunteer Fire Department, The First Tee of Connecticut, Rushford Center, Renee DiNino & iHeartRadio, Donny Marshall, Jason Otrin of Greater Things Technology, all the Community Foundation of Middlesex County volunteers, Board of Directors, and members of the Council of Business Partners Fund for a great Rally for Bully Free Communities.

5th Annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities

September 19, 2018 • Events,Pressroom
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We are thrilled to announce that the fifth annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities will take place during National Bullying Prevention Awareness month on October 4, 2018.

Rally for Bully-Free Communities on October 4, 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. (Grades 5-12)

Once again, the good folks at EMPOWER Leadership Sports in Middletown have generously offered to host the rally on their grounds. The Council of Business Partners at CFMC will provide free bus transportation for all Middlesex County middle and high school students and educators who want to attend this informational and motivational event.

Some highlights of what to expect this October:

  • FREE BUS TRANSPORTATION. One bus will be provided at no cost to each school district for transportation of educators and students in grades 5-12.
  • OUTDOOR “EMPOWERMENT” ACTIVITIES. Each school community will participate in interactive, team building stations aimed at developing empathy, confidence, and community.
  • POSITIVE PERSONAL STORIES. Guest speakers of all ages will share how they overcame adversity and created a path toward positive change.
  • FREE “AGENT OF CHANGE” T-SHIRTS. Each person attending the rally will be given a tee to wear during the rally and to take home.
  • TEACHER RESOURCE KIT FOR EACH PARTICIPATING SCHOOL.  With our partners at Rushford, we have developed a kit of resource information and activities which you can take back to your school and share with your fellow teachers and students.
  • SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING. Post photos at facebook.com/Campaign.Bullyfree.Communities or on Instagram @CFMC_CT, or take the pledge at BullyFreeMiddlesexCF.org.

Since 2009, in partnership with RUSHFORD, the CFMC Council of Business Partners has provided funding and support for the development of school-based programs that create safe and healthy learning environments. In  collaboration with the Connecticut Association of Schools, The First Tee of Connecticut, EMPOWER Leadership Sports, Donny  Marshall, i CRV Radio, 2018 Campaign Ambassador Renee DiNino, and many others, we invite you to join us for a morning of empowering activities and personal stories aimed at building a community of connection and support.

Campaigning for Bully-Free Communities

September 19, 2018 • Uncategorized
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COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF MIDDLESEX COUNTY

COMMUNITY COLUMN

 CAMPAIGNING FOR BULLY-FREE COMMUNITIES. October is National Bullying Prevention month, and the Community Foundation of Middlesex County is recognizing the great work being done in our local communities by the many individuals who are dedicated to creating a safe, kind and positive environment for our young people.  Together, educators, health professionals, youth counselors, local business owners, and media personalities are partners in the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities, using their voices, time, and talents to take action to help making every community in Middlesex County bully-free.

The Campaign for Bully-Free Communities was started by members of the Council of Business Partners Fund at the Community Foundation. The Council is a philanthropic, action-oriented group of local business people who pool their resources to support positive youth development programs. In 2009, through a partnership with Rushford mental health professionals, they funded the development of numerous anti-bullying programs. To date the program has helped more than 10,000 educators, students, and school bus drivers recognize and prevent negative social behaviors. Council members then expanded their efforts and launched the Campaign for Bully-Free Communities in collaboration with Rushford, the Connecticut Association of Schools, Empower Leadership Sports, The First Tee of Connecticut, iCRV Radio, and former NBA/UCONN basketball star and campaign spokesperson Donny Marshall. This year, Renee DiNino, Community Relations Director for iHeart Radio, has officially joined the campaign as Chief Ambassador.

Renee will help shine a light on the people and resources empowering individuals to choose kindness, respect and positive change through her Community Show broadcasts. She will also highlight the 5th annual Rally for Bully-Free Communities on October 4 at EMPOWER Leadership Sports Center in Middletown. The Council of Business Partners fund the transportation costs for 400+ educators and students of all abilities to attend a morning of empowering, team building activities and inspirational student speakers. The Council also provides support for community-based, internet-safety speaker programs covering the dangers and risks involved with sharing information on the Internet while teaching best practices for safety and privacy protection.

The Council also teamed up with the Community Foundation’s At Risk Boys Fund and individual donors to present a Buddy Bench to every elementary school in Middlesex County. The Buddy Benches are made by at-risk youth residing at Rushford Academy. The Rushford students are building the benches as a way to learn a life skill and give back to their community.  Buddy Benches are social inclusion tools, providing a conduit for grade school children to “buddy up” with those who may be feeling isolated during recess or other free play activity times. We are honored to work with so many people and businesses who are working together to make a difference in the lives of our youth and our community. We invite you to join us as we campaign for respect, kindness and positive change in each and every community. Learn more by giving us a call at 860-347-0025 or visiting us online at BullyFreeMiddlesexCountyCF.org.

Buddying Up For Positive Change in Middlesex County

When is a bench so much more than a bench? When does a bench have the power to connect people of all ages and experiences and create a community of upstanders? When it is a Buddy Bench built by at-risk youth from Rushford Academy in Durham. Thanks to 34 individual donors and the countless contributors to two Funds at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County, the residential teen students are learning positive life skills and giving back to their community. The students at Rushford Academy are building wooden benches for local schools to use as a social inclusion tool. The benches are clearly labeled “Buddy Bench” and strategies for use are provided to school staff and students with each installation.

The initial idea for the bench building project came from a Rushford Academy resident supervisor’s desire to engage the young men recovering from substance abuse. He was looking for an interactive activity that would foster teamwork, commitment, and useable skills. The “Buddy Bench” project was the perfect opportunity – adding purpose and a community service benefit to the young men’s efforts and providing a conduit for grade school children to “buddy up” with those who may be feeling isolated during recess or other free play activity times. All that was missing was the money to cover the cost of materials. Through a grant application to CFMC’s At-Risk Boys Fund, the project came to the attention of the Community Foundation. CFMC’s Council of Business Partners Fund, a group of local business owners supporting positive youth development programs throughout the year, immediately agreed that the project met both Funds’ missions, and the residential teens at Rushford Academy received a grant to produce the first four buddy benches. With one bench in production, the project took on new life and funding expanded to include benches for all elementary schools attending last year’s Rally For Bully-Free Communities, an annual event organized by the CFMC Council of Business Partners.

After the first Buddy Bench installation at Spencer Elementary School in October, interest and support for the program grew exponentially, with individual Community Foundation donors stepping up to fund enough Buddy Benches to cover all elementary and lower-middle schools in Middlesex County and beyond. To date, donor funded benches have been presented to Deep River Elementary School and The Country School in Madison. The increased production demand also created a need for more supervisors and mentors to work with the Rushford Academy students. At-risk men from Rushford’s Stonehaven program answered the call and are now volunteering their time as part of their recovery and community service work, underscoring the concept of “Buddying Up for Positive Change.”

 

(as submitted to www.courant.com/community/hc-ugc-article-buddying-up-for-positive-change-in-middlesex-2018-06-20-story.html)

2017 Bully-Free Rally Retrospective

October 9, 2017 • Events,Pressroom
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We would like to thank everyone – students, adults, volunteers, Council of Business Partners, and CFMC Board of Directors – who made the 2017 Campaign for Bully-Free Communities Rally a great success. This year we were joined by over 400 youth and adults to spend a morning participating in team-building activities, supporting incredible speakers sharing their personal stories, and affirming our commitment to be UP-Standers by taking the Bully-Free Communities Pledge.

Take a look at some of the fun we had this year:   Continue Reading »

Spotlight on “Kindness Counts”

Spotlight on “Kindness Counts” – one yummy taste at a time!

Bravo, Munson’s Chocolates!

Cynthia Clegg, Dave Director, Jim Florence, Karen Munson

The Community Foundation of Middlesex County’s Council of Business Partners is delighted to present its “Spotlight Award” to Munson’s Chocolates, a third generation family-owned business, based in Bolton, Connecticut.

The Spotlight Award is given to organizations who take a proactive role in encouraging our young people to be “Upstanders, not Bystanders.” It is awarded by the Council of Business Partners, who established a Fund at the Community Foundation with the mission to stand up to bullying and all mean-spirited behavior.

Munson’s Chocolates fits the bill in so many sweet and delicious ways with its “Kindness Counts” school project. They asked Connecticut elementary and middle school students to come up with a design for a chocolate bar wrapper that conveyed a positive message encouraging everyone to treat all with respect. The winning label, reading “Kindness Counts”, was created by Ashford, Connecticut student, Anna. Not only did Anna’s school receive a $500 grant, but Munson’s Chocolates went the extra (sweet) mile by donating part of the proceeds of the sale of Kindness bars to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Connecticut.

Munson’s Chocolate has a history of supporting our young people and our schools. They are extremely proud to provide “first job experiences to many young people.” Now they can add “Upstander” to their many acts of kindness.

 

Read more about the Spotlight Award HERE from the Hartford Courant.

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