Kids! of the Month
Amazing Kids! is proud to highlight the Amazing Kids! of the Month!
month, we showcase kids who are accomplishing amazing
things. We hope that by telling their special stories, we will inspire
other kids to accomplish their own amazing achievements.
Kid! of the Month for August, 2008:
“If kids aren't worried about being bullied, they will be able to learn better in school. They will feel more ‘free’ about being themselves.”
Gerritt, Age 11
Our August 2008 Amazing Kid! of the Month:
Bullying is a serious problem in many schools across the nation, affecting thousands of children each year. Last year, the Summit View School, a school for children with learning differences in Culver City, California adopted a unique approach to raise awareness and understanding about this problem. Among other things, it asked its students to design a t-shirt to promote an anti-bullying message. Little did the teachers and students know that the winning t-shirt designed by eleven year old Summit View student Gerritt would inspire an amazing anti-bullying movement that is beginning to spread to schools across America.
Read on to learn how one eleven year old boy was able to tap into his imagination to create a slogan that has been inspiring kids across the country to: “Be Buddies, Not Bullies!”
Don't forget: If you, or a young person
(or persons!) you know, has an
amazing project you are involved in, or a special skill,
ability you want to tell the world about, be sure to let Amazing Kids!
know about it! Simply complete our
Amazing Kids! of the Month award online
form, visit our AKOM nomination information page
Table of Contents
Bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis. Children who are bullied experience real suffering that can interfere with their social and emotional development, as well as their school performance. Childhood bullies are more likely to become young adult criminals than are non-bullies. (Source: American Association of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry)
Last year, Summit View School, located in Culver City, California, started a unique program to tackle the issue of bullying. The goal was to educate and empower their students to help prevent bullying. First, the teachers had class discussions with students about what bullying meant to them and shared their own experiences with the kids. Then, they introduced lesson plans that helped students understand bullying. The administration at Summit View has integrated many programs into the educational day – ranging from bullying and teasing, to good decision making and acceptance of peoples’ differences.
“We work hard to deal with the ‘whole child.’ While our emphasis is on specific learning disabilities and acquiring reading and language skills, we acknowledge that students who have these issues sometimes need help in making better judgments and learning ways to cope with regular life circumstances,” says Nancy Rosenfelt, Director of Summit View.
The next step was to initiate a t-shirt contest to help kids put their own ideas on paper. The Summit View school used verymeri's t-shirt design contest fund raising process (www.verymeri.com) to further their anti-bullying theme. All the students were asked to submit ideas for their new anti-bullying school tee.
After sorting through dozens of great designs, Gerritt's design, “Be Buddies Not Bullies,” was the unanimous winner.
“It just came to me.” says 11 year old Gerritt about his simple-yet-powerful design.
Gerritt’s t-shirt design and its positive anti-bullying message was a standout, and was so inspiring that verymeri founder and CEO Meri Zeiff decided to create an entire anti-bullying movement around it. The movement has been spreading to other schools across the United States.
The amazing momentum of the Anti-Bullying campaign has been very rewarding for Zeiff. A former elementary school teacher, Zeiff launched verymeri to counter-balance the negative messages and expressions on clothing she was seeing on the playground.
“As a teacher, I was incredibly surprised that I never saw clothing that expressed the joyful, whimsical things I was hearing my kids say every day,” says Zeiff, who has a master degree in counseling psychology. “I decided to launch a t-shirt line, using kids’ designs that gave voice to their unending creativity with positive messages, beautiful colors and inspirational ideas.”
All verymeri tees are designed by kids through t-shirt design contests in schools, camps, non-profit organizations, and online. The winning online designs are then made available for purchase in stores and at www.verymeri.com. Three percent of each verymeri tee sold goes toward supporting Free Arts For Abused Children (www.freearts.org), a non-profit organization that provides art services to at-risk children and families throughout the United States. Schools, camps, and non-profits use their winning designs as fundraisers for their organizations.
Gerritt and Summit View School will receive a portion of all sales of his "Be Buddies" t-shirt, along with verymeri’s partner charity, Free Arts for Abused Children.
“It's been such a positive experience for our child, and we think that the anti-bullying message is such an important one to be encouraged.” say Gerritt's parents about the whole experience.
To purchase a “Be Buddies Not Bullies” t-shirt, visit the verymeri website at: www.verymeri.com.
(Editor's Note: verymeri and Amazing Kids! have teamed up for the Launch My Dream! T-Shirt Design Contest, to help raise funding for the Launch My Dream! Initiative. If you are between the ages of 6 and 17 and want to try designing a t-shirt too, check out the contest information page at: www.amazing-kids.org/lmdtcontest08.html
The school community embraced the new tee and it is often seen through the hallways of Summit View School and the Culver City community.
The slogan 'Be Buddies Not Bullies' has had such an impact that other schools and organizations have been customizing their own 'Buddies' tee, complete with their logo, and selling them as a fundraiser.
Garrit’s amazing t-shirt design has even managed to create a “buzz” in Hollywood, and television celebrities like Kristy Swanson ("Skating with Celebrities"), Bryan Dattilo, and Ali Sweeney ("Days of our Lives") are supporting the campaign and have been seen wearing the ‘Be Buddies’ tees. The t-shirts were also recently featured on Access Hollywood and TV Guide Channel.
Read numerous articles about bullying on EducationWorld.com website, including “Bullying Intervention Strategies That Work”: www.educationworld.com/a_curr/shore/shore063.shtml
To learn more about the special education programs for students with different learning styles offered by Summit View school, visit: www.summitview.org
Are You a Budding T-Shirt Designer?
Enter the Launch My Dream! T-Shirt Design Contest!!!
Kids ages 6-17 are invited to enter the Launch My Dream! T-Shirt Design Contest sponsored by verymeri and Amazing Kids! The winner will have their t-shirt made and sold, and will receive a portion of sales along with Amazing Kids!, to support our Launch My Dream! initiative (www.amazing-kids.org/launchmydream.html), helping kids launch their dreams.
It's no secret...every person has an "amazing-ness" inside of them, just waiting to be discovered. (Sometimes we just need a little help in finding out what that "amazing-ness" is!)
If you are doing some amazing things too, we want to hear about it! Send us your stories about your amazing accomplishments, so we can tell the world just how amazing you are! We are always looking for new stories. And don't be shy! We'd love to hear from you!
WHY NOT HELP OTHERS SEE THEIR OWN POTENTIAL?
If you know someone who needs a little encouragement, why not tell them what you think is special about them? Maybe you can be the one to help them uncover their own special talent.Amazing Kids! is looking for teens to be Amazing Teen Volunteers and Ambassadors. If you'd like to join Amazing Kids! in helping to spread the word, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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