TommyCar Auto Group Attends Unify Against Bullying Grant Ceremony

TommyCar Auto Group was honored to attend Unify Against Bullying’s Grant Ceremony.

Our No. 1 goal is to inspire youth of all ages and to ignite their ideas as to how to prevent bullying," Maiwald said in a prepared statement. "We encourage parents, guidance personnel, teachers, administrators and charity partners to also apply. Their programs must be dedicated to anti-bullying education and furthering the Unify mission: to bring an end to bullying through the celebration of true diversity."

Fourteen deserving recipients received micro grants of various amounts from a total of $16,000.00 awarded by Unify Against Bullying. In addition, one of the applicants was chosen to receive a $1000.00 grant and two others $250.00 from the Paul Mitchell Neon product line for a grand total of $17,500.00. The grants were awarded on October 23rd, 2018 at the Twin Hills Country Club, 700 Wolf Swamp Road. Twin Hills donated the venue along with the delicious refreshments the guests enjoyed.

Deborah Ashe, a high school vocational teacher for the Dean Campus of Holyoke High School, says it allows her to see the front lines of bullying and how it can affect students will start a Unify Against Bullying club to help empower students to stand strong, spread kindness and acceptance of others. The group would encourage the student to take a stand and tell an adult when they feel helpless or scared. If the program is successful in the high school, the goal is to implement it in the middle school level.

Be-a-Friend Project, Co-creators Jennifer Young and January Axelrod get inspired by giving teens and kids tools they need through the arts to make a difference in their schools and communities. Their project organizes surprise deliveries of letters of peer support (Friend Mail) from kids to kids recovering from severe bullying to keep them strong and to let them know they are not alone. They have sent over 10,000 letters from kids and teens that have taken time out to make kindness a priority, to step into the shoes of a bullied peer by learning their story and practice empathy.

Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, Lynn Morrissette, Marketing and Development Director and Daishany Miller, school program employee accepted the grant on behalf of the club and their programs; SMART Girls and Passport to Manhood. SMART girls is a health, fitness, discussion activities that reinforce positive behavior. The club’s members come from diverse backgrounds. Their home and school experiences are varied but they have one thing in common, they are all kids. At the club they can leave the world behind if only for a short while. Having the opportunity to positively affect even one member, perhaps one dealing with bullying is what motivates the staff.

Anastie Charles, a Sophomore at Roger L. Putnam Vocational Technical High School in Springfield along with three students she “hand-picked” created a group YANA (you are never alone) to spread awareness and educate younger peers on bullying and its effects. Her group wants to bring YANA out into the community also by creating events such as walks, rallies and awareness days. The group is sharing their personal experiences and opinion on bullying to the 9th graders.

FSPAB (Fifty Shades of Purple Against Bullying), Katy-Gray Sadler, founder and President of this organization says that after her son’s experience being bullied and not much changing throughout the year, she decided to create FSPAB. Their organization creates workshops based on the T.H.I.N.K. (True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, Kind) philosophy help students and educators build confidence and increase awareness about cyber, physical and verbal bullying. They believe everyone needs to feel safe in school.

Emma Guillotte (Paul Mitchell Neon recipient, presented by Tina Lankowski, Regional Director), as a former Miss Bristol County Outstanding Teen, and one who was bullied, Emma created an anti-bullying program and chose it for her platform. She presents to schools, camps and after-school programs. She teaches students how to stand up for themselves or another person, teach them the lasting impact bullying can have on a person, show the bully what their doing isn’t cool or ok and show people that are being bullied that they are not alone. Sandra Howell and Courtney Vail, co-authors, are inspired to write engrossing and stirring novels that embrace inclusion and combat bullying. Their goal is to pen novels that show kindness, tolerance and acceptance and to motivate their readers to do the same. Their captivating novels provide lessons and anti-bullying tips on how to overcome adversity. With the current novel, Angel Club 5, they weave a story about Celia who has been bullied but becomes strong and turns adversity into activism by becoming an Ambassador for Unify Against Bullying. She ultimately creates a Unify club in her school.

Jaime Mueller, remembers being unsure of herself as she entered middle school. Students made comments about her blemished skin, unique style and different haircuts. Instead of asking for help, she kept telling herself things would get better in junior high and them high school and the vicious “waiting game” followed her to college. There, she found art therapy where she felt a sense of purpose and belonging. This spurred her on in later life to create the “Teen to Tween” girl’s group. The group promotes awareness of themselves and other, kindness and builds self-esteem.

Neutral Corner, Neutral Corner’s Mission is to combat bullying by building self-confidence, self- esteem, and self-efficacy through non-contact boxing training and conditioning. Founder, Patrick Ireland says, “With permission from the Superintendent of the Springfield Public Schools, we want to continue working with the students on all of the above”. The more comfortable and confident a student is, the less likely they are to bully another.

Kelly Phillips, working as a special ed teacher in the public schools for 20+ years, Kelly loves empowering people to reach their full potential regardless of ability or disability. Students with special needs are particularly prone to bullying because of their lack of self-esteem, compromised abilities and low self-confidence. She adapted the Refleksiv Yoga program for the special needs community which helps develop their range of motion, strength, and agility as well as their self-esteem and self-confidence. This gives them more courage in public situations, helping them to overcome depression and major medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

Crystal Senter-Brown, is an author who writes books that encourage and empower children. Her newest children’s book, AJ and the Magic Kite tells the story of a little African-American boy who is being bullied at school. By learning about his history, he’s able to return to school with a newfound sense of pride. Gabby gives Back is another of her books that encourages kindness instead of bullying. She will host an event and give free books to the children to encourage literacy and increase self-esteem that will make them proud of who they are.

Wayne Soares, a former victim of bullying knows what it feels like. Wayne says, “When you are bullied, every day you have to work on something that makes you a little better and improves your self-esteem and confidence”. He is on a mission to not only create an awareness of bullying in our society but to instill confidence and self-esteem into those that are victims. His presentation offers tips and strategies on how to deal with bullies and overcome verbal and physical abuse.

Square One, Linda Laskowski, School-age Program Director and Nora Benbow, Site Coordinator accepted the grant for this non-profit that provides early education and care for their 500 at- risk children every day. Their curriculum for the school-age children is focused as much as character building, personal health, and socialization, as it is on academic with a emphasis on anti-bully behaviors. They are committed to introducing their children to fine arts and athletics as they know that helping them unveil hidden talents, and realize their personal best, they will build confidence to help deter them from becoming bullying victims.

Matt Walting, “I am inspired to make a change not only in my community but around the country and the world. I’ve noticed how my community and communities around the country are impacted by bullying and suicide. That is why I created a movie, “Just say Goodbye” to bring awareness to the issues surrounding bullying and suicide and to make sure young adults recognize the signs in their peers and know how to handle the situation. Young adults don’t hat the best methods are for helping their friends, and “Just say Goodbye” works to change that, wrapped in an emotionally telling and driven story”.