The Safe Fleet Family Spreads Kindness
2017 At A Glance
January – March: Annual Grant Program
January – March: Resource Tuesdays
February: Pink Shirt Day
May: Seon – Cycling for Diversity
May: Partnership with Be Strong
July: Prime Design Ride with PeaceMaker MN
August: Elkhart Brass Community Event: Waves of Kindness Dunk Tank
September: Prime Design at Twins Game with PeaceMaker MN
July – October: I HEART Kindness Coloring & Poster Contest
October: ROM – Pumpkin Palooza
October: Bullying Prevention Month Campaign
December: Golden Rule Challenge
In 2017, our United Against Bullying program drew attention from many new school districts, teachers, social workers, school counsellors, transportation departments, non-profits, and the public. It is exciting to acknowledge the differences our offices are making in their respective communities. Every division in our program shares information on our annual grant and coloring contests with their local schools, and participates in various community and school events throughout the year.
2017 Grant Program
Our Grant Program received 121 applications. Our blog highlights some of the grant winners’ stories on how the funding was used to create change and keep the conversation of resilience and kindness present. The strongest underlying message we hear repeatedly is the importance of keeping this conversation happening every day to shift the school’s culture toward the desired behaviors. That is the mission of our United Against Bullying program.
“Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out.” – unknown
We had several grant winners close to Safe Fleet offices. Staff from those offices were able to present awards in person:
- FRC: Smithtown High School East and Tackan Elementary, Lisa Radesco and Theresa Melville
- Seon: Reach Society, Mike Bismeyer and Teresa Lynne
- Prime Design: Cottage Grove Middle School, Moreland Elementary, and PeaceMaker MN, Melissa Bauer
FRC presented to grant winners: Morgan Tavis Woods, Lisa Radesco, Dr. Kevin Simmons, Principal, Theresa Melville, Jeremy Melnick, Social Worker, Smithtown HS East, St. James, NY
During the three months the grant program was open, we researched organizations offering bullying prevention resources and training. Every Tuesday we promoted one resource on social media to help schools, parents, students, and other organizations find useful tools and inspiration. We summarized the Tuesday Resources: unitedagainstbullying.net/take-action-with-resource-tuesdays.
Pink Shirt Day
In February, Safe Fleet celebrated Pink Shirt Day with pizzazz. We had a photo selfie Pink Shirt Day contest on social media and most of our divisions sent in and posted individual and group photos showing their support to end bullying. There were pizza lunches, catered breakfasts, draws for staff wearing pink, 50/50s, and even fun team building exercises with pink glitter. For a full recount of 2017 Pink Shirt Day: unitedagainstbullying.net/pinkitforward
In May, Mike Bismeyer from Seon, joined forces with a local non-profit group, Cycling for Diversity Foundation, for their annual Bike Ride. Over two days a group of six riders cycled and spoke at nine schools and stopped at a local City Hall to receive a city-wide Diversity Proclamation. For the full story: unitedagainstbullying.net/celebrating-diversity
Mike also spoke this year at two local Rotary Clubs, the University of Fraser Valley, and several school presentations. He became a member of the APTA Diversity & Inclusion Council, which serves to encourage, promote, and celebrate diversity throughout all levels of the transportation industry and associations.
At an APTA Safety Meeting in Houston, Mike challenged the other attending delegates on the last night to gather up their hotel toiletries and make any sort of small donation for the SAFE Foundation, a charity for Houston Metro Employees and their families who were affected by Hurricane Harvey. The next morning Mike collected seven pounds of toiletries, one bag of clothing, and $471 in cash and gift cards from the 40 attendees. Thanks Mike for living the message of kindness. As Mike shares, “It was an inspiring 2017 working with UAB, and partnering with diverse groups of school kids, community leaders, and everyday people passionate about making change and leading by example.”
Also in May of last year, Safe Fleet | United Against Bullying was recognized for our commitment to safety and our CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) when Be Strong, a non-profit focused on empowering youth with resilience and strength to end bullying, contacted and invited us to be in partnership with them. Their organization is entirely funded by sponsors; however, we are the first corporation they have chosen to align with. Our partnership will continue as we support each other’s common cause to end bullying. Read more about Be Strong: unitedagainstbullying.net/hope-and-resiliency
Prime Design, headed by Melissa Bauer, UAB Coordinator, attended presentation ceremonies for grants and contests and spoke at several school programs. One grant winner, PeaceMaker MN (PM), has joined us as a partner and Melissa participated at several of their functions. She volunteered for their annual fundraising bike ride, including riding in the event, as well as co-presented awards at a Twins Game during half-time to schools PM recognized for improvements on the Olweus’ scores (indicating a decrease in reported bullying). A past Prime Design employee started a new local non-profit, Music United Against Bullying. He fundraises for schools’ bullying education programs and Melissa volunteered at their first event. Melissa shares, “2017 was a pivotal year for us here at Prime Design and our United Against Bullying efforts! We enjoyed seeing all the changes that come from our united effort.”
Elkhart Brass, Tammy Hilliker, and Mirrors, Kate Lutomski, are active in Indiana working with the Move2Stand local bullying prevention program at the Elkhart Community Schools. Every year they bring our campaign to their annual Back to School Community Fair. This year they had a dunk tank dubbed “Waves of Kindness” and over four hundred kids paid to knock the tank participants in the drink. UAB materials were handed out. The Elkhart group also hosted a Wellness Fair for staff with the Move2Stand group and raised funds for three high school scholarships of $3,500.
At FRC, Lisa Radesco and Theresa Melville, presented checks to grant and contest winners and were invited with other staff to participate at a local school multi-cultural event. We’re told that the staff, after being coerced to participate, really enjoyed themselves and the school really appreciated the help.
Kim Freeman, UAB Coordinator, and ROM’s Social Responsibility Team Coordinator, Adam Silkwood have participated in the Belton Community Fair for the past two years. The Pumpkin Palooza is celebrated on Hallowe'en and attended by over 1,500 community members and ROM hands out buttons, stickers, and other giveaways they fundraise to pay for.
I HEART Kindness Contests
This year’s Coloring and Poster Contests started over 3,000 conversations. These are just the entries we received, but many teachers said they had a school-wide coloring contest and only submitted the best. Just imagine how many new conversations on bullying, kindness, inclusion, resilience, etc. these contests inspired.
In December we held a Golden Rule Challenge. We heard that over Christmas most of Safe Fleet’s divisions collected funds, foods, clothing, and gifts for those less fortunate. These make great Golden Rule posts to share on social media. The best part of posting pictures of kind efforts is that kindness is contagious and will often inspire more kind acts. A single drop of kindness has many ripple effects.
Our program is growing and as of the end of 2017, we welcomed three new coordinators: Nancy Henrique, Rear View Safety; Sophie Laroche, Fleetmind; and Wendi Griffiths, Coban Tech. During the year Denise Bailey, SF Bus & Rail, and Sean Martschinke, SF Truck & Trailer, joined our team. This brings our participation to 11 offices in Canada and the US. You should be proud!
It is inspiring to be part of the United Against Bullying team. Our campaigns and contests always evoke great appreciation. One teacher said, “We love your program! Thank you so much for all that you do!” From a parent, “Thanks for promoting awareness for such a sensitive and important subject!”
The most common comment I hear from coordinators who have participated in a bullying awareness event in their community has been “It was fun.” What’s not to love above making a difference for others, while having fun and feeling good about your company and yourself? Kudos to the Safe Fleet family.
To hear the news about the 2018 Grant Program, learn about free resources, and to unite with us to end bullying, subscribe to our semi-monthly newsletter: The Ripple Effect
Post by Teresa Lynne, Program Coordinator, United Against Bullying