Buddy takes a photo moment with a group of the students who think Kindness is Cool along with Mike Bismeyer, Sales Manager – Transit Division, Seon, who spoke with the kids, shared his personal bullying story, and sat down with a few kids and got in on the coloring.
Last week our United Against Bullying team and mascot, Buddy the Safety Bear, visited two grade 5 leadership classes at Richard Bulpitt Elementary School in Langley, BC. We talked about kindness and bullying, listened to the kids share their experiences, and introduced the Coloring Contest. Thank you to the Principal, Ms. Lucy Lenko, and Ms. Karm Connolly and other gracious teachers for the opportunity to have fun with their students. The school has a Positive Behaviour Matrix, B.A.R.K.S. – Be Respectful, Accountable, Responsible, Kind, and Safe – values that are similar to ours.
At United Against Bullying (UAB), the national social campaign of Safe Fleet, the leading provider of safety solutions for fleet vehicles, we envision a world without bullying – full of kindness, empathy, and safety. UAB helps create safe and respectful environments for children and adults by offering resources, inspiration, and funding to schools and organizations to empower young people and to end bullying.
One of our annual campaigns is the Coloring Contest. This year the theme is “Kindness is Cool” and features Buddy the Bear and his friend Squirrel. We run this contest to encourage schools and organizations working with children to have conversations with kids about bullying and kindness, because we believe kindness stops bullying. It’s very hard to continue to be a bully when someone only responds with kind words.
The contest is open to all school-age children, with one winner from each of three different age groups: 5-7, 8-10, and 11+. There are prizes for each winner to make the contest fun for everyone: a ‘Kindness is Cool’ medal, a United Against Bullying button, a Build-a-Bear certificate, and a small mascot Buddy (wearing his anti-bullying t-shirt). Each winning student’s school will receive a $500 award to be used for any anti-bullying or kindness project of their choice.
Anyone can submit a colored sheet including school bus drivers (they submit a lot – thank you!), teachers, parents, counsellors, etc. Tell your artists to be creative to make their drawing stand out from the others, as we created a simple design to encourage them to ‘think outside the lines’.
The children we met at Richard Bulpitt school were keen to share stories about when they were bullied or saw others being bullied. The statistics are sad: one out of every three or four children will be impacted by bullying, and it starts as early as kindergarten. By empowering children, they will be the ones to end bullying.
Mike Bismeyer shared his story of bullying with the two classes. When he was a child, a bully used to regularly take his lunch away from him. One day, one of Mike's friends brought in an extra lunch so that Mike didn't go hungry again. That offer of kindness affected Mike so strongly, that to this day he brings an extra lunch – to make sure no one goes hungry and feels alone. What a great story on the power of kindness to share with the students.
We encourage you to share this Coloring Contest with the kids in your care and have a conversation that could make a difference for someone. We never know the ripple effects of our words and actions, but be assured that there are many.
To download the coloring sheet and for more information on the Coloring Contest: unitedagainstbullying.net/coloring-contest
To subscribe to our bi-monthly e-newsletter, The Ripple Effect, ‘Join the Community’ at: unitedagainstbullying.net/uab-program/archived-newsletters