The Youth Alliance kicked off the first couple months of school with both our anti-bullying and healthy relationships programs, already visiting thousands of students in 19 school districts. Our speakers have included Dave Reardon, Reggie Dabbs, Seth Franco and our newest school-program partner, Jon Pritikin. In less than two months, we have hosted 21 family nights, and the majority of the evenings set school district parental attendance records. We also had a well-attended “Lights On” event at a local mall. It has been encouraging to hear parents express how the program’s content has impacted their children and opened up opportunities for renewed positive, constructive conversation. For instance, one Dad with his wife said, “We feel like a family again,” and that is just one example of many great responses from teachers, staff, parents and students alike. Jon Pritikin, a newcomer to TYA, brings a unique,transparent communication style coupled with his and feats of strength to woo the crowds. He hit home the powerful message of kindness and respect. John received a standing ovation at every program! Check out John’s bio and picture along with glimpses of the the last 7 weeks of programs below.
As a powerful visual demonstration of how the seemingly impossible can be accomplished, Jon opens each assembly by performing astonishing “feats of strength.” Whether it’s using his teeth to bend steel rebar, shattering a baseball bat over his leg, or rolling a frying pan—a feat that earned him a place in the 2009 Book of Guinness World Records—students and faculty are riveted by his demonstrations of physical strength. With the undivided attention of the crowd, Jon can tackle some of the very real and important self-worth issues facing today’s students.
Diagnosed at an early age with a severe learning disability, Jon endured cruel and relentless taunting, ridiculing, and bullying from his school peers and neighborhood children on a daily basis. Even some of Jon’s own teachers said surprisingly callous things that furthered his struggle with low self-worth and sinking sense of personal value.
Today, with the 20 years of success in his field and the appreciation and recommendation of countless organizations, Jon travels across the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia using his own story to positively and effectively challenge students of all ages to address the widespread issues of bullying, poor self-image and overcoming personal obstacles.
With less than a month until school’s back in session, I wanted to take a minute to share a few highlights from our after school and summer programs. We had 180 students hit the court for an end-of-the-season 76ers game. Then another crowd of nearly 200 students cheered their way through a Camden Riversharks ballgame. From the ballpark to the classroom, we implemented our character enrichment program in conjunction with our anti-bullying curriculum for students, staff and families in four cities, Vineland, Bridgeton, Millville and Port Norris. Research has shown that the most effective anti-bullying programs are multi-level, and so this summer students engaged in living bully-free interactive lessons, families joined us for fun events focusing on parent and community support, and staff participated in harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) professional development training. Everyone actively engaged in strategies to prevent, reduce, and address bullying, including cyberbulling. Our anti-bullying educators and staff professional development facilitators are able to serve these programs through our cooperation with the Cumberland Empowerment Zone and the 21st Century Grant. We have included some pictures from the activities along with some videos of some of the family events at local schools, along with our Family’s 411 guide to bullying. Big thanks to all of our sponsors that make this possible.
We can’t believe it’s June, it seems like we were just getting ready for the busy school year! We finished the year strong with Keith Elias, Seth Franco and Barrett Brooks doing school programs. We have included pictures and videos of Barrett and Keith Elias sharing themes centering around hope, choices and anti-bullying. Also, you can see our new parent’s guide to cyber-bullying below. Check this and other events out at www.theyouthalliance.com.
Well year 14 of the Got Game 3on3 was a huge hit. Below is a link to local newspaper article,a message from a parent and a video that pretty much sums it up check this and other events out at www.theyouthalliance.com
Message From a Parent: “Good Morning! I just wanted to thank you for having the 3on3 basketball game in Vineland this past weekend. My son Keith played on the team Charm City which won the 14-12th division. He really enjoyed himself along with his team. He got to meet some new people and have lots of fun too. I am so thankful for activities like this in the community! The group of staff that ran the event were very nice and helpful!”
Our schools were rocking this month we brought Seth Franco, Vai Sikahema, Garry Cobb and Reggie Dabbs to implement our Healthy Relationships and anti-bullying programs. We had the privilege of visiting 61 schools for a total of 73 programs and 21 family events. It was an action-packed, exciting time. Below is the student handout detailing healthy relationships and also some common misconceptions about bullying that are included in our programs.
2012, what a great start to the year. This year promises to be remarkably productive, and just out of the gate, we have already brought tens of thousands of students our character ed and anti-bullying campaigns. In January we were on the road with Reggie Dabbs, Chris Hollyfield and Brian Propp. Although you’re probably familiar with Reggie, here is a brief background and some words from educators regarding Chris and Brian’s programs:
“Chris Hollyfield was an excellent motivator to our students. His message of tolerance and not letting obstacles interfere with the things he can accomplish in life was carried throughout our entire school.” Matthew J. Mazzoni,Principal
“Never before have I seen a team as powerful as The Youth Alliance in evoking deep reflection and providing the most thought provoking production in a room of over 400 middle school students.” You all are truly amazing!!” Mrs. Le Andrea Ware, Principal
Brian Propp (born February 15, 1959) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey left winger who played 15 seasons in the NHL from 1979 until 1994. He also worked as a broadcaster for the Philadelphia Flyers for nine seasons, finishing in 2008.
Propp holds a very dubious achievement in that he went to the Stanley Cup Finals five times, with Philadelphia in 1980, 1985, and 1987, with the Boston Bruins in 1990 and with Minnesota in 1991, without ever winning a Stanley Cup. He also played in the NHL All-Star game five times.
During the NHL labour stoppage in 1994, Propp played as a player-coach for HC Anglet in France. After the lockout, however, Propp did not return as a player to the NHL.
Propp finished with 1,004 points over 1,016 NHL games over 15 NHL seasons, and ranks second in Flyers history in goals (369, behind Bill Barber), second in assists (480, a distant second behind Bobby Clarke), and third overall in games played in a Flyers uniform (behind Barber and Clarke).
Chris Hollyfield is a motivational speaker, actor, and business owner. In addition, he has been on ESPN, 60 minutes, Dateline NBC, and Primetime Live. You may also know him as “Little Boogeyman” on WWE Smack Down. In addition to his acting, Chris is also the founder of 3D T.E.A.M. and works with kids encouraging them to do their best at everything they do. He is a little person with a huge heart. He gives back to his community and definitely knows what bullying is…Measuring 4-foot-4, an unprecedented motivational speaker, he is perceived as an undersized man in an oversized world, and maximizes his visual difference to help students recognize, and avoid, teasing and bullying among their peers. Chris has an enormous impact on kids because of his experiences and accomplishments in life.
Through our new anti-bullying campaign and website (www.livingbullyfree.com), we have embarked on a new, thought-provoking angle of our character education services. This multi-faceted program instantly takes an active role in students’ lives, as evidenced by the tremendous feedback and social networking trail of student responses to the programs that pour in after any given event. This influence is compounded by the opportunity to share with the faculty and staff of the schools through workshops and also with the parents at family nights held across many school districts. Faculty responses have likewise been overwhelming, with feedback like, “Finally, professional development from the classroom perspective from like someone who has obviously taught.” And, “This training wasn’t just ‘in theory’ but real and applicable.” We were able to end the year serving 23 cities where every kids K-12 heard a valuable message on how to stand against bullying along with there schools staff. Check out for yourself what some kids had to say:
“You spoke at My High School today, and I have to say, you are an amazing speaker. You touched the hearts of many and some even cried at some point, including me. Now I know that if I do see someone being bullied, I’m stepping in and helping that victim by telling an adult. I’ve heard of many cases of kids taking their lives because of bullying and it kills me that I cant do anything about it. What can I do to help?
Thank you for opening my eyes out to the harms of bullying. I really appreciate it, as did everyone else that heard you”
“You came to my school today. I walked into the auditorium thinking we were getting another lecture on drugs and alcohol. Instead I walked into the best day I’ve had in a long time.
You see, I’m a mean person. I’m mean to everyone around me to cover up my pain. I have trouble at home. When I was younger my life was hell. There was so much physical abuse in my life. Now I’m stuck with emotional abuse and I can tell you one thing…I’d rather have the life beaten out of me…
I consider suicide almost every day. I cry myself to sleep almost every night. My mother lives 700 miles away, my dad’s in and out of jail, and my grandparents…well…I’m just not good enough for them. In order to keep these feelings inside, I bully other kids. Today you made me realize that I could be the reason some girl cries herself to sleep every night. I could be the reason another boy kills himself. You made me realize that I need a change. I was nice to everyone after listening to you. It felt good to look at the girl who sits by herselfat lunch in silence, the girl who has no friends, the girl who gets picked on by everyone…by me..everyday and say “You look really nice today”. Like you said, everyone deserves to be loved. Though I don’t get much love at home, I know there’s someone out there who does love me. Thank you so much for coming to my school today. “
“Thanks for coming to Vineland High school today. It was really amazing. I mean, I’ve seen you before at other schools. I think today, however, I really loved this assembly on bullying. For some reason, it impacted a lot of students, who honestly, I didn’t think we’re going any care over the subject. Thanks for making a difference in Vineland. It really helps!”
“So, today you came to my school , and I’ve seen you at least 3 times and every time you never fail to make me think, and you never fail to inspire me. So thank you, because of you I make it a point to smile and compliment everyone.”
“I just wanted to thank you for coming to my high school today. You really inspired me to do something big, and it starts with me helping the younger kids and the teens who really need help. I want to be part of the help, I want to help kids break free from their prison chains which is held by fear and loneliness. The story you told us about your friend tony took a lot of courage to say because he recently passed away and I’m sorry for your loss. It truly did speak out to me with everything you did from the story to the performance done by the Australian teens (which was really good). I don’t know if you here it a lot, but just thank you for everything you’ve done and everything you will do, it takes a lot of courage to do it. I’ve seen you before but never personally talk to you, and I would like to. I want to help people the same way you do, I want to change people lives for the better and have people see things in a different light. “
“my name is ____________. im 16 years old and go to ________ public high school in NJ. And I wanna thank you!!! you changed my whole perspective on life. everyday go through life blaming my self for everything.. Even my only sisters death when I was 6(died in car crash at age 19)…this morning I couldnt take it anymore so i grabbed a knife and was about to kill myself, but wasnt strong enough to… so i went to school and when i sat down and listened to u it made me think if i leave now ill never know what im gonna become or who i will be hurting if i die so now 15 hours later im a better and new person who doesnt have to blam everything on herself.life will be boring without me (so says my friends lol)and i know im here for a reason i just have to find that reason. Most importantly im now here because of u so thank you!! for doing what you do AND SAVING MY LIFE!! I dont know if i could ever repay you, but i can start by thanking you and hope thats enough:), from a new and better person.”
“Im a student of VHS thanks for coming today, I was once a victim of being bullied and had those thoughts of ending my life . But I overcame that and why you may ask , because of you, your words inspired me. Thanks so much. “
As the principal of an elementary school in South Jersey, I typically don’t schedule assemblies but I would schedule Reggie Dabbs again. I was told he was worth the time and he was! Without a hestitation, I would recommend him. Patrice Taylor, Principal Clayton Public schools
That’s all we can say. Your probably saying where have you been, well for 3 months we were serving 37 school districts , doing 32 family nites , 26 family dinners and speaking to over 162,000 students and families! Yes that’s one hundred and sixty two thousand students with 4 of our communicators Seth Franco, Reggie Dabbs, Preston Centuolo and Vai Sikahema and our anti- bullying campaign. So for this update I thought I would let the faculty, students and parents say it all this time.
“My name is Adam Fender and I am the assistant principal at Kenston Middle School where you spoke at this past Tuesday 11/9/11. That afternoon, two related students went home and told their mother about a young man (sixth grader) who has been talking about ending his life due to bullying. The mother called the school to inform us of the situation and so we followed through. After investigating the situation, it turns out that the boy has been verbally abused not only by other students, but also by his parents. He created a list on his computer of many negative remarks made to him by various people with at closing remark that said “my life is worthless”. When I asked the two initial students why the decided to tell their mother what was happening, they both stated that You inspired them to tell someone what was going on.”
“The Youth Alliance is a wonderful resource for all schools to assist in addressing the recent HIB legislation that went into effect this school year. Our school had the pleasure of having Vai Sikahema, former Philadelphia Eagle and Channel 10 Sports Director, in to speak with our students and parents. I can tell you that as the Principal of Veterans Memorial School, I believe we are a better, more informed school after the assembly. Vai had an amazing effect on our students and I honestly believe, reached many of our students. We have used The Youth Alliance in the past, and we will continue to in the future. I urge all schools to look into one of their programs…..you won’t be disappointed! ….Mario Olsen, Princpal
I’m a student from Buena Regional High School and I’m really happy you came to our school today. I’ve seen you a few times now but I love hearing that your coming”. That 8th grade girl you told us about did have alot of nerve because even though I thought of each of those things before, I would never have the guts to say it in front of anyone and after hearing the story, it made me feel so much better to know I wasn’t alone. It’s not that my family life is bad don’t get me wrong I just don’t really succeed in anything I do but after hearing your speech over and over I know to “Never give up!” I wanted to thank you. But other than you just coming to the high school, I wanted to thank you for performing for the Buena Regional Middle School. My brother is in 6th grade this year and things have been hard on him. He gets into fights everywhere but school and he has alot of friends but alot of them are fake and he does wish sometimes like the little girl. You don’t know how much it kills me inside when he says he only takes up space and there’s no reason as to why he should have been born… especially because people pick on him and he’s not a bad kid he’s pretty cool when you know him so he loves you and you’ve definitely given him inspiration and pointed him in the right direction so thank you so much , not only for brightening my day today, but also my brother’s =)
“Vai Sikahema, former Philadelphia Eagles player, sports director at Philadelphia’s NBC10 TV and the host of “Wednesday’s Child,” a segment promoting the adoption of children, visited the area recently to deliver an anti-bullying message, said Jennifer Frederico, Petway principal.
Sikahema’s presentation, which included his personal experiences with bullying, was shared with all students, said Frederico. The visit was arranged through cooperation with the The Youth Alliance as part of the district’s anti-bullying initiative. In addition to Petway, Sikahema visited Veterans Memorial School Oct. 28 and will speak at Wallace Middle School on Jan. 4. According to Frederico, Sikahema’s interactive presentation targets both prevention and intervention, empowering students to recognize, refuse and report bullying. In the evening, Sikahema presented his motivational assembly to the Petway parents. A dinner was provided, for the evening event, through a generous NJEA PRIDE in Education grant. During the evening event, Seth Franco, a former Harlem Globetrotter who is making similar presentations in district schools, made a surprise visit, said Frederico. Franco visited Landis School on Oct. 29 and Rossi School on Oct. 24. “He (Franco) spoke to the parents and students about overcoming adversity even when it is difficult,” said Frederico. “He spoke of perseverance and effort related to reaching your goals. He also entertained everyone with his many basketball talents explaining that after a significant injury (which prevented him from a career in professional basketball he practiced and practiced developing the many tricks which led to his time with the Harlem Globetrotters.” Frederico said both men made a “true connection” with the school’s students and parents. “They are phenomenal individuals who believe in helping children see their potential,” she said. “Petway staff has had a strong focus on character education through our Pathway to Patriot Pride Program,” said Frederico. “Through the development of character skills and powerful role-models, our students will learn the importance of recognizing and stopping bullying in our school.” “Vai Sikahema connected with the students, sharing real life experiences the children could understand,” she said. “His message —‘everyone can make a difference’ — was powerful. Our students learned how to stand together to end bullying.”
” I was at Atlantic city high school. Yhu are so inspirational. Yhu made me laugh & cry,just thinking about some if the things Yhu said made me think of myself. I really wanted to come see yhu again tonight but sadly I couldn’t. I just wanted to thanking for giving me an assembly I will nvrr forget & that was so inspiring & inspirational. honestly I love yhu !
As the school year approaches, we are debuting several new features surrounding our anti-bullying programs. We have unveiled a new website geared towards parents, teachers and educators, www.livingbullyfree.com. When you have a moment, we invite you to browse this site. If you wish to share information about our comprehensive services with your local school district, please call 1-888-480-SJYA and we will mail you our anti-bullying program brochures. Also, feel free to forward the promotional below or link to our site, www.livingbullyfree.com. Check out this and more at www.theyouthalliance.com.