Date: Wednesday, February 1 – A Day to Help Teachers Combat Bullying. Staff Member: Leadership Development Associate Jeremie Bateman Description: Our society's culture of bullying is a plague that has taken hold in our nation’s schools and finds its roots at the very seat of power—just look at some of the political campaign rhetoric. Today, we address bullying together and say “no more.” Click here to find projects on Donors Choose that need support, such as: “Help Us Teach Kids Ways to Prevent Bullying,” Brownville School, Maine Ms. Bowden's students write and perform puppet shows on ways to prevent bullying. The kids really enjoy using puppets, but the student puppeteers have a hard time speaking loud enough for others to hear. Ms. Bowden is collecting donations to buy microphones so the students’ projects will have a more meaningful impact. “Deep Down, We Have So Much in Common!” Stratton Meadows School, Colorado Springs Mrs. P’s creative idea combines anti-bullying, team building, and science curricula to give her students opportunities to build community and talk about the things we all have in common (even down to the cellular level!). She needs your donations to help buy books on bullying, microscopes, and an array of slides that will show her students that deep down we are all the same. To Do: Today, we address bullying together and say “no more": help teachers combat bullying by supporting anti-bullying projects across the country that require funding. I am grateful that SSL chose to dedicate a day in the 30 Days of Love to the issue of bullying in our schools. And connecting potential donors with projects that need funding is a great way to support those who are actively working to teach young students the value of diversity and respect. I wish I’d read ahead, though, and knew it was coming. I set aside a bit of money every few weeks for donations and used the last of it just a few days ago to help fund the printing of children’s books that feature transgender and gender-variant children as characters. Reading through the Donors Choose links, I like the idea that those books could end up in some of the libraries that teachers are looking to create. So I’m bookmarking SSL’s suggested links to come back to when I have more to give. I imagine I’m not the only one who would want to give, but can’t today, or in the coming weeks or months. For youth without jobs or allowances, young adults or families on tight budgets, finding some to give can be tough. So I thought I’d spend some of my reflection time today thinking about ways to help that don’t involve signing a check or pulling out a credit card. Imagine what could happen if you organized a book drive in your congregation and then donated a collection of children’s books that emphasis diversity, fairness, respect and empathy to a classroom looking for materials. Or maybe you’re a high school student who could organize a partnership between a club at your school and a local elementary school. When I was in high school, the language honor societies spent an afternoon a week in the first grade classes for eight weeks doing lessons in language and culture. Reach out to your local schools, community groups and organizations and find out what they need. There are so many possibilities, including beyond elementary schools. Find something that calls to you, and then do it. Love can make a difference. – Jeremie.