Orange isn’t only the color of fall leaves and pumpkins. In October, it’s also the color of bullying prevention!
Throughout the month we’re out to help students stop bullying before it starts through “Include Someone, Make a Difference,” our latest collaboration with Cartoon Network’s Stop Bullying: Speak Up initiative and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center.
We’re inviting students to share how they “Include Someone,” along with the state they live in. Our goal is to collect so many inclusion-focused student stories and suggestions from across the nation that we turn the entire map of the United States orange.
Common sense student suggestions are already being shared on the campaign website: “Talk with an adult about ideas to involve someone who is left out,” suggests Sammie, an 11-year-old from Pennsylvania.
“Include everyone when playing a game,” writes Tanya, a 7-year-old from California.
To get students thinking about what else they can do, the campaign also offers free inclusion-focused resources for classrooms and other learning spaces. Available through our online platform 826 Digital, the resources include an 826-designed “Include Someone, Make a Difference” lesson that prompts students to write an inclusive resolution to Cartoon Network story starters.
The need for explicitly teaching students about inclusion is certainly present. The most recent data from the National Center for Education Statistics show nearly 21 percent of students experience bullying in a given school year — everything from being called names or pushed, to being purposefully excluded from activities.
In addition, 826 National will celebrate Unity Day (October 23, 2019) by hosting writing workshops nationwide. In the workshops, students across the 826 Network will participate in our original “Include Someone, Make a Difference” lesson, and write and reflect on the many ways they can respond to bullying with inspiration from characters on Cartoon Network. Educators and students nationwide can get involved on Unity Day by wearing orange and posting with the hashtag #UnityDay2019.
By making crucial storytelling choices that consider multiple perspectives, students get to practice countering bullying in fictional situations that will likely feel familiar. After the lesson, they’re also encouraged to share what they’ve written with someone in their lives — building their capacity as inclusion leaders in their schools, communities, and families.
Our push for preventing bullying extends beyond October, too. Enter for a chance to win an Inclusion Storytelling Event, a day-long creative writing celebration focused on creating and sharing stories of inclusion. The event will be held onsite at the selected school in 2020 and conducted by 826 National. Entries are open through World Kindness Day — November 13, 2019 — and the winning school will be selected in early 2020.