Monday, July 30, 2012

Book: 'Amy Giggles'

Taste of Country: "...I met somebody who is Amy Giggles,” he says in the video clip below. “I know a girl who has a really crazy laugh.” After talking to his friend, Bowles realized that she had been bullied about her laugh while she was a kid, and something about that story struck a chord with him. He continued, “So I came up with a rhyme, and the crazy thing about it is that the band’s success has been so insane over the last three or four years, it took me 15 minutes to write the book and two years on and off the road to finish the book.” While he says writing a book is entirely different than sitting down to write music, Bowles points out that there is a rhyming structure to this book, which brought the two crafts together for him. In addition to speaking out against bullying, the book touches on of self-confidence and encourages kids to accept themselves for who they are. You can watch a trailer for the book here. Bowles is donating a portion of the proceeds to Camp Southern Ground, a camp that strives to “overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so they may reach their full potential..." - Brittany Joy Cooper (READ MORE)

Amazon: "This book is Wonderful, I read it to my 5 year old Grandson and he Loved it. It allowed my grandson Rahmonta to ask questions through out the story such as, why are people laughing at her for laughing so loud, is it wrong? It opens up a way to let children know that it is alright to be different. Amy had a loud laugh and that was ok I told him and he said kinda like me being shy and quiet, people make fun of me for that. I said thats right, there is nothing wrong with that not one bit. He asked if I would get another book to give to his Pre School class, (great idea shy one). Thanks Coy, can't wait for the next book." - Rachel Burt (READ MORE)

WLTX: "...He wrote a book titled Amy Giggles based on a girl he knew who was teased as a kid because she snorted when she laughed. "She started doing this huffin' and puffin' thing. I was like 'what was that?" said Bowles of an encounter with the woman Amy's character is based off of. "People made fun of her as a kid, so much so that she changed her laugh." A musician friend encouraged Bowles to put the story on paper. It's being sold through online retailers. Bowles says it will hit the digital market soon. "The ultimate goal of the book is to instill confidence in kids and let them go, ya know, we're all different," said Bowles. "Maybe their can be more of an awareness thing that starts happening. I'm just trying to spread that." - Clark Fouraker (READ MORE)

Amy Giggles – Laugh Out Loud is a story of self-confidence and reassurance, accepting who you are and the realization that our differences make us each beautiful and unique. The reader is taken into a world of imagination through the eyes of Amy Giggles and her boisterous laugh. - Coy Bowles (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

Saturday, July 28, 2012

an inspirational story

South Florida Country Music: "...The overwhelming response and encouragement from my friends, family and the entire community for my song and its message has inspired us to try and reach even more people by developing the ‘Music That Matters’ Video Campaign,” states Matt Kennon. “My last recording, ‘The Call,’ reached over 3.6 million people through YouTube, and I know that with the support of schools, parents and community members,‘You Had To Pick On Me’ and its message could reach many more. We need to raise awareness and generate support against bullying, and hopefully this song will help produce a necessary call-to-action.” From now until October 15, 2012, schools nationwide are invited to join the ‘Music That Matters’ Video Campaign by submitting student-made videos for the song “You Had To Pick On Me”. At the end of the campaign, the Top Five videos (based on quality and content) will be featured in a nationwide contest for the public to vote on their favorite video, where the winning school will then be recognized with a free concert and meet-and-greet event with Matt Kennon. Additional videos receiving the highest fan-votes will be considered for placement in the official “You Had To Pick On Me” Matt Kennon video..." - Mike C (READ MORE)

Moments by Moser: "...I can only hope that I can use my life as an inspirational story, but under no circumstances am I trying to say I had it so bad because it wasn’t my life story that was bad at all. It is what it could have been if I had not had the right intervention. I had to hear some painful things when I met my biological folks. I guess curiosity was the only thing, not knowing and being told I would never know is what really made me want to find out; what I found out was just a bunch of lies, I still don’t know the truth. My biological mother has passed on and there are things I won’t ever know. I went through all that pain and hard work and suffering and a lot of people were hurt, I was digging and digging and fifteen years later, here I sit. I don’t know much more now than I knew before other than having a visual. It was almost like an inconvenience that I showed up in their lives, the embarrassment and guilt, you wouldn’t believe the amount of stories...I find people a lot like myself; just average people. Back in my wild and wooly days, I was rebellious. I had a void in my life and I hung out with friends a lot. We were all good kids who were raised in church, but we did throw rocks and spin our cars in the neighbor’s yards and got into a few scuffles. When I got older, I started selling motorcycles and that was about the same time I found my biological family. I was so hurt and that is when the tattoos came into play. I became addicted to the pain. I never got into drugs heavily or anything like that. I’ve never done anything that I can’t live with. I hurt myself and a lot of people along the way and now I want to use the rest of my life to touch people and hopefully people can see that I have seen the fire and I want to live the rest of my days on the right path helping people. I believe that’s why I am here. With the motorcycles and tattoos, the bar scenes and playing in the Honky Tonks, I got to see many sides of life. I realized not everyone was raised the way I was raised. It hurts me. I was always that guy that if I saw someone getting picked on, my heart always rooted for the underdog or I’d step in. I don’t want to see anyone else hurt. I like to protect my family and the people I care about. Now, being in this position as a musician and artist, I care about everybody out there that I meet. My story is just my story. Everyone has one. My story is no better or worse than anyone else, it is just that I am willing to use my story as what makes me who I am and let me hear your story because I want to know who you are..." - Bev Moser (READ MORE)

Billboard: "Matt Kennon got his first taste of acceptance in country music when Randy Travis recorded his song "Turn It Around." On Kennon's self-titled debut, the artist demonstrates there's as much substance and emotion in his singing as in his songwriting. There's a gritty soulfulness that resonates warmly in such tunes as "The Man I Used to Be," and it serves him even better on honest declarations like "Some People Piss Me Off." And the opener, "Drive It Like You Stole It," is a high-octane number that encourages living every moment to the fullest, while single "The Call" (co-penned by Kennon) is a poignant ballad about the power of a phone call. (In the first verse, a man who's about to commit suicide puts the gun down when he gets a call from his best friend, and the second verse involves a teenage girl about to have an abortion.) With a distinctive voice that won't be confused with anyone else on country radio, Kennon has delivered a potent album that makes him a newcomer to watch." - Deborah Evans Price (READ MORE)

Matthew Carl Ferguson (born in Conyers, Georgia) is an American country music singer and songwriter known professionally as Matt Kennon. He has co-written a song for Randy Travis and has released one album for BamaJam Records. This album includes the top 40 hit "The Call." - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Related Reading:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

something that matters

NY Times: While Mr. Quinto accepts the occasional fan ambush as part of the movie and television stardom package, he chooses to keep his distance from what he regards as mindless celebrity-gossip culture. “I’m grateful that celebrity or notoriety wasn’t thrust upon me when I was in my 20s, because I think I would have buckled under the weight of it, as so many people do,” he said. “But I’ve come to realize through experience that ultimately I really do have a lot of power in terms of the way I relate to the public or to people outside of my intimate circle of friends and family. Boundaries are very important to me.” Despite Mr. Quinto’s efforts to keep his private life private, the blogosphere is rife with speculation about his sexuality, no doubt fueled by his support for gay rights and organizations like the Trevor Project. He prefers not to feed that rumor mill with either substantiation or dismissal. He speaks passionately about gay marriage, about “don’t ask, don’t tell” and about the recent wave of gay bullying and suicides. “The fact that these things are such hot-button issues right now, socially and politically, I would much rather talk about that than talk about who I sleep with,” Mr. Quinto said. “I would love to be a voice in this maelstrom of chaos and obsessive celebrity infatuation that says, ‘Let’s talk about something that matters,’ ” he added (Career Zigzag, Changing Coasts And Galaxies).

Zachary John Quinto (born June 2, 1977) is an American actor primarily known for playing Sylar on Heroes and Spock in the 2009 film Star Trek. Quinto is an active supporter of gay rights, acting in a one-night production of "Standing on Ceremony" at the El Portal Theatre (in support of same-sex marriage), appearing at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s annual gala and acting in a production of The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. He has also posted a video in support of the It Gets Better Project on YouTube, on the beforethedoor account (Wikipedia).


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FILM: Cyberbully (2011)

Basic Info:Director: Charles Binamé; Writer: Teena Booth; Stars: Emily Osment, Kay Panabaker, Meaghan Rath, Kelly Rowan, Jon McLaren, Robert Naylor, Nastassia Markiewicz, Jade Hassouné, Caroline Redekopp, Ivan Smith, Ronda Louis-Jeune, John Maclaren, Marcel Jeannin, Bruce Dinsmore, Danny Blanco Hall; Filming Locations: Montréal, Québec, Canada (IMDB: Cyberbully (TV 2011))

Plot: The storyline follows 17 year-old Taylor who receives a computer on her birthday. She is excited to meet new friends online until she becomes the target of bullies on a popular social website. Her life changes quickly to one of fear, frustration and depression. Upon learning that she is not alone, including a classmate who suffered a similar experience, Taylor rebounds with the help of her mom (Don’t miss ABC’s Family movie “Cyberbu//y” on July 17th, 2011).

Film Review: Parents need to know that this TV movie takes a realistic and thoughtful approach to the issue of online bullying as seen through the eyes of a teen victim. Though the social website at the heart of the story is fictional, its similarity to Facebook and the like is implied, so you can draw real-world parallels between the characters' interactions and what your teens find online. The emotional content touches on issues like homophobia and suicide, so be prepared to discuss these themes as well. There's some strong language ("ass" and "damn") and a lot of name-calling ("skank," "whore," "bitch"), both face-to-face and online, and teens talk about their own sexual experiences and their views on premarital sex. There are some positive messages about tolerance, standing up to peer pressure, and turning the tables on adversity, but the movie's serious tone makes it best for teens and up. (Common Sense Media)

Cyberbully (stylized cyberbu//y) is a television film that premiered on July 17, 2011 on ABC Family. ABC Family worked with Seventeen magazine to make the film, and hopes it will "delete digital drama". The film tells the story of a teenage girl who is bullied online. It was filmed in Montreal. The film will be released on DVD February 7, 2012 (Wikipedia).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

for anyone with troubles to speak

Huffington Post: "...That video changed my life. For some reason, even though I was on screen for less than 10 seconds, something about my dancing (which, I admit, wasn't exactly... professional) made a lot of people really, ridiculously, inexplicably angry. And voilà! I became the new target of quite a few Internet haters. Suddenly thousands of total strangers were saying rude things about me and calling me names like: lame, loser, awful, worthless, annoying, fat, ugly, dumb, horrible, stupid, freak -- and those aren't even the bad ones, lol. They also made gifs of me dancing and reposted it all over YouTube and Facebook (but I gotta admit, those were pretty hilarious). It seemed like the whole world had something to say about me. At first I was pretty shocked because, I mean, I'm just a kid who danced in a video, right? But then I realized that all that hate couldn't have been directed at me personally. How could someone really hate someone they know absolutely nothing about? So I laughed and I joked with the haters. I admitted that, yes, my dancing was pretty awkward, thank you very much. And then something happened. Something that I didn't expect at all. People who were hating on me suddenly started taking an interest in me. They made Facebook fan pages for me and started putting my photo as their profile pictures! The first time I saw it, I was just like, "... what?!"

They didn't know my name, so they were calling me "Sammy," "Madge," "Nadine," and "that girl in pink that dances awkwardly." So then I made my own official Facebook profile and fan page. I was getting thousands of questions every day, along with requests for me to do my dance, to sing, and to marry them on Facebook! What was even more amazing was that people started asking me for advice on how to deal with bullying and asking how I stayed so positive when everyone was being so mean. They were sharing the things that they were going through at home and at school. They were struggling with their weight, or their sexuality, or abusive relationships, and so many other things. Basically, anything these kids were facing, they were sharing with me. Reading story after story, my heart was broken. So I did my little awkward four-second dance for them in my YouTube videos (which helped raise money for earthquake relief in Japan). I organized teams of people from around the world to walk with me for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's annual "Great Strides" fundraiser. Then I wrote an e-book on how to handle cyberbullying (if you'd like to read it, it's available as a free download on And then, I remembered something. Something I wrote down long before the "Friday" video. Quite a while ago, I was on a site called Six Billion Secrets. It's a site for anyone with troubles to speak about what they're going through in a completely anonymous, non-judgmental setting. After reading stories about kids getting bullied, raped, abused, or kicked out, I didn't know what to do with all that emotion. I mean, on the outside, these kids looked just like me. On the inside, they were hiding some terrible secret. Any one of those stories could have been posted by my closest friend. So I wrote down what I was feeling and it sort of turned into a song. It was a song about getting through what's happening in your life. A song saying, "Yeah, this is tough. But there is light at the end of this tunnel..." (I'm 'That Girl in Pink' )

Benni Cinkle rose to Internet fame in March, 2011 when she appeared in a music video that went viral on the Internet (approximately 180 million views). At first, she was ridiculed by the world for her awkward dancing, but instead shying away from the attention, she decided to use her 15 minutes of fame to raise awareness for the things she cares about most. Benni has been actively involved with charities for as long as she can remember. She modeled the example of her mom, a successful business owner and active community volunteer...Today, Benni is Founder and Vice President of the That Girl in Pink Foundation, a 501c3 organization. She established it shortly after receiving global Internet attention in order to better lend her support to many worthwhile causes (About Benni).

Friday, July 20, 2012

reclaiming old self

JUF: "...During her freshman year at Syracuse University, Gelfenbien was endlessly taunted by a group of boys. Although she eventually reported them and the bullying stopped, the rest of her college experience was permanently tarnished. Committed to her education, she stayed at school but suffered from low self-esteem and retreated into a shell of her typically outgoing self. Along came the Wienermobile, and with it, a new beginning. Recruited during her senior year of college, Gelfenbien knew she had been meant for the job. But never could she have predicted that the experience would impact her life as profoundly as it did...."I didn’t realize that I had lost my voice during college when I was driving the Wienermobile, but it’s obvious to me now. I basically shut down during those four years, and I thought the Wienermobile [job] would let me be myself again, which is an enthusiastic, outgoing, and silly goofball. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be on TV, which is why I went to the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. Unfortunately, I didn’t take advantage of that education the way I had hoped because of the bullying…I wanted to be a broadcast major, but the bullying made me afraid to do the campus TV or radio show, because I didn’t want to be harassed more...It allowed me to partially reclaim my old self, who was spirited, exuberant and funny. All of that had been quelled through college. The job allowed me the opportunity to find my voice again, because I was being paid to be myself—someone who is outgoing, enthusiastic, and loves being around people..." (Behind the wheel…of the Wienermobile)
Get behind the wheel with Robin Gelfenbien, an insecure goody-goody, who seeks redemption on the road in the Wienermobile after years of being bullied. Can she handle a horndog co-pilot, a media circus and her college nemesis? Using music, video and photo footage from her life on the Hot Dog Highway, Gelfenbien shares the touching and hysterical true story* of her transformation from underdog to “one of the most notorious Wienermobile drivers of all time.” - Time Out New York (About Wienermobile Journey)

Robin Gelfenbien is a writer and performer whose solo show, My Salvation Has a First Name: A Wienermobile Journey, premiered at the 2008 New York International Fringe Festival. She has written jokes for Rosie O’Donnell and appeared on VH1 and in a commercial directed by Spike Lee. She’s also the creator of the storytelling series, “Yum’s the Word,” that features her homemade ice cream cakes (Broadway World).

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

We’re not going to do this alone...

Out: "...You can’t let it die! It’s our duty to stick with the gay rights movement and to remind them that we’re not done, that this isn’t finished, we still don’t have equal rights. Is it only gonna take us literally being accosted and our rights being ripped out of our hands or people killing themselves to make people pay attention? Shame on us...Of course. When I watched The Normal Heart, I felt really shitty about myself. I thought to myself, Larry Kramer is active, doing it, I’m lazy… well, I realized, I’m not lazy at all, but I’m definitely not Larry Kramer. But then I realized, I don’t have to be. Larry Kramer has to be Larry Kramer. But I can do it my way with a song. And if someone else wants to stay quiet, they’re not comfortable yet, they should not come out of the closet. But I can’t be quiet. I’m gonna die someday. And if I live most of my life without equal rights, then I am literally pissing on the graves of every man who died of AIDS. I am somehow disrespecting them. Of course, we can’t all be Cleve Jones. But we can say, “Cleve Jones, what should we do?” This guy said to me today, “Where’s the new leader?” And I said, “I’ll be it!” If you fucking need a leader, I’ll be it. Chad Griffin is a leader. Dustin lance Black is a leader to me, and he’s using his writing, because that’s what he does. I know how to sing, I know how to perform, I know how to talk to a crowd, I’ll do that. We’re going to do this together. We’re not going to do this alone..." (Gavin Creel, the Singing Activist)

Gavin James Creel (born April 18, 1976) is an American actor, singer and song writer. Born in Findlay, Ohio, Creel received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre at the University of Michigan in 1998. Creel, who is openly gay, is a regular on the LGBT RFamilyVacations cruise with Rosie O'Donnell. He is also one of the founders, with Rory O'Malley and Jenny Kanelos, of Broadway Impact, an organization fighting for equality and the LBGT community. He was recently in Hair at the Gielgud Theatre in the West End (Wikipedia).

Monday, July 16, 2012

a voice for the people who can’t speak up

Red and Black: "...I was bullied for my perceived sexual orientation late in elementary school and into middle school. High school, it kind of leveled off. And I say perceived sexual orientation because as a fifth grader, I definitely didn’t identify as gay. I don’t know many fifth graders that would. I had grown up with a discouragement, and when I actually did identify as gay, it was very hard for me to accept that. So, about my junior year of high school, I was very comfortable with myself and I recognized the impact that bullying had on me and I recognized at my high school, there were certainly other students who couldn’t identify that way because of those attitudes, so I started a gay-straight alliance … when I really saw the impact that that had on my school, I wanted that to occur at other schools and then in the state of Georgia. I worked on my local policy and in a way it became a state policy and, further than that, I lobbied my congressional representatives, advocating for a national bullying policy. The safe schools improvement act and the student non-discrimination act are two pieces of federal legislation that will set a standard for bullying and could have a tremendous effect on students throughout the country. So, it really just started with a personal experience. I consider myself very lucky because I know that there are definitely students in grade school and also college who experience harassment and it has an extremely negative impact on them, so much so that they’re driven to take their lives and I definitely didn’t come near that. So what I say is, provide a voice for the people who can’t speak up...[I was invited to a] reception for people who were working on things like the bullying legislation to support LGBT students and I have a proclamation from President Obama that promises to continue advocating for LGBT people, when it comes to bullying, when it comes to marriage, when it comes to issues that are very personal to me and that will affect my life. There were a lot of elected officials. I saw the Chief of Staff of the White House. I got to shake hands with the President and Vice President Biden and listen to him speak directly in front of him, so it was life-changing experience, for sure. Just to be surrounded by people who are motivated, the movers and shakers, people who are actually doing things. You could say that I kind of caught the bug of wanting to make change and have a positive impact like the people in that room were doing. So, it was fantastic. It was great to meet elected officials and others who weren’t there because they were gay or because they were bisexual or transgender but because they cared, because they thought it was the right thing to do, so it was also promising for me to meet people like that who I knew who could share, I don’t want to say the burden, but it certainly is a huge task to change the world into what I would like for it to be and to see others that share that vision was outstanding..." (THREE MINUTE INTERVIEW: Austin Laufersweiler, Student Advocate)

GLSEN: "...Austin is an outstanding student leader who responded to the difficulties he faced in high school by committing himself to making Lassiter High School safer, as well as contributing to efforts to change schools throughout the Atlanta area," GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. "His courage and dedication are remarkable, and he is a tremendous example of how students can effect change. We are honored to present Austin with GLSEN's first Student Advocate of the Year Award." Since experiencing anti-gay bullying at school as a sophomore, Austin has worked as an advocate for equality and safety at Lassiter High School and his broader community. He founded Lassiter's Gay-Straight Alliance, organized last year’s Day of Silence at the school and has worked with the administration to implement a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Austin also worked to ensure a safer school climate at his former middle school, creating a safe-space training for teachers to provide the tools to effectively intervene when they hear anti-gay remarks, specifically "that's so gay." Austin used materials from GLSEN and the Ad Council's Think Before You Speak campaign to develop the training, which attracted over 40 educators and led to requests for additional trainings. Affected by the suicide of 11-year-old Jaheem Herrera, Austin also participated in a panel discussion about the need to address anti-gay bullying in schools at a town hall organized by the Georgia Coalition Against bullying after Jaheem's death. Jaheem, who did not identify as gay, took his own life after enduring bullying, including anti-gay bullying, in elementary school..." (GLSEN Names Georgia High School Senior Austin Laufersweiler Student Advocate of the Year)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

someone else's opinion of you doesn't define you "...I have been bullied for different reasons. I was bullied for …speaking a different language. I was also made fun of and humiliated for my lack of reading skills. I am dyslexic but I wasn't aware of that at the time. I was called really hurtful names and… it was tough going to school every day. I would say that you need to talk to a teacher or parent and follow their advice. I'd also like to say that someone else's opinion of you doesn't define you. That's what my mom taught me...When I was diagnosed with dyslexia, I was told to read everything from street signs to cereal boxes and that my mom shouldn't read the menu for me. I should read it to her! It has helped a great deal. I am reading well but it is something I work on every day...At the moment, I am very passionate about taking a stand on bullying because it is something I can relate to and that my fans and friends suffer from. I do have other issues that I'd like to help out such as stopping child trafficking, child abuse, animal abuse and learning disabilities..." (Q&A Exclusive: Bella Thorne Opens Up About Dyslexia, Being Bullied)

Annabella Avery "Bella" Thorne (born October 8, 1997) is an American teen actress, dancer, singer, and model. She is a child model and actor with appearances in more than 20 films and television series and more than 60 commercials, she is best known for her role as the aspiring young dancer, CeCe Jones on the Disney Channel original series Shake It Up! co-starring Zendaya...Originally from Pembroke Pines, Florida, Thorne has been living with her family in California since early 2006. Her interests include dancing, playing soccer, spending time with her family and playing with her two dogs, a Cocker Spaniel and a wolf hybrid, six cats and a turtle. She also admits to being a collector of hardcover books, listening to 80s music, and using YouTube as a research tool for getting into character. Thorne is an avid supporter of the Humane Society, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and The Nomad Organization, which provides education, food and medical supplies to children in Africa. Thorne lost her father to a vehicle accident in 2007. Thorne disclosed her father's passing in a live interview on the local television talk show "View From The Bay" in December 2008. Thorne was diagnosed with dyslexia in second grade. She is currently being home-schooled after previously attending a public school, where she had suffered peer abuse. Thorne improved in her learning after attending a Sylvan Learning center and is currently reading and writing a grade ahead. Thorne also talked about her dyslexia in an April 2010 interview with American Cheerleader Magazine, and explained that she overcame her dyslexia by rigorously reading everything she could find, including the labels of cereal boxes (Wikipedia).


Thursday, July 12, 2012

being nice—plain and simple

PR Web: "...Short will introduce her anti-bullying themed book and program to hundreds of kids—offered within a high-energy assembly. The book, Zanda Humphrey’s Operation Nice, targets elementary school-aged children (K-5)—promoting a “be nice” message and emphasizing the importance of unity among children to eliminate bullying. The event offers a reading of the book, interactive activities, and a lot of dancing. “Operation Nice is about being nice—plain and simple,” Short stated. “Kids need this instilled early on so as they advance grades being kind becomes innate. I envision developing a full curriculum for Operation Nice that would run year long, every year, as kids move from kindergarten through fifth grade. With Operation Nice as a part of daily school life, it is far less likely that children will become bullies as they advance to middle and high school.” Operation Nice is the second book in the Zanda series. The book features lead character, Zanda Humphrey, a fourth grade scientist. Operation Nice introduces Zanda’s new invention, the BE-BOT (Bully Eliminator – Bio Optic Transformer)—a laser-zapping, caterpillar-crawling, “de-bullyizing” mini-bot. “Operation Nice is different from any other anti-bullying program because it’s tied to the book. The story engages kids from the start. They also develop an immediate loyalty to the book’s highly memorable characters, which drives them to continue Operation Nice in their own school.” Short stated. “Even better, the anti-bullying message is not one of retribution, but rather bullying is combated through acts of kindness and unity—and that’s the ideal message for kids" Short has received a great deal of interest in Operation Nice from national anti-bullying organizations, such as Defeat the Label. Short is working on partnerships with several outside organizations to advance a broad anti-bullying movement..." (Anti-Bullying Crusader and Michigan Author, Kristy Short, Answers Request from California Schools to Move Operation Nice Westward)

Zanda Humphrey is the smartest kid at Pepperkorn Elementary School…with the most interesting name. Her inventions, each one better than the one before, are typically the result of keeping her little brother, Phee, out of trouble. She invented Magic FabricGrow after Phee transformed their mother’s favorite tablecloth into a flag for his tree fort. Soaking the torn fabric in a pail of the pungent potion restored the tablecloth to new. When Phee spilled green dye on the family cat, Zanda’s Insta-ColorDuller turned the cat’s fur back to its normal gray. In the first book of the series, Zanda's Big Sweet Invention, Zanda creates the Cake-o-matic—the world's first magic cupcake-making machine. In the second book, Operation Nice, Zanda creates an anti-bullying machine—the BE-BOT (Bully Eliminator - Bio Optic Transformer). Learn more about Zanda and her little brother Phee...her parents, her laboratory, and her super-sized imagination (Zanda Humphrey Book Series).

Kristy Short, Ed.D, has been writing stories for kids since she was a kid herself—creating her first book when she was in the 3rd grade. Also the author of The Dirt Bottom Holler Club, a young adult chapter book, she has a clear passion for writing creative stories about magical inventions and exciting adventures. At the heart of all her stories is a love and necessity for active, perpetual imagination. The Big Sweet Invention and Operation Nice are part of the author's Zanda Humphrey series for young readers (Operation Nice).

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

You make mistakes and learn from them.

Mirror: " 19, the X Factor wannabe known as Misha B says she was shocked and hurt on Saturday’s show when she was branded a bully in front of millions of viewers. Rather than talking about her powerful rendition of Prince’s hit Purple Rain, judge Tulisa took a swipe at her backstage attitude, accusing her of “being so feisty you can come off quite mean to other contestants”. And Louis Walsh chipped in, claiming one of his acts had even complained about being bullied by her. But Misha hit back last night, ­slamming the comments as “unfair” and saying she had been on her best behaviour during the series...At school I was bullied – and I did bully people myself, but I am a different person now. “When I was younger, the stuff that I had to deal with was tough. You make mistakes and learn from them. I got into arguments and I used to get called to see the headteacher. I got into situations where there was a lack of communication and a lack of understanding. Sometimes I would get sent home just to take time out. At any age you get into conflicts.” Misha – who was defended by her own mentor Kelly Rowland as “humble and excited to be here” – insisted she has never bullied anyone on the show. And the singer vowed: ­“Saturday’s experience will make me stronger. I really looked up to Tulisa and the way she has goes on about girl power, but I feel the situation could have been dealt with a lot better. “Being called an X Factor bully on national TV was not fair. I know I am not a bad person. Tulisa hurt my feelings because there’s always two sides to the story..." (X Factor's Misha B admits: "I was a playground bully")

Misha Bryan from Manchester won rave reviews from the judges on The X Factor after her confident performance of Aretha Franklin's Respect. Misha Bryan, 19, got a standing ovation from the audience and a hug from judge Kelly Rowland after her unique combination of huge notes and rapping (mishabryansite).

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Film: Legendary (2010)

Plots: A book-smart teenager joins his school's wrestling team as a way to reunite his surviving family members, who split apart after the death of his father, a college wrestling legend, 10 years ago (IMDB)

Credits: Director: Mel Damski; Writer: John Posey; Stars: Devon Graye, John Cena, Patricia Clarkson, Danny Glover, Madeleine Martin, Tyler Posey, John Posey, Teo Olivares, Chris Whetstone (IMDB)

Film Review: "...The drama centers on Cal (Devon Graye of "Dexter"), a high school outsider tormented by an unconvincing bully (Tyler Posey). He's also grappling with the estrangement between his mother and older brother, Mike (Cena), a one-time champion of the mat, and with the wrestling glories of his deceased father (a handy collection of newspaper clippings provides the backstory essentials). Seeing Cal's academic potential, the last thing mom Sharon wants is for him to become consumed by the sport. He's got plenty of incentive, though: his beanpole physique, the flirtatious enthusiasm of lifelong friend Luli (Madeleine Martin, in a Southern-eccentric variation on her precocious daughter in "Californication") and the need to reach out to his brother and reunite his family. Director Mel Damski and production designer Raymond Pumilia effectively use Louisiana locations to anchor the story in a working-class Oklahoma milieu. Not all of the film's elements mesh, however. The script emphasizes the sport's character-building aspects while acknowledging a darker side, but Damski inexplicably turns nearly every wrestling sequence into a rock-track-driven scene with little action impact. The script by John Posey -- who appears in the small role of Cal's coach -- abounds in affection for its characters but also in on-the-nose dialogue. Every dramatic hurdle is cleared nearly as soon as it arises. Rather than pushing the familial tension, the story reaches for anemic "insights" from an intuitive strange (Danny Glover), who appears whenever Cal most needs him, providing folksy pep talks (and occasional voice-over narration). The final-act disclosure of his identity, however contrived, provokes the most affecting moment in Cena's performance..." (Hollywood Reporter - Review: Empty)

Devon Graye (born March 8, 1987; Mountain View, California) is an American actor. He is best known for his role as Teenage Dexter in the American television drama series Dexter airing on Showtime and the lead role Scott in After Dark Original's Husk.[1] and as the role of Marco in the movie adaption of Meg Cabot's Avalon High (Wikipedia).

Friday, July 6, 2012

her own daughter's struggles with bullying

Ottawa Citizen: "...You are angels," she said, "but it's possible for you, in turn, to become very mean." The consequences of that meanness were tragically visible on Thursday in Ottawa, with Jamie Hubley's funeral held just a few hours later. Hubley, 15, committed suicide Saturday after blogging about his struggles with the bullying and name-calling that came with being an openly gay teenager at A.Y. Jackson Secondary School. People around the world were also wearing purple for Spirit Day, an international day in support of young victims of homophobic bullying declared after a widely-publicized slew of suicides in 2010...Jean shared the story of her own daughter's struggles with bullying. When Marie-Éden Lafond was six, Jean said, she would come home from school every day and tell her about the other students who would surround her and taunt her, yelling "You're the governor general's daughter!" in a singsong voice. Jean said the problem was solved when her daughter stood up to them and said yes, she was, and everyone knows it. "Me, I'm me. The problem is you, forming a circle and making fun of me,'" Jean recalled her daughter saying. On Thursday, the students unveiled a new addition to an aquarium mural on the wall: a pink fish with an elephant's head holding a stop sign in its trunk. Jean said elementary school was the right time and place to teach children about diversity, acceptance and bullying. "Difference is beauty, isn't it?" she asked the students. "Oui!" they responded..." (Be vigilant about bullying, Jean says Students asked to be kind, accept each other).

Michaëlle Jean CC CMM COM CD FRCPSC(hon) (born September 6, 1957) is a Canadian journalist and stateswoman who served as Governor General of Canada, the 27th since Canadian Confederation, from 2005 to 2010. Jean was a refugee from Haiti — coming to Canada in 1968 — and was raised in the town of Thetford Mines, Quebec. After receiving a number of university degrees, Jean worked as a journalist and broadcaster for Radio-Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as well as undertaking charity work, mostly in the field of assisting victims of domestic violence. In 2005, she was appointed governor general by Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on the recommendation of Prime Minister Paul Martin, to replace Adrienne Clarkson as vicereine, and she occupied the post until succeeded by David Johnston in 2010. Early in her tenure, comments of hers recorded in some of the film works by her husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, were construed as supporting Quebec sovereignty and her holding of dual citizenship caused doubt about her loyalties. But Jean denied separatist leanings, renounced her citizenship of France, and eventually became a respected vicereine. Jean was formally appointed and installed as Special Envoy for Haiti for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on November 8, 2010, for a four-year term. As of February 1, 2012, Jean will become the 13th chancellor of the University of Ottawa. Unlike all other former governors general who had not already been made privy councillors, Jean was not sworn into the Queen's Privy Council for Canada following the end of her viceregal service. As a former Governor General of Canada, Jean is entitled to be styled for life as The Right Honourable (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

to make a difference now

BBC: "...In her video message to Jacques, she reiterated: "I'm going to be working as hard as I can to make bullying a hate crime". Speaking to Toronto's CBC News, the teenager said he had not been expecting a direct email from the pop star. "The subject line said 'To Jacques from Lady Gaga,'" he told the broadcaster. "It said 'click on the link below to download the video for your assembly'. "I watched it and I started crying. I'm a huge fan. It's kind of embarrassing because I love her so much. I couldn't believe it." Jacques said he had been bullied in elementary school, when fellow pupils called him gay for wanting to take part in school plays. After moving to the Etobicoke School of the Arts in Toronto, he ran for the student council and organised a series of events to raise awareness of bullying. As part of his campaign, he emailed several celebrities to ask for their support. In her response, which Jacques has uploaded to his YouTube account, Gaga said: "I just wanted to tell you how proud I am of you for being such a strong advocate of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community in your school. "My father always saves all the fan letters that I receive and I read yours very recently and wanted to send this video to you. "It is important that we spread tolerance and equality for all students." According to CBC, pupils at Jacque's school were impressed by the video's message. "I'm starting to actually realise how big this problem is and I just want to make a difference now," said one male student." (Lady Gaga emails fan to praise anti-bullying campaign)

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (born March 28, 1986), known by her stage name Lady Gaga, is an American singer and songwriter. Born and raised in New York City, she primarily studied at the Convent of the Sacred Heart. She briefly attended New York University's Tisch School of the Arts before withdrawing to focus on her musical career. She began performing in the rock music scene of Manhattan's Lower East Side, and by the end of 2007, she was signed with Streamline Records. Employed as a songwriter for the record company, her vocal abilities captured the attention of recording artist Akon, who signed her to his label Kon Live Distribution. Gaga came to prominence following the release of her debut studio album The Fame, which received generally favorable reviews from critics, in 2008. Its first two singles, "Just Dance" and "Poker Face", were number-one singles and the album itself reached the number-one spot on nine record charts worldwide. Gaga embarked on the Fame Ball Tour in order to promote the album. In late 2009, she released the EP The Fame Monster, which spawned the international hit singles "Bad Romance", "Telephone" and "Alejandro". In promotion of the EP, she embarked on the eighteen-month long Monster Ball Tour, which became one of the highest-grossing concert tours of all time. Her second full-length album Born This Way was released in 2011, topping the charts on several major markets and spawning international chart-topping singles including "Born This Way", "Judas" and "The Edge of Glory". Aside from being a recording artist, Gaga has also involved herself with humanitarian causes and LGBT activism. Gaga's primary influences include such acts as David Bowie, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Queen. She has sold an estimated 23 million albums and 64 million singles worldwide, making her one of the best-selling music artists of all time. She has won numerous awards including five Grammy Awards and thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, has made two consecutive appearances on Billboard magazine's Artists of the Year (scoring the definitive title in 2010), regularly places on lists composed by Forbes magazine, and was named one of the most influential people in the world by Time magazine (Wikipedia).

Monday, July 2, 2012

You need to stand up

Act MTV:"...I was not Jackson in high school. I was not your jock who was the popular kid...especially when I was younger," said Colton Haynes, who play's Scott's bully in "Teen Wolf." "So I dealt with things that a lot of kids deal with in high school: bullying, name-calling and things like that. So this specific movement spoke to me...First up, Love Is Louder, an MTV partnership with Brittany Snow and the Jed Foundation started to combat bullying against LGBT teens. Last week Haynes spoke with Act about why he decided to add his voice to this movement. Believe it or not, "Teen Wolf"'s infamous on-screen bully was bullied in real life as a teenager. ...In addition to Love Is Louder, Haynes is especially passionate about diabetes prevention and treatment--his brother has Type 1 diabetes. He supports the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's (JDRF) work to prevent, treat and ultimately cure diabetes. JDRF provides tools for getting involved as well as foundation updates via Twitter. "There are people out there who don't have a lot of things that most people have...for you to do one thing, as simple as uploading a photo, as simple as just getting involved--donating a dollar to the organizations you feel passionate about--I mean it goes miles," Haynes said. "Take it from me and take it from other people who have been there and come away from it: You need to stand up..." ([VIDEO] 'Teen Wolf' Star Colton Haynes On Why Taking Action Matters)

Colton Haynes (born July 13, 1988) is an American actor and model. At the age of fifteen, Haynes began modeling for Abercrombie & Fitch while living in New York City, New York. After moving to Los Angeles, California, he began acting in television series such as CSI: Miami and Pushing Daisies. He won the role of Brett Crezski, a jock who turns into a werewolf, on the ABC television series, The Gates, which premiered on June 20, 2010. Lately he is also known for his role as Jackson Whittemore in MTV's dramady Teen Wolf (Wikipedia).

Teen Wolf is an American television series that currently airs on MTV, and in reruns on TeenNick. The series premiered on June 5, 2011, following the 2011 MTV Movie Awards. Teen Wolf is a supernatural drama series that follows Scott McCall (Tyler Posey), a high school student and social outcast who is bitten by a werewolf while wandering in the woods. Scott attempts to maintain a normal life, keeping the fact of his being a "werewolf" secret from everyone, with the exception of his best friend Stiles Stilinski (Dylan O'Brien), who helps him through the changes in his life and body, and another mysterious werewolf, Derek Hale (Tyler Hoechlin). The series received a generally positive response from critics, earning a score of 61 out of 100 on review site Metacritic. The show's premiere drew in a total of 2.18 million viewers. The show has been renewed for a second season. In the UK & Ireland it's airing on Sky Living and in Canada on MuchMusic (Wikipedia).

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Bullying is an abusive treatment, the use of force or coercion to affect others, particularly when habitual and involving an imbalance of power. It may involve verbal harassment, physical assault or coercion and may be directed persistently towards particular victims, perhaps on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexuality, or ability. The "imbalance of power" may be social power and/or physical power. The victim of bullying is sometimes referred to as a "targeted individual" (Wikipedia).