Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Days of Our Lives and Freddie Smith

Windy City Times: - "...It's great to see positive feedback. Through Twitter and fan mail, people tell me how much they relate to the character. Years ago, [LGBT] people had no stories they could relate to. This is an important part of life.'' The actor said that the show's approach to the bullying issue will differ considerably from what's usually seen in the media: "We're showing both sides of it. We'll see where Sonny is coming from, and where the bully is coming from. It'll be great to see people grow and mature." Some of Sonny's onscreen support will come from Dr. Marlena Evans (Deidre Hall), Days of Our Lives' longtime leading lady. Viewers know Marlena as grandmother to Will (Chandler Massey), the show's other gay character. Marlena has been a rock for young Will. WCT asked Smith if there was any chance of a romance between Sonny and Will. "Their friendship is growing closer," Smith replied. "There will be romance for Sonny." But the actor didn't specify if it'll be with Will. For the time being, Days of Our Lives is the only project on Freddie Smith's plate. With the series producing five episodes a week, he said it is quite a workload. "I'm totally consumed with Sonny," the actor stated. "I live and breathe Sonny. This story is going to be intense..." - David-Elijah Nahmod (READ MORE)

Outlook Columbus: - "...Freddie said he often gets asked how he prepared for this role, but he said there is no difference in playing characters with different sexual orientation. He is portraying love either way. “My preparation was taking the past experience I have had and applying them to the show,” said Freddie. The character of Sonny showed up to Salem very confident, but in an upcoming plot twist, he becomes a victim of bullying because his attacker, “T,” believes Sonny made Will, another young character on the show, gay. “It’s very emotional to be bullied. When you go through it it’s a big part of your life,” said Freddie. “I’m hoping I can make an impact and show how bullying negatively affects people and make a difference. I think that everyone will be able to relate to this storyline, so it is important to the show.” He said that viewers are going to see a different side of Sonny after he experiences being bullied. Freddie mentions that before Sonny came to Salem, he had much tougher time being openly gay. “It brings him back – he thought he was home free. Its disappointing to him,” said Freddie. “He was very bullet proof at first. You’re going to see that he does have flaws. You’re going to see Sonny make mistakes and deal with those mistakes.” Will struggles with coming on out the show, something viewers didn’t get to experience with Sonny. Freddie said he liked they brought on the second gay storyline to the show, having one character that is extremely comfortable being gay and another that is dealing with the emotional experience of coming out. “It showed that it’s great to have a support system. It made it easier for him to come out,” said Freddie. “It was a great idea that the show did.” In July, Freddie spoke to congress during the Children Uniting Nation’s (CUN) seventh annual national conference titled, “Keeping the Promise to Our Children.” He encouraged legislation to be passed on bullying and the importance of keeping physical education in schools...." - Alisa Caton (READ MORE)

SDGLN: - "...Smith is coy in describing the major gay subplot coming to DOOL, but he teases that Will and Sonny may become romantically involved. “Sonny has a romance coming up,” Smith said. “You’ve got to check out Sonny’s big storyline.” Again, not one to spoil a storyline, Smith will go as far as saying that his character will be the victim of anti-gay bullying. “Sonny was picked on for being gay early on,” Smith said. “So it has developed slowly, like it does in real life. And what’s interesting is that the bullying is being done by different people.” Smith is adamant that bullying is so very wrong, and that Americans must rally to stop it for once and for all. He admits he faced mild forms of bullying and hazing as a youth growing up in Ashtabula, Ohio, but that he saw an even uglier side of bullying when kids would egg his cousin’s house. “She had it really bad,” Smith said. “It’s such a problem that something must be done,” he said with conviction. “This is an opinion of mine, but parents are playing a huge role in it. Kids 5 or 6 are too young to know what it means, so they must be learning it from home or on the playground. Parents need to stand up for what’s right.” DOOL’s demographics will reach the right audience, mostly women from 20 to 90, and many of them are stay-at-home moms. “I hope our audience learns something” from this storyline, Smith said..." - Kevin Williams (READ MORE)

Freddie Matthew Smith (born March 19, 1988) is an American television actor. He is known for his portrayal as Marco Salazar in the new franchise of 90210 aired on The CW. He is also known for his character, Sonny Kiriakis, the first openly gay character of the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives...Freddie grew up as an only child and graduated in 2006 from Edgewood Senior High in Ashtabula, Ohio. On July 19, 2012 in Washington, D.C, Freddie spoke to congress about bullying, keeping sports programs in schools and foster care mentoring. “I wanted to let people know that parents need to get involved at an early age. They need to understand that it isn’t just funny, it has a negative affect on people later in life,” said Freddie. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

Related Reading:
  • Freddie Smith Fan Page
  • 'Days of Our Lives' begins gay storyline
  • Will and Sonny - Days of Our Lives
  • Freddie Smith (Sonny) Days Of Our Lives August 11, 2011 (Video)
  • Freddie Smith Talks About Playing "Marco" On 90210 (Video)
  • Friday, August 24, 2012

    Karen's Foundation

    Gawker: - "...Karen Klein, the upstate New York bus monitor who became the face of America's bullying problem when a video of schoolchildren taunting her went viral earlier this year, has launched an anti-bullying foundation she hopes will put an end to it once and for all. The Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation is an offshoot of the GiveBack Foundation, a public charity that allows people to start their own "personal foundation." To kick things off, Klein seeded the foundation with $100,000 from the Indiegogo fund opened in her name by Canadian Max Sidorov in the aftermath of the bullying incident. That "vacation fund" was able to raise over $700,000 for Klein, the majority of which she used in order to retire from her job as a bus monitor. One of the foundation's first initiatives will be a music tour called the No Bully Tour 2012. "If we were able to raise $700,000 for one person," Klein writes, "I am sure we can raise thousands more for kids who are bullied every day..." - Neetzan Zimmerman (READ MORE)

    People: - "..."I keep thinking, 'What have I done?' " the Greece Central School District employee said during an in-studio interview on Monday's Today show. "It's like I almost don't feel like I deserve it." The campaign, originally intended to send her off on "a vacation of a lifetime," has long surpassed its goal of $5,000. So how will she use her money? "What would anybody do with that much money?" she said. She'll invest some, she said, and donate to charity. The grandmother of eight has plenty of family, and "they need, they need, they need," added Klein, who isn't sure if she'll return to her job come fall. But for Klein, who has since received apologies from some of the students on the bus, the outpouring of support has spanned beyond dollar signs. "What I am glad about is the fact that it has come out, and everyone knows what goes on," she said. "I've gotten so many notes from people who have been bullied, who've been very hurt, and my heart goes out to these people..." - Alison Schwartz (READ MORE)

    Detroit Free Press: - "..."It all doesn't feel real," said Klein, as yet another television van parked in front of her house Friday afternoon to set up for a live broadcast and she waited for a telephone interview with the BBC. "You know, when I see that cash in my hand I'll believe it." Indiegogo spokeswoman Rose Levy said the company would ensure Klein gets the money. Doug Hendee, vice president and sales manager at Brighton Securities, said Klein is liable to pay taxes on the value of whatever straight-out gifts she accepts and would have to declare that amount as income. For example, if Klein accepted $500,000 all at once, she would have to set aside 45% of those funds for tax purposes. However, if any of the gifts are coming through a foundation or trust, she would not owe any tax on those amounts, Hendee said. If money is coming from a foreign country, that also complicates matters. Klein said she would take steps to protect herself and set aside any money needed for taxes. The spotlight and outpouring of community sympathy continues to shine on her. Locally, the Mall at Greece Ridge plans to honor Klein on Saturday afternoon with a $500 shopping spree and basket filled with products from several stores. The mall will also honor area school bus drivers and monitors this weekend..." - Meaghan M. McDermott (READ MORE)

    "Making the Bus Monitor Cry" is one of three videos filmed in June 2012 which focused on a bus monitor/attendant, who was targeted for bullying by four schoolboys attending Greece Athena Middle School, with one of the bullies doing the filming. The video has gone viral and has received numerous video responses and news coverage, and a donation campaign was launched for the victim. The bus monitor, Karen Huff Klein, has worked as an employee of the Greece Central School District in upstate New York for 23 years, 20 as a bus driver and 3 as a bus monitor. The bus monitor has been a widow since c. 1995, and has eight grandchildren. She is partly deaf, and uses a hearing aid. At the time the video was shot, she was aged 68.- Wikipedia (READ MORE)

    Related Reading:
  • Bullied bus monitor is retiring with more than $700,000 in donations but says she is is NOT quitting because of tormentors
  • Karen Klein Bullies Apologize: Boys Express Their Regret On A360 (Video)
  • Bullied Bus Monitor Karen Klein Doesn't Accept Boys' Apologies (Video)
  • Karen Klein Anti-Bullying Foundation Promo
  • (Video)

    Tuesday, August 7, 2012

    honor the strength

    Advocate: "...I grew up on Long Island, just 45 minutes outside of Manhattan. You might think living in such close proximity to a metropolis would make a difference in the mindset of its inhabitants, but I might as well have lived in the middle of Nowhere, USA. Few of my childhood school memories do not involve being made fun of. I remember being called names like “homo” and “fag” in the first grade, way before I knew what those words meant. We were taught about the signs and symptoms of child abuse but were told it was something that usually happened at home and was always committed by an adult. There was no dialogue —at least not that I heard— that suggested children could be the perpetrators of abuse. Children are cruel. If you don’t believe me, just watch Lord of the Flies. Poor Piggy! I’ve been toying with this idea for a great way to end capital punishment: take all the inmates on death row and send them back to junior high. That’ll teach ‘em! Though I was bullied throughout elementary school, it became particularly unbearable in junior high. Bullying escalated to the point I would pray to God every night before I went to bed to not wake up in the morning. Then when I did wake up, I'd ask Him to just make me invisible for the day. Being called names, having things thrown at me, having derogatory words carved into my locker and written across my books, being shoved, pushed around, spit on and threatened to be beat up and killed, it reached a level where I no longer felt safe being in a crowd of students..." - John Carroll (READ MORE)

    Advocate: "...Just as in physical abuse, bullying has long lasting consequences. Bullying a child doesn’t just end when the names and punches stop, the ramifications last for years. If I hadn't been humiliated, isolated from my peers, and made to feel like I was worthless, I wouldn’t have needed to find a sense of community and self worth in sometimes dangerous places and destructive situations. I have proudly been in therapy for several years now and have worked through many issues and residual scars left from my years of childhood abuse. Though I know life is a work in progress, I can stand strong today and say I love the man I have become. I can honor the strength it took for my younger self to hold on to some sort of self worth when so many around me were trying to prove otherwise. I went on to graduate from The Juilliard School and dance across the stages of the world. I married the man of my dreams the very first day it was legal in the state of New York. When things would get to be unbearable for me when I was younger, I would dream of my future and what it would be like. God is good, and I have seen those dreams come to fruition. For me, it hasn’t just gotten better, it’s gotten mind bogglingly amazing! Part of my healing is to help young people who might be going through a similar story to my own. We can heal, and we can prevent bullying. One of the most important things I have found to be helpful, not only to myself, but also to other people, is to talk about my personal story with bullying and how it has affected my life. As with sexual abuse, the stigma and shame must be lifted and children should know that they are not unnoticed and alone. Parents can talk to their kids about all forms of bullying, including cyber bullying. Parents can also become more active in their kids' PTA organizations to see what can be done. Even if you do not have children, attend a school board meeting in your district and find out what education, precautions and ramifications are in place for bullying within the school system and beyond. Call or write your local and state representative’s and see what is being done on a state and national level. Force legislators to enact anti-bullying laws. Laws with the same level and severity as ones in place that protect children from other forms of child abuse. And, please, help the children in your life find their passion that will lead to their success..." - John Carroll (READ MORE)

    SGN: "...I believe in the fight for equal rights. I want the same things, not the consolation prize. We like going at our own pace, so we don't have a date for our ceremony set yet. Things are great right now, so we'll continue to fight and see. A Chorus Line got its beginnings when Michael Bennett gathered a group of dancers together for a session to discuss what it meant to be part of a Broadway show. Without major star roles or fantastic scenery, it is the stories of these "gypsies" - their pains, heartbreaks, triumphs, and, above all, their honesty - that gives the musical its power to have not only succeeded, but to have provided more than 25 years of entertainment." - Eric Andrews-Katz (READ MORE)

    BIO: "...John attended the Long Island High School for the Arts and went on to graduate from The Juilliard School. From an off balanced little boy with a flare for showtunes and a mean right split, to a man who has danced across the stages of the world, John's childhood dreams have blessed him with the opportunity of performing in concert dance companies (Parsons Dance Company), national and international tours (Fosse, Movin' Out, Chicago, A Chorus Line), TV ("Saturday Night Live", "All My Children", "The Todays Show"), Movies (Louis), Off-Broadway (No Strings, Applause, On The Town) and Broadway (Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, Follies). John can currently be seen at the Marriott Marquis Theater in the Broadway revival of Follies." - Official Web-site (READ MORE)

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    Sunday, August 5, 2012

    take a stand and stop bullying

    Advocate: "...It's time to take a stand and stop bullying," she says. While attending a screening of the documentary last week, Couric shared a memory of her sister's childhood experience with bullies. "I know my sister was bullied when she was younger and it was really, really upsetting to our whole family," Couric says. "We still talk about what you do when a whole group of girls gangs up on you. And sometimes talking about it or going to the authorities makes it even worse..." - Jeremy Kinser (READ MORE)

    The Stir: "...At a special screening of the film Bully last week, Katie Couric spoke out about her own sister's childhood experience with bullying: I know my sister was bullied when she was younger and it was really, really upsetting to our whole family ... we still talk about what you do when a whole group of girls gangs up on you. And sometimes talking about it or going to the authorities makes it even worse. A group of young girls may not be the terrorizing gang you think of when pondering the cruel act of bullying; however, let me tell you, bullies come in all shapes and sizes and ages and genders, and when several kids (even little girls) gang up on you at school, it can leave the bullied child in a terrifying, lonely, and helpless place. Without intervention, bullying can become intolerable and have devastating effects and outcomes..." - Sheri Reed (READ MORE)

    Katherine Anne "Katie" Couric (born January 7, 1957) is an American journalist and author. She serves as Special Correspondent for ABC News, contributing to ABC World News, Nightline, 20/20, Good Morning America, This Week and primetime news specials. Starting on September 6, 2012, she will host Katie, a syndicated daytime talk show produced by Disney-ABC Domestic Television. She has anchored the CBS Evening News, reported for 60 Minutes, and hosted Today and reported for Dateline NBC. She was the first solo female anchor of a weekday evening news program on one of the three traditional U.S. broadcast networks. Couric's first book, The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives was a New York Times best-seller. - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

    Friday, August 3, 2012

    to find other paths to get their needs met without hurting others

    Press Herald: "...Davis, who lives in Wayne, is a former civil rights worker, child therapist and school counselor. He wrote "Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies in Reducing Bullying" and "Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention...Davis is researching peer mistreatment in schools with Charisse Nixon, a developmental psychology professor at Penn State Erie. They have surveyed 13,000 students in grades five through 12 in 31 schools nationwide. Early results of their work are posted at So far, they have found that 25 percent of students surveyed reported being targets of frequent verbal, physical and relational aggressive behavior..." - Kelley Bouchard (READ MORE)

    Education: "...Stopping a behavior just to stay out of trouble is likely to be temporary. Our actions have the potential to influence students’ thinking. If disciplinary interventions for peerto- peer aggression vary widely depending on which adult is present and on which student shows the behavior, students learn that what you do counts less than who sees it or what your reputation is. If disciplinary interventions are based on adult expressions of anger or frustration, students are more likely to believe that they got in trouble because of the feelings of an adult rather than because of their own behavior. On the other hand, if school staff have made consistent efforts to build positive relationships with every student through greeting, initiating positive interactions, frequent use of honest, action-based praise, and other mentoring initiatives that attempt to build staff-student connections for each student, students are more likely to understand that disciplinary interventions are based on our caring for them. We also help students to learn this lesson when we maintain positive emotional tone during the discipline intervention. When discipline interventions are consistent no matter which staff member is involved, and when they are consistent no matter which student displays a certain behavior, students are more likely to view them as fair, and thus to learn from them. When we focus our later discussions with students who have broken rules on helping them discover what was wrong with their behavior, what goals their actions were directed toward, and how else they could have reached that goal, students are more likely to find other paths to get their needs met without hurting others..." - Stan Davis (READ MORE)

    Education World: "...Some of the other bullying prevention approaches focus on changing the behavior of the young people who are bullied, or on helping bullies and targets work out their 'conflicts.' If we look at the parallels to other forms of power-based abuse (for example, sexual harassment, and spouse abuse), we see that society first tried to deny that there was a problem, then focused on changing the behavior of the target. Targets of spouse abuse would be told: "He doesn't mean to hurt you; he doesn't know his own strength." They would be told: "Learn to cook better. Don't disagree with him in public." Targets of sexual harassment would be told to dress differently or not let the harassment get to them. In both spouse abuse and sexual harassment, we have learned that setting and enforcing clear behavioral standards and consequences are crucial for making change, as is modeling of acceptable behavior by people in authority. Once we have set and enforced standards we can begin changing behavior. Lectures and assemblies about 'being kind' will not work unless they are in the context of disciplinary enforcement and positive modeling by staff. Enforcement of rules is only likely to work if it is done within a positive emotional framework, so aggressive young people see that they are getting in trouble because of what they did rather than because we don't like them. Mediation-based approaches are designed for situations where both people are at least partly to blame. In bullying it is the bully who has chosen to bully the target; mediation (especially mediation by peers) risks solidifying the bully's power over the target and increasing the target's feelings of self-blame..." - Ellen R. Delisio (READ MORE)

    Stan Davis has worked as a social worker and school counselor since the late 1960s. Since the mid-1990s he has put his energies toward helping schools prevent bullying. He has trained schools all over the United States. His work has been featured in national newspaper and radio articles and on a special 20/20 report on bullying with John Stossel. Stan Davis is the author of Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies to Reduce Bullying (2nd edition: Research Press, 2007) and Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention (Research Press, 2007). He is currently co-researcher with Dr. Charisse Nixon in the Youth Voice Project, bringing the experiences of more than 13,000 teens into our discussion about bullying prevention. - NJ Anti-Bullying Conference (READ MORE)

    Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Practical Strategies for Reducing Bullying - For all grade levels. This new edition is packed with practical guidelines and proven strategies for implementing a whole-school approach for reducing bullying. The author draws on theory and research, as well as over two decades of experience as a school counselor and consultant to provide educators with his creative ideas and successful techniques. Interventions to help aggressive youth internalize rules and develop conscience are paired with methods for helping targets of bullying. Chapters cover a wide range of topics, including myths about bullying, acknowledging positive behavior, effective discipline, working with parents, relational aggression, empowering bystanders, and preventing disability harassment. - Good Reads (READ MORE)

    Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention - Grades K-8. Provides a research-based, practical approach for empowering student bystanders. The book offers a wide range of realistic, safe, and effective options that bystanders can use when responding to bullying. Bystanders are encouraged to tell an adult and provide support for students who are bullied. The book also stresses the important role of school staff in responding to bystander reports and consistently following an established anti-bullying policy. The book presents specific techniques for teaching empathy and social problem solving skills, limiting the rewards of bullying behavior, and building a partnership between students and staff to change school wide attitudes toward bullying. Includes a 50-minute DVD in which author Stan Davis provides an in-depth discussion accompanied by PowerPoint slides to help illustrate and expand on important points. - Amazon (READ MORE)

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    Wednesday, August 1, 2012

    to instill confidence in kids and let them go

    im4ublog: "...Born in Thomaston, GA, Coy picked up his first guitar at age 10 and at 13 he had started his own band. In college as a biology major, Coy changed to a Jazz Studies Major and we are surely glad he did. As Coy tells it, he found his musical roots at the Northside Tavern, the famous Atlanta blues bar, where he came under the influence of Oliver Wood, Sean Costello, and his life mentor, Donnie McCormick. During the conversation, Pat asked Coy who the children in his life were. There was a long thoughtful pause and he told us that during the time he was teaching guitar and piano lessons he really started to notice, and think about, the relationship between good parenting and childhood success. After another thoughtful pause, where I could imagine his good natured smile, he told us that the children of his band mates and the changes they brought to their fathers was the influence that lead to “Amy Giggles”. I’ll have to say, after 20 plus years on the road, I have never seen a band that makes such an accommodation for their children. When the ZBB is on tour, the kids and the families are right there with them..." - Jim Mayer (READ MORE)

    The Boot: "...As it turns out, the woman had been teased as a child for having an unusually loud laugh -- a criticism she carried into adulthood. Coy's book gives her story a happy ending, while teaching a valuable lesson. "By parents reading this book to their kids, you can get reassurance in yourself, because no matter how old you are, we're all different," he explains. Illustrated by Leah Cebulski, with the foreword by Zac Brown, the book can be purchased here. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Camp Southern Ground, which helps children overcome social, academic and emotional challenges..." - Gayle Thompson (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)

    Zac Brown Band is an American country music band based in Atlanta, Georgia. The lineup consists of Zac Brown (vocals, guitar, bass guitar, percussion), Jimmy De Martini (fiddle, vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (bass guitar, guitar, vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar, keyboards), Chris Fryar (drums) and Clay Cook (guitar, keyboards, mandolin, steel guitar, vocals). The band has toured throughout the United States, including a slot on the 2009 and 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival. They have also recorded four studio albums, and charted eight Number One singles on the Billboard country charts: "Chicken Fried", "Toes", "Highway 20 Ride", "Free", "As She's Walking Away", "Colder Weather", "Knee Deep" and "Keep Me In Mind", in addition to the single "Whatever It Is," which peaked at number 2 on the same chart...In 2006, the Zac Brown Band recorded The Foundation with producer Keith Stegall. It was also in 2006 when Coy Bowles joined the band alternating on guitar and keyboards. Bowles and Brown first met in the late 1990s when they were both students at the University of West Georgia, where Bowles was studying biology. Bowles also vividly remembers seeing Brown perform for the first time. He explains, "I walked into a restaurant and Zac was singing and playing guitar. I heard a couple tunes and turned to my buddy and said, 'That dude might have the richest and loudest voice I ever heard!' I don’t even think Zac had a microphone and you could hear him all across the bar... - Wikipedia (READ MORE)

    Coy Bowles is a member of the Zac Brown Band. He plays guitar and organ for ZBB as well as writes and arranges music. He also leads his own Atlanta based project, Coy Bowles and The Fellowship, for which he writes all the music and performs lead guitar, piano, organ and lead vocals. He is also a creative writer and founder of a charity foundation called “Coy Cares”. - Official web-site (READ MORE)
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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).