If you haven’t viewed the documentary film “BULLY” or been swept up by the anti-bullying movement that it sparked and is now sweeping the nation, then it is time to be moved and motivated. The documentary, directed by Sundance and Emmy-award winning filmmaker, Lee Hirsch, has inspired The Bully Project, a social action campaign to end bullying. This national movement to stop bullying is “transforming kids’ lives and changing a culture of bullying into one of empathy and action.”
On February 20th, 2013 Lysa Heslov, founder of Children Mending Hearts, hosted a Bully Project Awareness Evening. She invited Kirk Smalley to her home in Los Angeles, CA to speak to an intimate gathering of parents, students, friends and supporters. Kirk, along with his wife Laura, are featured in the documentary film “BULLY” sharing the story of their son Ty, who took is own life at eleven years old after being suspended from school for retaliating against a bully that had been bullying him for over two years.
Kirk now spends his time speaking out for a cause that is very dear to his heart: he is fighting to end bullying worldwide. He travels to schools, conferences, gatherings, and events of all kinds speaking about the cause and furthering the movement to end bullying in memory of his son Ty. Kirk has talked to over 100,000 students in more than 100 schools. He has counseled with the President and First Lady, the U.S. Dept. of Education, the U.S. Dept. of Justice and numerous other organizations. He was invited to speak at the White House Conference on Bullying Prevention and has multiple state and federal level engagements currently scheduled.
Kirk represents the organization Stand For The Silent (SFTS). He says he will continue to battle against the harassment that plagues so many of America’s youth to ensure there is an end to bullying. SFTS was started in 2010 by a group of students from the Oklahoma State University after they heard the tragic story of Ty Field-Smalley. STFS exists as a platform for Kirk and Laura to share their story and offer education and tools that will prevent their tragedy from happening to another child and family. Kirk and Laura’s mission is to continue to change kids’ lives and bring awareness to bullying and the real devastation it causes.
Everyone in attendance at the January 20th event in Los Angeles was so moved by the cause and Kirk’s instinctive and genuinely heartfelt words that they were standing with him at the end taking the pledge to be part of the movement and end bullying. They pledged to respect those around them, lend a helping hand to those in need, and not spread hatred, but rather encourage solidarity amongst all human beings. Kirk inspired everyone to start with themselves and be the example for those around them.
That evening, Kirk encouraged all to become active supporters of The Bully Project with his inspirational and heartbreaking story. The campaign’s goal is to reach 1 million kids or more by spreading the message and starting the anti-bullying discussion in classrooms around the nation. The Bully Project aims to disperse tool kits for educators, which include the BULLY DVD and a curriculum and teacher’s guide to discuss the subject with students and foster action. With these important education tools in schools everywhere it will encourage awareness and focus on developing empathy and taking action to make a change.
At CMH we are proud to stand with Kirk and the movement, as our mission is to create empathy and compassion in today’s youth, helping to end bullying, and creating a space where all our children respect one another, connect with each other, and can co-exist as one. The importance and relevance of this cause is apparent every time Kirk speaks or BULLY is viewed and audiences are brought to tears and stirred to become part of the movement–standing up to end bullying. The event in Los Angeles last month was covered by KTLA news and showed a community touched by Kirk’s story and stimulated and moved to advocate for this important cause. Now it’s your turn to get involved; learn more about the cause; be part of the change for a better world.
To learn more and get involved: www.thebullyproject.com
To learn more about Kirk Smalley and SFTS: www.standforthesilent.org
Also, visit the CNN Topics Page on BULLYING to stay up to date on the movement in the news: topics.cnn.com/topics/bullying