According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, approximately 21% of kids between the ages of 12 and 18 are victims of bullying.
“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves real or perceived power imbalance. It is an all too common issue,” said Chris Stolsky, associate director, Brand Marketing, Kellogg Company.
To honor National Friendship Day held on August 5, the cereal giant partnered with United Way to form the United to Be Kind program, which is focussed on addressing the oft-devastating issue.
“Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting health problems,” said Stolky.
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community – especially children. Its mission is to advance the common good, which is a natural extension to spreading kindness.
“In order to prevent bullying, adults need to help kids understand what bullying is, keep the lines of communication open, encourage them to do what they love, and model how to treat others,” he added.
It’s fine to be different
Throughout this week, attendees at United Way of King County’s Summer Meals program and United Way of the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo Region will participate in activities and conversations that embrace uniqueness, individuality and friendship.
“Young people who are perceived as different from their peers are often at risk for being bullied,” said Stolsky.
“Committing to the fight against bullying is a natural extension of our belief that we should all embrace our individuality and be accepted for what makes us unique as individuals. Our slogan – ‘Whatever Froots Your Loops’ – means to embrace and encourage individuality; to be your authentic self and have fun while doing it.
National Friendship Day was declared a holiday by US Congress in 1935 to recognize the importance of friends. It is celebrated annually on the first Sunday of August.
“By partnering to provide activities and conversation around friendship and anti-bullying, we hope to help students embrace kindness for the upcoming school year and long into the future,” he said.
“Being a good friend, accepting of others and being kind are all avenues to eliminating bullying. Together, we’re Uniting to Be Kind.”