A nonprofit charitable organization will be hosting an anti-bullying event in Oxford Valley Mall next month to help students before they return to classes. On Saturday, August 10 families can come out to the mall’s Elevator Court from 1 to 3 p.m. for free book bags, school supplies, and face painting.
Called “Back to School NOT Back to Cruel,” the annual initiative is part of Fifty Shades of Purple’s anti-bullying campaign to shed light on the severity of bullying. In addition to the fun activities, including a balloon artist, FSP’s booth will offer resources and information on bullying, including cyber-bullying.
Kati “Jazz” Gray-Sadler founded Fifty Shades of Purple in 2015 after her son Trevor revealed he had been bullied relentlessly since elementary school. While she cannot change the past, FSP is Gray-Sadler’s way of helping victims in the future.
“We get a lot of kids who love summer,” Gray-Sadler said. “Not necessarily because of the fun and games, or adventures to the amusement park, but because they feel safe. Statistically, more than one third of young people ages 8-13 don’t feel safe going to school because of bullying.”
In the modern age, bullying has adapted to technology like everything else. With children being so connected to the internet, abuse has moved to the online space as well. Gray-Sadler asserted cyber-bullying has become a horrific weapon, calling it the “atomic bomb of bullying.”
“It’s the only form of abuse where you don’t have to identify yourself. You can create all sorts of fake ID’s on social media to try to get someone,” Gray-Sadler said. “So we find that it has become probably the most pervasive form of bullying for that reason.”
This upcoming event on Aug. 10 in Oxford Valley Mall is not FSP’s first experience with community outreach. The Philadelphia-based nonprofit has held several similar information and activity events in the past. Some are superhero themed, while others take advantage of the outdoors with a picnic. But the overarching theme is the same – uplift the victims of bullying.
“Back to School NOT Back to Cruel” is completely open and free to the public. Families and children are invited with open arms to attend so they can feel safe returning to the classroom this fall.