Seattle Mariners All-Star pitcher Felix Hernandez and Grammy Award-winning recording artist Macklemore are joining forces with Seattle area middle schools to help foster a safe and respectful learning environment for all students.
Hernandez and Macklemore launched the #ChangeTheGame campaign on April 10 at Safeco Field by surprising a group of students from Highland Middle School in Bellevue. The students were brought to Safeco Field to be part of an anti-bullying public service announcement with the Mariner Moose. Instead, they were greeted by the real stars of the PSA, Hernandez and Macklemore.
In the PSA, the two superstars from sports and music talk about how they may look different than most people, whether it is their haircuts or the clothes they wear, but just because someone is different doesn't mean they should be teased or bullied. They ask students to "be kind, stay positive, and support each other," and to sign an anti-bullying pledge. The PSA ends with the line, "Together, we can change the game." The 30-second PSA will be distributed to radio and TV stations throughout Western Washington.
"Everyone deserves to feel safe at their school. I hope kids will hear our message and treat each other with respect and kindness," said Hernandez.
"It's an honor to be working with the Mariners and Felix Hernandez to help spread a message of individuality to our area schools. We hope to encourage our youth to feel free to be themselves and to take care of each other along the way," said Macklemore.
The campaign also consists of an education component for Seattle-area middle schools with posters and activity guides for teachers, as well as online resources at mariners.com/changethegame to provide students, teachers and parents tools to help address the issue of bullying in schools. Parents can help their children complete the activities and take the anti-bullying pledge to be entered into a contest to meet Hernandez and Macklemore prior to the Seattle Mariners vs. New York Yankees game on Thursday, June 12, which is Macklemore Bobblehead Night at Safeco Field.
Partnering with the Mariners on the campaign are the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center; Committee for Children; U.S. Department of Justice, United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington, and DOJ's Community Relations Service; and Copacino+Fujikado.
"Violence exists on a continuum. Along this continuum are behaviors like bullying and harassment as well as more extreme behaviors like sexual assault. By teaching the skills of respect, empathy, equality and healthy relationships, we're helping prevent all forms of violence," said Mary Ellen Stone, Executive Director of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC).
"We at Committee for Children are proud to team up with the Mariners and KCSARC to build a kinder, more caring community for kids. The clear anti-bullying messages that hometown heroes Felix Hernandez and Macklemore are sending to young people are bound to maximize the impact of bullying prevention efforts in our schools," said Joan Cole Duffell, Executive Director of Committee for Children.
The #ChangeTheGame activities, which were developed with the assistance of KCSARC and Committee for Children, include a "Be Great to Each Other" wall, and a "Kindness Wins" scoreboard.
The "Be Great to Each Other" wall encourages students to write down positive actions of their own or their peers and display them on a wall in their classroom. The goal is to fill the wall with examples of students "being great to each other" with positive actions that help promote kindness as a norm.
The "Kindness Wins Scoreboard" is patterned after a baseball scoreboard with "Kind Acts" and "Kind Words" as the two teams. Students fill in the scoreboard by noticing kind words they hear or acts of kindness they see in their classroom. At the end of the month the points are totaled to see whether Kind Acts or Kind Words wins.
Teachers whose classes complete the "Kindness Wins Scoreboard" or "Be Great to Each Other Wall" can enter to win Macklemore bobbleheads for their entire class. The contests are open to all Washington middle school and junior high school students.
"Together we can change the game and ensure every student's right to a safe school environment, free from bullying and intimidation," said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. "Felix Hernandez and Macklemore show the power of celebrating differences and treating others with kindness. The Department of Justice is proud to partner with the Seattle Mariners and community organizations, and thank them for their leadership in working to "Change the Game" and promote safe and healthy schools."
The students who were chosen to participate in the public service announcement are from the Highland Middle School (Bellevue) AVID program, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. AVID is an elective class that offers determined students an opportunity to overcome barriers to college such as access, proficiency in English, socio-economic factors, etc. Most students in the program will be the first in their families to attend college. The program focuses on leadership, reading, writing, collaborative and organizational skills.
About KCSARC: Founded in 1976, King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC) is a non-profit organization that ensures all people affected by sexual violence and abuse get the treatment they need and the advocacy they deserve. As a frontline organization, KCSARC works directly in advocacy, treatment, policy development, and prevention, working comprehensively toward the ultimate goal of eliminating sexual violence and abuse from our communities. To learn more, go to www.kcsarc.org.
About Committee for Children: Seattle-based nonprofit Committee for Children's research-based educational programs, including the award-winning Second Step program, teach social-emotional skills to prevent bullying, violence, and abuse and improve academics. Their curricula are used in over 25,000 schools across the United States and around the world. To learn more, go to www.cfchildren.org.
Public Service Announcement production team and credits:
Director: Matthew J. Clark
Producer: Craig Stevens
Clatter & Din
Koerner Camera Systems
Wandering Ear Sound
Vincent Klimek Grip & Lighting
Go4Nuge Productions Rentals
Seattle Grip & Lighting