“If I hadn’t come to LEAP, I’d still be bullying.”
One of LEAP’s biggest accomplishments this year was its involvement in Dolan Middle School’s Diversity Day on May 24, 2013. Fourteen LEAP middle and high school students wrote, directed and acted a series of skits about bullying. Along with the skits, they led judgment-free conversations with hundreds of Dolan students about pervasive issues that can strip teens of the confidence it takes to celebrate the power of diversity. They discussed pervasive, important issues such as chronic cyber-bullying, verbal and physical aggression, ostracizing, cliquish behavior, insecurity and self-abuse.
In their end of the year reviews of LEAP, the students involved were particularly enthusiastic about their performance:
Christopher said: “The highlight of my year was performing in front of the Dolan students. I was always afraid of performing but I faced my fear and did it, and I did amazing job with it.”
Isaiah said that the greatest moment in his LEAP experience this year was “when we performed for a school and taught them about bullying.”
Ahmad said his biggest “personal and communal” learning moment was “when we were doing the skits the first time.”
Ahmad discussed his personal response to the skits, stating, “I decided to turn around and try to be a role model. I want to be a leader not a follower not following people who are bullies. The bullying group showed me that it is not good to bully other people and if I hadn’t come to LEAP I’d still be bullying.”
Patrick agreed with the above and stated the following: “Our group achieved our goal of performing and bringing LEAP to a middle school for a day. At first I thought that the project may not have been able to pull through, and I learned not to second-guess myself because this was not the case.”
Norvens wrote to LEAP’s global partner in Kibera, Kenya and discussed the skits:
At the end of the year, at first, we weren’t doing so well. We were all over the place we didn’t know what we wanted to do and how we can achieve them. But, we did get it together. We found a way to do what we had to do, which was doing skits for schools. By doing this, we accomplished so much the last few days. We pulled off a performance at Dolan Middle School. Then we broke up into rap groups and discussed personal stories about being bullied. By doing so, I’ve witnessed a young girl cry for being called a lesbian and many more. At the end of the year we pulled ourselves together, for the sake of others, to set a good example that bullying is important. Our last year, was about changing lives, and I believe we did that.”
Thus, LEAP was simultaneously able to collaborate with Dolan to achieve their goals for Diversity Day: break down stereotypes, broaden perspectives and burst homogenous bubbles, and empower the students involved in LEAP to bring the effects of bullying, an important and pervasive topic, to the forefront.