On Saturday, No Bully partnered with the Angels RBI League which provides over 20,000 underserved youth with the opportunity to play baseball and softball. During this day long event, athletes visited different stations to practice their batting, pitching, and fielding skills. This year a life skills station was added, where No Bully talked about our Shred Hate program. Shred Hate is a bullying prevention program created by ESPN, supported by Major League Baseball and X Games, that seeks to eliminate bullying by encouraging kids to choose kindness.
The session conversations were positive and thought provoking as No Bully talked about the different types of bullying and how bullying makes a target feel. As the talks transitioned into how to prevent and stop bullying, it was refreshing to hear terms like “upstander” already in the kids’ vocabulary. The sessions were engaging as many players were willing to share and comment. Several kids also approached us afterwards to tell us about their own personal bullying experiences. As a takeaway, each athlete took a Shred Hate sticker. Some immediately attached them to their hats or jerseys while others wanted to save it for their school binders or laptops at home.
The No Bully team flew to Philadelphia right afterwards to celebrate local students for choosing kindness at the Phillies game on opening night. Twenty-two elementary students from eleven schools were hand selected to attend the game for free. As the Shred Hate students entered the stadium, they were given Phillies caps. Next they went onto the field to meet Aaron Nola (Pitcher) and ESPN broadcasters Alex Rodriguez and Jessica Mendoza. Aaron Nola graciously autographed all the kids’ hats and Alex Rodriguez took a selfie with the group for his Instagram Story. While the kids were on the field, the Phillies replayed the video of the Hopkinson Elementary assembly on the stadium jumbo screens and the Phillie Phanatic joined for more photos with the kids.
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The kids had an interactive baseball experience where they tested their pitching skills. As the game began, the students were rejoined with their families and brought to their seats in the Hall of Fame club level. It was exciting for the kids to be on the jumbotron waving the Shred Hate, Choose Kindness, and Don’t be a bully signs!
Participation in sports can be two-fold, as it can be both a safe haven for many students as well as lead to additional incidents of bullying. This is why three of the top sports organizations in the country (ESPN, Major League Baseball, and X Games) decided to partner with No Bully to create Shred Hate, which has been having a tremendous impact. So far Shred Hate has been working with 128 schools, training 10,000 educators, and working with over 88,000 students. The ultimate goal of Shred Hate is to cause a tangible reduction of bullying incidents in schools by igniting the compassion of youth. With 10 million students bullied each year in the U.S., the need and timing for such a program is critical.