Most efforts to address bullying focus on high school. The Be ONE Project recognizes that, by high school, bullying behavior is ingrained. The time to intervene comes earlier - at middle school - before the bullying behavior becomes habit.
Middle school is filled with both internal and external pressures. It is a time of self-discovery and of self-doubt. During middle school, many students get their first cell phones, access to a Facebook account, and an email account of their own. Technology and social media enable students to connect instantly with their peers. However, the ability to text and post anonymously makes cyber-bullying easy and seemingly innocuous. Most middle schoolers who bully do it to feel better about themselves, and often do not appreciate the harm they are causing.
The Be ONE Project's interactive program, ONE Day, for middle school students catches kids at the critical juncture when they acquire the power either to be part of the problem or part of the solution. The magic of ONE Day is its cornerstone philosophy that peer pressure can be captured and reversed, so that students challenge each other to include rather than to exclude, and to support rather than discourage each other. During a fun-filled day of interactive games, ONE Day builds bridges, opens lines of communication, and instills a sense of trust and community. ONE Day challenges students to focus on their similarities and celebrate their differences.
The Be ONE Project's three-hour program of games, activities and guided discussions fosters empathy through shared experience. Students see that they share the same struggles, and begin to see each other for who they are inside and for the potential they hold.
ONE Day creates Positive Peer Pressure - students holding each other accountable to be kind and inclusive - by cultivating empathy. Middle schoolers who learn to approach each other with empathy will choose to help each other reach their potential rather than tear each other down. They go on to become high schoolers who practice empathy, and those high schoolers go on to become adults who practice empathy, every day, with everyone they encounter.