By Bob Knotts, Humanity Project Founder
I wanted to offer a more personal blog to our readers today. It's about bullying, about disrespect as a social issue ... and about an important partner that helps the Humanity Project to diminish these problems.
Our Fund is an LGBT community foundation based in Wilton Manors, Florida, one of the nation's premier LGBT-friendly cities. This extraordinary organization has just partnered with the Humanity Project for a second consecutive year in our continuing efforts to stem school bullying and to encourage greater respect among both students and adults, whether in school or out in the world. Toward that end, Our Fund has awarded the Humanity Project $10,000 for 2017, part of $106,000 handed out to many fine nonprofits at a special presentation this week. We can't thank Our Fund enough for this assistance.
Because we take this sponsorship money, and this cause, very seriously. At a time when bullying is on the rise again, in a period of history when disrespect is rampant in our society and right-wing ideas are regaining traction among a broad swath of people around the world, effective and innovative anti-bullying programs are more necessary than ever. Bullying, disrespectful behavior of all kinds -- they leave scars on children's psyches that never go away. The LGBT community is disproportionately affected by this problem. So Humanity Project programs do more than simply fight bullying. They also teach respect for all, the importance of diversity and the value of self-worth to young students, helping them to appreciate the humanity of every person.
And this is where a more personal story comes in. As a child, I was bullied in ways that I feel to this day. I was harassed, hit, humiliated ... and harmed emotionally. I felt alone. I felt something was wrong with me. I liked the other kids, so why didn't they all like me? I couldn't understand and, not understanding, I blamed myself. Remember, this was long before cyberbullying, decades before weapons in school became sadly common. It is much worse today. As a result of my childhood trauma, I carry personal experience with the pain of bullying and disrespect by my peers. These memories help to motivate me to fight ever harder, with even more innovative and effective methods, as the Humanity Project works with Our Fund to help build a more respectful society. I know the entire Humanity Project Board of Directors, Leadership Council and our volunteers feel the same way. We are committed to doing all we can to make sure every child feels he or she is valuable. In that work, we couldn't ask for a better partner than our remarkable friends at Our Fund.