What would happen if kids asked adults to do better? To make a saner, safer world? To treat each other with respect ... and to begin with a simple smile? That's the idea behind Respect Rocks, a new campaign by the Humanity Project. Starting in January, children from the Humanity Project and partner organizations will take to the streets in a charming effort to encourage a more respectful society. The Respect Rocks campaign is sponsored by our good friends at Our Fund, an LGBT community foundation in South Florida.
This is not a new Humanity Project program. We already have several wonderfully effective programs that help kids to help kids (and sometimes parents), including Anti-bullying Through The Arts, I Care teen driver safety program, thp4kids.com and our new Humanity Club. Instead, Respect Rocks is an expression of the Humanity Project's core values that are the underpinning for every program we have and everything else we do: the importance of respect for all, diversity and self-value.
It's no coincidence that our Respect Rocks campaign will begin over the MLK Day weekend and a week before the inauguration. It is a loving and non-political response to the rampant disrespect that was so evident during the 2016 election as well as throughout our society -- in social media, in books, among TV pundits and political columnists.
Respect Rocks will kick off at Gulfstream Academy in Hallandale Beach, Florida, when our Humanity Club student leaders will take their message of respect, diversity and self-value to all of their middle school peers. Each student who signs a pledge to treat all other students with respect will get one of our cool Respect Rocks bracelets. Then on January 14, our kids take to the downtown Fort Lauderdale streets. They'll hold up signs with our Respect Rocks "Smile" logo, designed by Christian Piper of our Leadership Council. Our kids will shout out to passing adults, "Smile! Smile at us!" Those who do will be given a Respect Rocks bracelet and a card that reads: "Living in a disrespectful society, we're kids asking all adults to do much better! A smile = respect. Respect Rocks! Please help make a better world for us kids!"
We think it's such a disarming and simple approach that this campaign may just catch on. We hope the media will want to cover our effort and that social media friends can spread the word -- and even consider bringing Respect Rocks to their community. At the Humanity Project, we know we can't change the whole world ... but we can help improve at least part of it. And since adults have been doing so badly at running the world lately, maybe children can inspire change in a way grownups can't. We think so. And we hope you'll join our campaign.