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Tiny Girl Big Dream Friendship Bench

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Our Price: $999.00

Product Code: FRIEND
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Austin Independent School District is the 5th largest school district in the United States serving over 86,000 children in the public schools alone. The public school system is comprised of 124 schools comprised of 83 Elementary, 20 Middle, and 20 High Schools. In addition there are approximately 60 private schools throughout Austin. Austin is the fastest growing city in the U.S. making the need for Friendship Kits in every school a necessity.

I think is it safe to say that there is not a school in the United States that is not affected by bullying to some degree. Statistics show that over 160,000 students stay home from school every day out of fear of bullying, which means that they are not getting the education they deserve to have. Acacia, the founder of Tiny Girl, Big Dream discovered when she reached out to the girl that was bullying her that it wasn't just those that are being bullied that need help, it is also the bullies. Oftentimes, children that bully do so because they are dealing with issues that they do not have the ability to deal with them. With no other avenue available to them they take the anger, hurt and frustration they are feeling and respond by bullying others to make them feel as bad as they do. Acacia discovered that by simply reaching out to the child that was bullying her and listening and offering support and encouragement the child no longer needed to bully. It is Acacia's dream to give every child a place to go when they need to talk to someone about what they are going through. Her solution was a rainbow colored bench painted with words of character and kindness to help remind all that passed how they should act towards themselves and others.. The Friendship Bench.

After placing the first Friendship Bench into her own school Acacia began to see incredible results. Kids were reaching out to each other for help and support, they were using the bench to resolve conflicts with friends they already had, and kids that were new to school were using the Friendship Bench to make new friends.
Although she was seeing tremendous results, she soon realized that the bench alone was not enough. Kids were being kinder to each other and learning how to reach out to each other for help and support, but she noticed that all of the attention and focus was still on those that were acting out and being mean. In her words "If you want to get attention in school you have to do something really bad otherwise you just go unnoticed."

She decided that if things were really going to change that she had to find a way to put the focus and attention on the good things. Her solution was the Friendship Report. The Friendship Report is the exact opposite of the bully reports commonly used in schools. It is a report that kids can fill out whenever they catch someone doing something kind, helpful or encouraging for others. Her Principal helped her to create the report and they immediately began to use them. Once a week over the morning news the Principal would read the reports aloud so that everyone in the school could know about all of the kind amazing things that had happened that week. Her Principal said that in just a few months’ time it completely changed the culture of the school. She said for every one bully report she was getting dozens of friendship reports and kids that used to get bully reports written about them were now getting Friendship Reports written about them. Again Acacia was excited about the tremendous changes she was seeing, but again felt that it still wasn't enough.

She said that kids were being kinder to each other, but they weren't being nearly so kind to themselves. She said it was like they could see all the amazing things about each other, but when they looked in the mirror all they saw were flaws and imperfections. She wanted every child to know that they were all amazing in their own way, each one of them had a special gift, something they could do better than anyone else. Not only did they deserve to know they were Amazing, but the rest of the world needed them to bring those gifts and special talents forward for the good of all. So her solution was to create a rainbow colored wristband engraved with the words, "I AM AMAZING" and pass them out to every student in the school. The bracelets went along with a letter she wrote that explained to them why they were Amazing in their own perfectly imperfect way, and she encouraged them to look down at the bracelet and read the words I Am Amazing whenever they were having a rough day.
All of these tools, the Friendship Bench, Friendship Reports, I Am Amazing wristbands and letter make up the Friendship Kit. These kits have gone into over 150 schools across the United States and Canada, and the results have been truly remarkable. Nearly every day Acacia receives letters, emails and calls from students, parents and administrators talking about the impact the Friendship kit has made not just at their school but throughout the community.

The incredible growth that the Austin community is experiencing, combined with the diverse population and varied income levels make the Austin Community a prime location for the Friendship Kits. Imagine the potential for incredible positive impact if all of the 184 schools in Austin had a Friendship Kit. If each of the 86,000+ students knew that they were Amazing in their own way and encouraged to bring out their very best. Imagine if the focus could be changed from all that is wrong to all that is right. This positive attitude would cause a ripple effect that spreads from the schools throughout the community of Austin and the positive effects would be felt by all. By giving each school a Friendship Kit, we could create a Friendship Force so strong that it sweeps across the entire Austin Community so strong and pushes bullying and violence out of our schools and communities and teaches all, young and old alike that we each have a great purpose, a reason, and we all matter and are needed in this beautiful world we live in.
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