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The Gainesville Sun
Tampa Tribune Article About Hands On Hero!
Tampa Bay Online Video Footage of Hands On Hero!
Dr. Porter On Tim Wilkins Show
Program Helps Students Combat BullyingStudents participate with enthusiasm
The need for such programs is bolstered by the findings of a 2002 study by the US Secret Service and the Department of Education stating that a majority of school shootings are committed by victims of bullying. Furthermore, a recent string of bullying-related suicides were termed a crisis by outspoken talk show host Ellen Degeneres.
The Hands On Hero™ program is different than others because kids enjoy it, says one of the program developers.
“We’ve already tried a pilot version of the program at Oak View Middle School in Gainesville, Florida, and the enthusiasm from the faculty and kids was overwhelming,” said Jim Porter, who co-developed the program, and a bullying specialist who conducted research with the University of Florida showing that friend’s are more influential than parents and teachers on kids’ decisions about whether to bully or to help protect victims.
The program is set to be implemented at
“We’re really being proactive in trying to make
“When Jim [Porter] and I first discussed developing the program, I was really impressed by his desire to put his research into practice with real kids,” said Steve Turner, a highly in-demand empowerment group facilitator who uses drumming to create cooperation and reconciliation in various settings, from schools to dueling Muslim factions in Iraq.
The program capitalizes on Turner’s star power, says Porter.
Not only will the program be in schools, but Porter and Turner have encapsulated the program into an interactive stage show that will be presented at Ruth Eckerd Hall on October 12, 2010 to as many as 2100 Pinellas County Schools students, teachers, and administrators. The stage experience will also be presented to several Pasco County Schools at a local auditorium.
The Ruth Eckerd Hall performance is funded by the Marcia P. Hoffman Performing Arts Institute in
The program’s developers say Hands On Hero™ is the solution to problems found in other programs, anecdotally and in published research. Weaknesses found in other programs include creating more work for teachers which their schedules prevent them from implementing, asking the wrong kids to intervene in bullying—a strategy that sometimes increases violence in school, neglecting the influence of peers, preaching to students instead of engaging their willing participation in hands-on training, and hit-and-run emotion-sharing experiential workshops that may leave kids more vulnerable to bullying than before because they have revealed secrets that may be used against them later.
As solutions, Hands On Hero™ uses professional trainers to do the work teachers are often asked to do. It assists teachers in making the best of the training their students learn. It systematically selects the right peers as leaders in anti-bullying efforts. The program is also fun, the developers say, which leaves kids asking for more training. In addition, the program tracks results and conducts booster sessions to cement in the training.
Instead of punishment-oriented policies, which can actually cause “mafia-style” secrecy and retaliation, the program harnesses and amplifies protective and reconciliatory behaviors that, Porter says, studies show are already happening in most schools on too small a scale.
“Some kids and teachers are already doing what needs to be done,” says Porter, “but they are too few and all alone. They don’t get much support. That’s what we change with Hands On Hero.”
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Presentations are $200 per presentation hour.Travel out of Gainesville, Florida area and larger audiences may incur an additional fee.