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The Farley Project partners with Inglewood charter

Juliana D. Norwood | 8/1/2012, 5 p.m.

Founded by Elissa Kravetz, The Farley Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to spreading a message of love, kindness and inclusion in schools and camps throughout the country, is on a mission to help make the ever-increasing trend of bullying a thing of the past.

This nonprofit has been in the making ever since Kravetz was first bullied in the seventh grade.

She has named the organization The Farley Project, as an homage to the junior high school where she was bullied, but more so because it was the very place where she started to understand that we are all equal and we all deserve peaceful experiences in school hallways, college dorms, corporate offices, and ultimately in our communities at large.

The Farley Project has recently been working with the Century Academy for Excellence Charter Middle School in Inglewood and it is the first school to be partnered with the organization. The Farley Project has completed two assemblies at the school, speaking with 200 students in the sixth and seventh grades. The presentation consisted of stories from former bullies, victims who had been viciously tormented when they were children, and personal accounts, including that of Kravetz.

"It was incredible to see our students so engaged during the assembly by listening and asking meaningful questions," said Shiva Ghodsi, school counselor at Century Academy for Excellence.

"The Farley Project genuinely cared about our students and created a special bond with them. I was most impressed by the continuous dialogue about bullying that took place in the classrooms and out in the yard days after the assembly. The teachers and students at Century Academy for Excellence are truly excited about this new partnership with The Farley Project and all the positivity and support they have brought to our school."

The Farley Project plans to travel the country speaking at schools and camps and will go to any city and school that wants their services.

"We can and will make a difference," said Kravetz. "We can see it in the eyes of every student that we reach. We can tell which ones it's happening to and if we can give at least one student in each school hope, then we know we're on our way. We are not here to punish the bullies--they need love, they need direction, and they certainly do not realize the repercussions of their actions. We will go city to city, school to school, until this epidemic stops. We cannot bear to keep hearing story after story, tragedy after tragedy. Personally, it took me 20 years to get my sense of self and self-confidence back. I will stop at nothing to make sure that others do not go through what I went through."

The Farley Project "Friends" program will be put into effect next year. The goal is to have "Friends" all over the country to collectively change the consciousness and conversation about bullying from the current discussion of how terrible and unthinkable bullying is, to how they will no longer accept this abuse. "Imagine kids all over the country, most of which have never met each other, standing for the same cause," said Kravetz.

The Farley Project Friends will be mentored by faculty of both The Farley Project and their respective schools and being a member of this club will offer perks--T-shirts and access to music, theater and arts. More importantly, it aims to provide a forum for young people to grow their consciousness and connect with others who want to share their vision for peace in schools and communities.

For more information on The Farley Project or to book a school visit, please visit www.thefarleyproject.org