ELBURN—What began as a group of concerned parents—Knights Against Bullying—who wanted to do something about incidents of bullying in the Kaneland schools has grown into a coalition of individuals, groups and organizations that are working together to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all children.
Knights Against Bullying representative Leigh Ann Reusche was one of a dozen individuals representing several local organizations who met last Thursday at the Elburn Town and Country Library to exchange information, plans for future events and how to work together to get the word out about what they are doing.
Reusche, who for the last year has worked on a task force the School District created to look at the bullying issue, said that when she and Leanne Gramley, another member of KAB, went out into the community, they found a tremendous amount of support for children.
“We found the community to be very welcoming, very open, and generous and kind,” Reusche said. “They were willing to try new things, and they were interested in getting together around something for our kids.”
Reusche said the conversation turned to the concept of kindness, and how to promote kindness within the community.
“People were very, very responsive and excited about it,” she said.
The group has expanded and spawned a new organization, PEAK forKids, Inc. (Promoting Enrichment and Kindness), a 501©3 created by Sugar Grove resident Rene Dee, and the first thing the group will do is host a Kindness Campaign.
Reusche and others are getting together with people within the School District, local Scout troops and churches to talk about how what they are currently doing and how they can encourage kindness within their own organization.
“They’re already doing a lot of these things,” Reusch said. “This is not something new and big and different. We want to highlight things that are already happening.”
Kaneland parent Ingrid Baumgaertel Ramos, who works with the Changing Children’s Worlds Foundation, said the group is holding a showing of the movie “Bully” at the Arcada Theatre on Wednesday, July 31, and Sunday, Sept. 29. After the movie, high school counselors will hold a conversation with the young people in the audience about bullying and what they can do in their own schools and lives.
Reusche said the movie will be shown at the Kaneland High School in October, with similar “talk-backs” planned for after the movie.
Elburn Lions Club representative Chris Halsey will present a session on bullying during the upcoming Safety Camp hosted by the Lions Club on Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 5-6.
The PEAK group will host a Kindness Campaign booth at the Elburn Days celebration, and partners with the group will march in the Elburn Days Parade.
Also, a website will go live on Saturday, Aug. 10, and will include a working calendar of events and happenings around the area.
“We want to continue the positive dialog,” Reusche said. “We want to find ways to hold on to this train that’s going so fast.”