"Until Differences Make No Difference...."

"Until Differences Make No Difference..." Pilgrim Park & Wisconsin Hills Students Take the Lead to Stop Bullying 

Brookfield – "Differences: Gotta Have 'em!," a unique presentation by teens, for teens, that motivates young people to treat others with dignity and respect, will be offered at Pilgrim Park Middle School and Wisconsin Hills Middle School, on Tuesday, March 3. Members of the ARCh Youth Team (Association for the Rights of Citizens with handicaps) will conduct the presentation for the 6th and 7th grades. 

"Differences: Gotta Have 'em!" features skits, music and personal stories, using "positive peer pressure" to encourage students to accept others' differences and to not be a bystander when they see bullying. 

8th grader Pranav Sundararaman, a member of the ARCh Youth Team, was the impetus behind bringing the presentation to these schools. Pranav joined the ARCh Youth Team like his older brother Atal, a senior at Brookfield East High School, because he believes everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, and wants his peers to hear the message. 

Pilgrim Park Principal Kelly Szesterniak said, "The most exciting aspect of this project is that it is student-led; Pilgrim Park is strongly committed to promoting respect in the educational environment, and we believe that our students need to be actively involved in achieving this goal. We commend Pranav for working hard to bring this program here." 

"We are confident that the student presenters will provide a stimulating opportunity for the members of the WHMS commmunity to examine their actions and consider future choices carefully in order to act as responsible citizens," stated Associate Principal Sarah Leatherman of Wisconsin Hills Middle School. 

"Journey to a Hate-Free Community," an award –winning documentary and presentation, will be given to the 8th grade. The film provides a look into events and attitudes that can devastate schools, families and neighborhoods...but emphasizes that each person can be a catalyst for hope and change. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, in the year 2014 more than 160,000 students missed school every day due to their fear of being bullied. The costs of intolerance (depression, violence, crime) are high, and the consequenses of bullying can be devastating to a school, workplace or the entire community. 

The ARCh Youth Team consists of volunteer teen leaders from schools throughout Waukesha County who reach thousands of students per year through original presentations that foster compassion and acceptance. In addition, the group offers "Teen Time" (service projects and socials for teens with and without disabilities) and educational program about preventable causes of disabilities including Shaken baby syndrome, Fetal alcohol syndrome, Lead poisoning and toxoplasmosis. 

For more information on the presentations or the ARCh Youth Team, contact Jennifer Horth, ARCh Executive Director, at (262) 542-9811.