The following testimonials are related to Morning Glory Arts Therapy offerings including PhotoPoems, expressive arts therapy students at Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, Healing Glass participants, as well as students, faculty, staff and parents who participated in the Transforming The Bullying Cycle Through Expressive Arts Therapy Programs, Workshops, and Trainings.
The following are quotes from people who attended and/or saw the digital Essences PhotoPoem Exhibit at Viles Arboretum in Augusta, Maine in 2021.
"These are exquisite! Maryam and Akiba, thank you for your stunning images and poignant verses. They touch my heart whenever I look at them...thank you for sharing.”
~ Jennifer Caven
“Akiba and Maryam’s PhotoPoems are lovely! Some took my breath away. So simple, so insightful!”
~ Robin Schmidt
"Dear Akiba and Maryam, I hung my bluebird outside the door to my apartment in my retirement community. Every day he is not only making me happy, but everyone who passes by. They want to know where you took the picture. And the poem is perfect. Thank you for spreading happiness.”
~ Phyllis Chinlund
"So beautiful, each one of them! I am awestruck.”
~ Dr. Elizabeth Ackerson
"What comes across so well is the depth of such attentive presence in the words. The accompanying photos aren’t an extension of the verse, it’s more a visual invocation. Together they are touching in an unexpected way to me…I loved them.”
~ Sally H.
"Exquisite and remarkable. An effective and skillful pairing of each other's talent and devotion to the natural world as captured in the (ever) present moment. Especially loved the imagery invoked with milkweed Landing.”
~ Susan Farewell
The following are quotes from people who attended the Essences PhotoPoem Exhibit in the Cundy’s Harbor Library in Harpswell, Maine.
"I see more in each photograph through the imagery of the poem, and the image likewise reflects its beauty in the words and their expression. The combination of image & poem takes me to a deeper and more beautiful place. What an imaginative and evocative journey - looking out at the natural world and seeing within. Much gratitude to you both for sharing your gifts!”
~ Robin Brooks ~
"My husband and I went down to Harpswell on Saturday to view your show- It was beautiful! We both really enjoyed the Photopoems very much. My favorite would have to be The Hawk- so majestic and the poem made me think about how we never truly see it all. Someone once told me that the difference between a good and a great painter is that one will see the apple and paint an image of an apple they have seen a million times in their mind- and the other will see that apple- all of its glory and imperfections- and paint the truth of that particular apple. Your poem made me think of this again. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing these! What a perfect setting too- a gorgeous location and the library was great- quiet and easy to view.”
~ Amy Evans ~
“How perfectly the poetry goes with the incredible photography. It is a moving and delightful match.”
~ Jane Donelon ~
“The Poems rival and complement the photographs to create an artistic, delightful and highly pleasant experience.”
~ Edda Thiele ~
Beautiful image!... the beautiful poem always describing what our eyes see or our heart.. Your posts are for me a balm for the soul… thank you
Doroty Mesia Camus
I am blown away by your poems and the art that you and your Husband produce! I am thrilled by the beauty in the art that the two of you produce together. I am interested in attending the show that you are doing this summer. Thank you so much for the beauty you bring to this world! I love what you do are doing! You are a testament to the unity and Collaboration of marriage.
I am relaxing thinking of your workshop. [Healing Glass] I enjoyed it so much. You are so inspirational. I want to get back into glass. Your workshop was my catalyst to bring more beauty into my life, especially at this time. Thanks again…”
Dear Maryam, It was a wonderful workshop ! [Healing Glass] Opening up a new creative world for me...and seeing you again was so nice!
My enormous and heartfelt thank you, for your delightful and meaningful Expressive Arts Therapy presentation with my staff. Your presentation came during a stressful time and it was so great to have that time to escape and explore ourselves. I learned new things about each of them!
Director of Outpatient Therapy Services at Health Affiliates Maine
I have known Maryam for many years. With her gentle yet powerful empathy and creativity and the depth of her knowledge of the arts and their connection to healing, she has touched many lives including mine. She is a caring professional who brings out the best in her clients no matter what their age and from what they are looking to heal.
Maryam has been at The Center for Wisdom's Women 3 times now and is already a favorite. Women are drawn to her and find inner healing. We are blessed. (Referring to the Women's Healing Arts Circle)
Klara Tammany, Executive Director, The Center for Wisdom's Women
Your work is so very beautiful. Thank you deeply for sharing these magnificent gifts you have created.
(Referring to the book New to the Forests of Selay, an original expressive arts approach to bully prevention for elementary age children and the documentary film The Transformative Power of Inclusion Via the Expressive Arts, based on doctoral research using an original expressive arts therapy model to transform the bullying cycle with children and youth from California, Maine, and Massachusetts.)
Linda Sadoff, LCSW, JD
Participant Reflections from Healing Glass Workshops
Thank you for a special sacred healing arts class. I think we all had a fabulous evening with you facilitating great muse!
It was a very special evening together!
Sara M. Dostie
You are a gentle, enthusiastic & joyful teacher. Thank you for your leadership & knowledge.
Maryam quickly established a rapport that allowed her to create a level of intimacy for each of us to express ourselves while delivering technique (glass work) in a very simple/non-intimidating manner. Felt everyone did an exceptional job and this because Maryam is a sensitive person able to deliver instruction without making you up tight. I hope to take another class this summer!
Responses to Expressive Arts Therapy and Spirituality Workshop at the 2016 Creative Health Conference
Uplifting & energizing! A great way for this busy graduate student to reconnect with my body.
A truly worthwhile experience - I liked your mix of different faiths. I got a lot out of the experience.
At this point in time I was working as a Behavioral Health Professional doing in-home and community-based one-on-one work with a little boy who suffered from PTSD and was also diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He would frequently have moments where he became so overwhelmed that he would have outbursts and sometimes became harmful to himself and others (though more often than not, the family was more fearful that he would become aggressive than he actually did). I found that some of the projects we created in the Independent Study in Expressive Arts Therapy were useful to this child to channel any thoughts or feelings that he had and couldn’t express vocally because they were too “jumbled in my brain” as he would often say. Doing the art projects allowed him to mellow out and get lost in his creations, acting as a sort of gradual ventilation system for all that he normally couldn’t help but bottle up until combustion.
Also during this time I was dealing with one of the most difficult family struggles that I have ever faced. I had never felt so helpless than I did during this year-long battled watching the one person I always wanted to make proud become so fearful of what could happen. Similar to the little boy that I worked with, I found my assignments for the Independent Study in Expressive Arts Therapy were very therapeutic in that I would often get lost in a project for hours on end and see parts of myself—thoughts, feelings, even childhood dreams—come to life through my art. One project in particular that I recall channeling my fear was the touch-painting (I don’t fully recall the name of the work) where we used a piece of plexiglass with paint and placed a paper over it to capture the image we created. I remember just loving the way the paint felt on my hands and how my end results were often just swirled colors with some almost violent strokes displaying some of my inner feelings that I wasn’t willing to share with the world outside. I feel that these projects allowed me to see parts of myself that I may have known existed deep within but was not willing to embrace or share. I was able to channel these parts of myself in a way that I was comfortable with and not afraid to show an audience.
The way you listen to, connect with, and build relationships with your students far surpasses any other educators I have met and I value what I learned from you academically, professionally, and personally more than any other professional relationship I’ve had. You made me feel that what I was saying—and even what I wasn’t saying—was heard and understood, accepted, and validated. I wouldn’t change a thing about the experience and I pray that I will have a similar affect on my students/clients/whomsoever it is that I work with in the future
former Expressive Arts Therapy student at Thomas College
My name is Kaley Poulicakos, and I am a senior at Thomas College. I took Dr. Mermey’s class last semester and fell in love with the message and application process of the class. In my professional career, I have used many tools she has taught me in my personal and professional life. I am currently employed at an agency known as Serenity Place, located in Manchester, NH. Serenity Place is a detox center/transitional living program for young women, and I worked as an Intake Coordinator/Case Manager. Dr. Mermey had given me a book she had written about bully prevention, "New to the Forest of Selay: Witnesses Transforming into Heroes", and I have used that book countless times. In particular, I was working one-on-one with a client, and noticed she had been bullied—so I used this book as a tool to help her get through that hard time, and see that she wasn’t alone. The book helped her greatly, and she really appreciated the message the book sent. Also, I told the client that artwork really helps tell a story and get whatever you are feeling internally—onto paper (which I learned from Dr. Mermey). The next day, I was surprised to see this client was coloring a Mandala! It was such a pleasant sight to see! I am so thankful for what Dr. Mermey has shared with me, and I only hope to continue to pass the message of art along!
former Expressive Arts Therapy student at Thomas College
I wanted to let you know about how your program has had a lasting impact on us here at CASA. Your system and language has been very helpful in resolving this issue. During Kindness Is Cool Week at CASA we discussed the dynamic of the bully, the target, and the witness-hero. We don't vilify the bully-but rather we discuss how these dynamics can occur in many different relationships. We talk about how important it is to be the witness-hero-and help guide those stuck in a troubling dynamic towards more harmonious play. "I think so much of it had to do with just identifying themselves as witness-heroes-and taking the role seriously."
I had not implemented this idea of involving the community when there's a specific incident happening. And what you brought was this idea of involving the community of children. But to add this element of feeling like they can be supported by their peers is something that you brought. So having the training gave me the language to be able to talk to the families and to really emphasize how all of these kids are trading off different times during their years, even during their day, where they're being a bully or being a target or being a witness-hero.
With the teachers, it's now a part of our beginning-of-the-year staff meeting. It's become a part of our protocol, having that language and talking about how to involve the community in these dynamics. We had always done a lot of role-playing, but now to be able to do the role-playing and to focus more on empathy and to focus on the kind of revolving door of these roles and everybody playing the different roles, and playing them without judgment and physically really feeling what it feels like to be each of the roles. I think you have a lot of activities that really help the participant get inside those roles in a way than just kind of these standard role-playing. I think you introduced this way for the participants to embody the characters in a different way. I think it would really help people that are training to be teachers. Thank you!
Director of Children's After School Arts Program, San Francisco
We are so proud to have participated in this most excellent program! Congratulations to you for introducing the concepts of inclusion, shelter and heros to all vulnerable souls in our world, and for creating strategies that enable witnesses to safely defuse conflicts. By not attacking the bully, and instead, removing the target to a safe activity, those who once felt powerless can now be powerful. You are truly a peace-builder, and the ripples from your brilliant work will soothe conflicts and pain far beyond that fortunate group of young women in Massachusetts. What a gift you have given our world!
As our family watched your DVD, Robyn and I again felt honored to have participated, and we all discussed the program after it ended:
"Awesome!" --expressed by both of our daughters.
"This needs to be shown in every school in every state in the country." --Maya (13)
"I understood the girl who didn't want to forgive the bullies right away. I think I might have felt that way, too." --Jada (11)
"Did you notice that one girl was bullying another girl a little when she didn't want her to participate?" --Jada
They also commented on how [the inclusion technique] makes sense; it was clear that they understood that allowing the bully to cool down is smarter (and potentially less dangerous) than confronting the bully directly. That is a lesson they'll carry with them forever. Thank you for that. And we can attest to the fact that it is a great program for parents and children to watch (& discuss) together. Watching the DVD was a great way to open the topic up for discussion.
Feel our warmest wishes heading your way,
Tony and Robyn Barbon
Now that three weeks have passed since you conducted the Power of Inclusion: Building Character and Community Through the Expressive Arts Workshop with our middle school girls at Girls Inc. of Worcester, I am writing to let you know that we have observed significant changes in behavior and attitudes among the girls. Since the workshop, the girls have demonstrated increased levels of maturity, empathy and awareness of the feelings of others. I've noted that they are quick to offer words of encouragement and praise to their peers, are more comfortable taking healthy risks (such as testing the limits of their skills in academic and athletic activities), are willing to speak up and redirect conversations when gossiping occurs, and are generally more inclusive and respectful of differences. As I've spoken with the girls, many of them noted that your workshop helped them to redefine their stereotypical images and perceptions of a bully. After meeting Mary, a young adult who very bravely admitted that peer pressure in middle school caused her to engage in "bullying" activities that resulted in the social isolation of a close friend, the girls commented that they became more aware of their own behaviors and the impact their words and actions could have on others. They related to Mary. They saw themselves in her and they saw her as "good and kind" person. This was perhaps the most powerful component of the entire program, because suddenly "the bully" wasn't someone different or evil.... she was a person very much like themselves who made a poor decision. Through their interactions with Mary, they also learned about the power of an apology and gained an appreciation for the fact that we very often are provided with second chances to get things right in relationships.
Thank you so very much for sharing your insights, talents and skills with the girls. You've made a tremendous difference in their lives - and for that I am extremely appreciative!
CEO - Girls Inc. of Worcester
August 4, 2011
Dear Ms. Maryam,
I thoroughly enjoyed your anti-bullying workshop at Girls Inc. Even though I did not physically participate, and only observed, it was amazing! I learned from just watching and listening. You used the arts to define bullying in ways that both the girls and I could learn.
I will be a junior this upcoming school year and wish that this program was offered to me when I was a middle school student. The girls are very blessed to have someone like you come and share the beauty of art and the emotions and effects of bullying. In your presentation, the girls were shown how bullying occurs and also how they can play a role in bullying themselves. Your art allowed them to feel as though they were actually involved in bullying.
I really would like to share my observations on how I believe the workshop affected the girls individually. All of the girls who participated in the workshop were around the ages of 9 to 13 and by the end of day two; each girl did something or shared something that they had not previously known. Three girls in particular actually grew socially and began to interact with their peers while learning. Normally they would not interact with the other girls and would usually stay to themselves, but during this workshop they became involved and they felt proud. None of them were afraid to express their feelings. The girls were confident in their answers and accepting to the fact that they all differ in some ways.
Another important observation I made while at the workshop is the way you present information differently from other instructors that I have experienced. The way you controlled the crowd caused the girls to be quiet and pay attention. There was no yelling or screaming to control the girls. You simply engaged them and told them to relax and the room remained silent until they were told otherwise.
The activities you provided for the girls were excellent. My favorite was the simplest. You had each girl pronounce her name and then they added their favorite interest. This small task allowed each girl to feel important and it promoted self- esteem as they shared and their peers listened. The exercise assured them that it was safe for them to share and that they would not be criticized or judged.
Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, it was truly a blessing. Your art is amazing and this workshop is such a powerful ministry to all that are allowed to participate. I pray that you continue in your efforts and I look forward to keeping up with your progress.
WOW!!!! I can't begin to express how much we all enjoyed meeting you and having you present your workshop to the girls. After all the little bumps in the road in preparing for this, I could not have been more pleased with the content and the outcomes. It is quite obvious that you put your entire being into your work. It was a pleasure to finally meet you face to face. I'm so happy that we were all able to go out to dinner together as it was a nice way to end two fabulous days. I truly believe that this experience will stay with the girls and will be one that they will talk about for quite some time.
Kathy Riley - Director of Programs/Anit-bullying Programs Manager at Girls Inc. in Worcester, MA.
The issue of bullies in our children's school has become a topic of increasing concern. Educators today are overwhelmed, focusing on both an educational curriculum and life skills to help students learn to deal with bullies. When Maryam Mermey visited our school I was delighted to see that her bully prevention program was unique. Her program deals with more than the issues of what to do when a student is bullied. She extended the knowledge and training to teach students how to safely intervene when they witness a bullying situation. Maryam helped students to develop a valuable skill that allows a bully the opportunity to reform. After completing this program students gained confidence to protect themselves and others using a peaceful and positive approach.
Parent Volunteer from Elementary School who assisted with the
Power of Inclusion: Building Character and Community Through the Expressive Arts Workshop
THIS IS HUGE! My heart swells watching and witnessing the deep emotional and human work you are facilitating in children. If you need an enodrsement quote ever, just call on me. :) I am so moved by your work. I will spread this in the wind, share it, and interview you again for a book I'm writing called "Teach to the Trust."
Lu Hanessian, author, award-winning journalist and national speaker
Thanks for your kind words and thank you for all your successful efforts with our MLK Bully Prevention Project. I went away with a very good feeling about the whole event. All the right pieces fell in place. You are the greatest and gentlest leader and Loren is a dedicated videographer. She did not stop for one minute. I cannot wait to see the DVD! Those children will remember this for the rest of their lives because you taught them well. I also think that we could not have picked better children than the Prescott School sixth grade class! I liked each and every one of them. It was really great to have such postive support from Principal Blackman, Jen Lee and all the other teachers and staff members.
Paulette Oboyski - President of the Gibbs Library, Washington, Maine
Our students loved this process. While I wasn't present to see the sculptures being made- I saw their pride and excitement while presenting them to the group during the closing ceremonies of Kindness is Cool Week. They spoke about their collages as if they were real people and seemed to get a deeper understanding of each archetype.
I worked with the 1st - 4th graders on this activity. We have done this sort of exercise in past years during Kindness is Cool Week. It was great to have a new language to apply to the process. The kids loved playing the different roles and having a name for the characters. The most effective part of this process was having a way to show a solution through inclusion. Our students have always loved acting out bullying scenes, but they generally end with simply telling a teacher. The inclusion through play piece was empowering.
The language is used daily by kids and staff to describe social interactions. It has been an invaluable tool. Primarily, I want to again express how valuable it was to see the video and get a more comprehensive sense of the full picture. I'm eager to take the kids through this process next year- and to have our fifth graders be guided by our sixth graders who have completed the process. Thank you for your incredible insight and dedication! It will stay with us always...
Director of After School Arts Program
We had a delightful time with your presence~presents. Your great wisdom, gentle strength and creative teachings, were exemplarily, showing those who attended the power of kindness. Thanks to your program, they, as individuals, as a class or as siblings, will have gained the knowledge to utilize their quiet strength when and if the time of adversity arises. We are tremendously fortunate to have had this time with you. Thursdays are not the same without your sweet spirit! Let's plan another year, perhaps February 2011.
I'll remember how you changed my life and how you made me believe in myself. I didn't know I could act up on stage because usually in plays I'm a detail and this time I was a bigger act. I have more feeling about bullying and how it can hurt people. My confidence to act as a Hero, (person who helps to stop bullying), went up because when people believe in you then they can trust you and know that you can make a difference and stop bullying. I think bullying has gone down at school because people understand how it's bad to bully and how it's ungood and people think they're going to loose friends if they bully. People understand that it's really painful and ungood to bully. I liked everything! I think it was good to perform the skits because it inspires kids to learn how to say, "I'm sorry." We always get in random fights and then forgive each other.
Fifth Grade Student
Thank you again for all you taught our children about awareness of bullying. It has helped my son with identifying bullying and being able to prevent others from bullying. He was able to stop a bully that had been tormenting him in school for a while. It was very empowering. I'm thankful he had a mentor to help him. He also told me that you are one of the kindest people he's met and that he loved being around you. The things you used to teach in your class made him feel very peaceful. Keep up the good work. Teach Peace!
Mother of fifth grade student
Maryam has a way of being with young people that brings out their strengths and their understanding of themselves and others. She demonstrates unconditional positive regard for each person within a classroom. This, along with her fun and creative activities, helps to create the atmosphere for learning. She is has a strong belief in the power of music, movement, art, and role playing that reinforces the message of dealing with bullying behavior. She is committed to helping to create peace in schools and in students lives.
Elementary School Counselor
I opened up to everyone in the group - I was a whole different person. I felt safe enough in this group to open up as a person and as an actor. In the beginning of the play, I didn't really go up to people and talk to them. I wouldn't go up to anyone & say, "Can I sit with you at lunch?" Kidding around with each other made me feel more confident and more comfortable. You laughed a lot in here & I laugh a lot in the cafeteria.
Before performing the bully prevention play, I saw 2 girls bullying another girl and I was afraid that I would get bullied too so I walked away. Now I would probably compliment her shoes and ask her if she would like to have lunch with me & my friends. You feel lonely & horrible when you get bullied & like unwanted. When I use to live in Fitzberg, the preppie girls were calling this boy with orange hair "Jimmy Neutron." I was too shy to do anything. I always felt so bad that I didn't do anything. From then on he waited near the dumpster away from the bus stop so he could get on the bus last. Now I would walk over there & compliment him on what he's wearing or try to get him into a conversation and sit with him on the bus and be nice to him.
I feel good and I feel like I can do that play as many times as I have to! When I'm an adult, I'll probably remember I had a fun time and it was fun performing for all those schools. I probably will remember the script. This was the best play I've ever done even though it was the shortest play I've ever done.
Eighth Grade Student
Dear Mrs. Mermey, Thank you for your help in Bullying Prevention. I really enjoyed your support and love for us. I learned a lot from you. I thank you again.
Fifth Grade student
Our 10-year-old daughter, a fifth grader, came to us last month with the news that there was going to be a bully prevention awareness event at school. She told us that she had been rehearsing with the other kids at school to put on a play of sorts that dealt with the issue of bullying, specifically schoolyard bullying. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and I have to say that it was a special evening that left a big mark on me.
Through that event we met Maryam Mermey who was leading the "troops" that night. Maryam's personable nature and devotion to this cause were evident in every way as the kid's acted out potential scenes of bullying in the schoolyard and offered up suggestions at dealing with it when bullying and exclusion rear their ugly heads.
Maryam was intent on having the audience participate in round table discussion following the play and that touched me more than anything. It's amazing how everyone started to reflect on their past - to relive their own personal experiences of being bullied or even having bullied others themselves. This exercise got everyone involved and thinking in a very personal, and I should think effective way.
I found it personally inspiring to be there that night - so much so that it fueled a creative spark in me.
I spend a fair amount of time writing and producing my own music and I knew I could get a good song out that experience. I feel that way because the work Maryam is doing touched me - we need more Maryams in the world.
Best wishes to all,
Parents of Fifth Grade Student
The play made me want to become a Hero more. It was so fun doing the skits under the limbo stick. It was fun creating the skits. I understand the role of a bully more since this program. The program introduced me to the witness and how watching bullying beats on their insides and in their hearts so much and leaves them with a vague worry. I can't take it when something that's worrying you is hanging over you. Witnesses can talk to someone who is prepared to take action to stop the bullying. When they tell someone they become a Hero. All the witnesses turned into Heroes in the skits!
My understanding of how bullying starts and how to stop bullying has grown. I realize now that bullying starts when one person begins bullying and then another join person joins in the bullying and then another and another etc. because they don't want to be left out. If someone they are friends with starts bullying they are probably going to join the bullying because they are not ready to live life without that friend and they don't realize it's time to stop and that is more important than keeping a friend.
You taught me through acting to imagine if people were really being kicked and fell down and I don't want that to happen to me. The play made me want to become a Hero more.
The bullying in the classroom is absolutely gone. We don't bully each other any more. The program has helped us with real life situations. I personally loved the program and I think it's perfect the way it is and the next group will love it as much as we did.
Fifth Grade student
After doing the play I can be more open - be more of myself with other people. I learned I'm strong within myself and I could work together with other people and be open. The play made people think. I was always tucked into myself. Being in front of people gave me more confidence in myself. I saw this improvement in myself at the dances in terms of being able to dance freely, act freely, people being able to be more of themselves. It was just fun! I have a dream. If it's strong enough, I will follow it to the end and I won't stop until I do make a difference.
I plan on being a writer, a fashion designer, or a musician. If I'm a writer, I'm going to become a journalist and write about bullying and important things that get to people - I want to take journalism to the next level! If I'm a fashion designer, I'm going to host and fund an event to put like writing on T-shirts - Hugs Not Drugs - Don't Bully Be Friends - If I'm a musician, I'll write songs about how bad bullying is for your health and that it makes people feel bad about themselves."
Eighth Grade Student
I think it would be a good idea for the fourth grade to have the program too. I could donate some of the ten dollars from my allowance so the other fifth grade could have the program. I could put a jar around the class and they could donate.
It was fun working in the skit groups. I got a lot closer to the people in my skit group because of the skits. They were a lot different than I thought they were. I didn't know what they actually cared about and what they thought. I thought Gillian was shy but I saw she was outgoing and willing to try a lot of things. I didn't know that Astrid was such a strong person. Astrid and I sit next to each other and share pencils, and talk to each other, and have snacks together. I'm still friendly with these people.
My understanding of the roles in bullying is greater because I never knew about verbal or Internet bullying before. I thought bullying was just physical. After the program I invited Clark to sleep over my house and we played a video game and watched a movie. Instead of making conflict and being mad I decided to make friends and it worked! The Bully Prevention Program really helped me!
My confidence to act as a Hero is greater. Well, actually before this I would've pushed the bully but now I know I could tell the bully to stop and say to the targets, "Hey, why don't we do this together?" This gives the bullies time to cool down so they could be friends. The bullying at school has gone down a lot. I was somebody's bodyguard and I just put out my arms and they just went away. That was the only bullying since the Bully Prevention Program I've seen and I solved it peacefully.
I'm going to say that I was sorry to those bullies for jumping on them in third grade. I was trying to help the targets but now I know I could have used words instead.
Yeah, I will probably remember everything. It was really interesting and I didn't know I needed this kind of thing. Because we learned it and it was from a teacher and it sounded right and you explained everything. I knew it was right.
Fifth Grade Student
I will remember everything because it was so much fun and how to relax yourself if you are in a sticky situation with the breaths and stuff. If I ever saw bullying I will know how to stop it and how to take the target away. I will miss how you taught us we can protect other people by helping people and the way you made me feel more confident about helping people and how you made me feel I could believe in myself.
When our sculpture group couldn't agree on whether to make our statue sporty or girly, we took everything off and then we were able to work as a team because if we didn't it would have stayed a mess - we fixed it and now we're happy. (They resolved the problem by making a Super Hero that could be a girl or boy and painting it boy and girl colors.)
Doing our skit was one of my most favorite parts because we all thought of it together including the boy in our group. My understanding of the roles in bullying and how bullying starts and how to stop it went up because when I was in third and fourth grade, I didn't think bullying was a big thing. So if I see someone bullying someone, I know how to stop it by taking the targets away. I think a bully acts like they do because they have gotten bullied in their life so they want to get it out on somebody and they should talk to somebody to help their anger go down.
Ever since the bully prevention stuff, bullying hasn't happened as much. I've stopped at least one person from bullying someone. Somebody was saying something to somebody in a mean way and I kinda told the bully to back off and this person has feelings too and you shouldn't say this to this person because they are human.
Fifth Grade student
Bullying has gone down because I used to get picked on because of my weight and I told the principal and she said to tell her if it happens again. I haven't been picked on since the program.
The performance was really fun for me. Performing brought our relationships closer to knowing each other. My favorite part was when I had to help Mary Lou up. That was fun. It was ALL fun for me!
Fifth Grade Student
My confidence in acting as a Hero (the person who does her/his best to stop the bullying behavior) is greater because of all the plays! If you are just watching for a witness you can trust, they won't be scared to get into the conversation and help to take the targets away. I really liked it! I got good feedback. I did not think I could be so creative! Like the play we did lots of things that made the crowd like WOW.
My understanding of the roles in bullying is greater because when we understand it more we get it more. We get ideas from the posters and the signs.
Bullying has gone down in the school because before the lower grades might have bullied someone and now they might think of how it would feel to them to get bullied and stop bullying. Our play was really helpful to them. Bullying has gone down in our classroom because of what you told us and how the target feels. Making the Fountain of Youth sculpture collage also helped bullying go down in our classroom because it showed how you can walk over it and all your bad feelings go away.
Fifth Grade Student
I loved the performance. I thought it was awesome! My confidence to act as a Hero and try to stop bullying is greater because I heard that story of Olivia. (Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner is about how a student generated letter-writing campaign literally saved the life of a Middle School student who was being severely bullied. Letters from this book were read as an on-going part of the Bully Prevention thru Expressive Arts Program.) I felt really bad for her and I know how much bullying hurts. I don't want to see that happen to other people and so I want to do what I can to stop it. I think bullying went down in our classroom because nobody wanted to hurt each other in the mind or physically from my point of view. I think maybe I don't know how to improve the Bully Prevention Program because I really liked it.
I did see a difference in my writing. I started writing a story at home with a friend in the other class: The Adventures at Mt. Everest and The Adventures at Fiji. (The student is referring to the After School Bully Prevention Writers' Group that was offered in addition to the Bully Prevention thru Expressive Arts Program that involved the whole class during the school day.)
I definitely learned more about forgiveness because once my friend and I had a fight and we really weren't that forgiveful. Now I would totally think about it and cool down and would apologize. It isn't good to let it build up overnight. I'd probably do the Grounding Breath.
I would remember you and how we did the program so if I had any kids I would give them helpful tips. I would also remember the sculpture.
Fifth Grade Student
I learned that when you forgive others you receive goodness. I already know this but the program reminded me of this because of the skit. It felt good to forgive Penelope in the skit. When I'm grown up I'll remember all the fun that we had and everything! I learned I could sing!
Fifth Grade Student