NEW YORK, NY, May 2, 2014 – For the first time ever, three Lower East Side settlement houses, Grand Street Settlement, Henry Street Settlement and University Settlement, are banding together to host a historic “Anti-Bullying” campaign targeted at the children in their after-school programs.
Presented by Healthfirst, NYC Arts Cypher and The Association of Latino Business Owners and Residents (ALBOR), the campaign’s key component is the Don’t Be A Bully Contest, calling for children (ages 7-16) to submit drawings, poems, essays, original music, or any other creative entry expressing their feelings on bullying. Winning entries will be represented in an original community mural to be created at the Grand Street Settlement schoolyard. Winners will also receive monetary prizes.
A kickoff rally will be held at Grand Street Settlement-Beacon Community Center Auditorium at 145 Stanton Street, New York on Tuesday, May 6 from 4:30pm–5:30pm. Registration for the contest officially begins on May 6 and runs through May 16. Contest registration is limited to the three Settlement Houses. Winners will be announced on May 25. In early June, at the grand finale ceremony, the mural will be unveiled at Grand Street Settlement-Beacon Community Center and winning students will be presented with their monetary prizes.
Studies show that bullying can negatively impact the mental health of students and their ability to excel in the classroom. It can interfere with important interpersonal relationships that support an adolescent’s mental health and wellbeing. Encouraging creative expression from students, the contest brings attention to the growing national problem of bullying, showcasing the artistry of talented students from New York City’s Lower East Side and their interpretation of what antibullying means to them.
“Healthfirst is committed to giving our kids the best head start in life for success in the classroom,” said Ian Shaffer, MD, Healthfirst Vice President and Medical Director of Behavioral Health. “Through outlets like this, we can improve the quality of life and mental health state of students by giving them a space to express their feelings while raising awareness about the importance of antibullying.”
NYC Arts Cypher founder, Charlie Balducci, said, “we have created a way to reach our youth in a language they understand and respect. We promote positive and productive means to combat the issue of bullying.”
Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization with more than 900,000 members of the diverse communities of downstate New York. We are ranked the #1 Quality Medicaid Plan in NYS. We treat our Medicaid, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare Advantage, and Managed Long Term Care members with the same care and attention we would want for our own families. We are also a proud participant in NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. For more information, visit the company’s websites at www.healthfirst.org and www.healthfirstnj.org.