Angels and Doves is a nationwide anti-bully program based in Indianapolis. The organization focuses on the education and prevention of bullying injuries and suicides in schools for kids grades K-12. Indy’s Child spoke to co-founder Kim Harvey about the work she does in our community and beyond.
You co-founded Angels and Doves with your mom. What inspired you to start the organization?
My mother came up with the name and she asked me if I would partner with her and create a charity where we could help children. We decided to embrace bullying because we saw that very young children, not just teenagers but young children, were taking their lives due to the torment of being bullied.
How does your anti-bullying program work?
We have a three-step program, which makes us very unique. We start with a presentation and then we follow it up with one of two things. I wrote a book called The Bully Book and it is for grades K-7. It’s a story of bullying and it’s also a 40-day journal. We know that kids won’t write in it every day. But for the children who are hurting and who are frightened and who are being bullied, they will write on the days when they are most afraid or most hurt. This book can be a suicide prevention tool because their teacher can watch over the book or their parent or anybody who is an adult that they feel safe and comfortable with.
Then step three is what we call the Bull Program. This program is the glue that holds our whole program together. It is a peer-to-peer peacekeeping program. We at Angels and Doves and the educators select students to be peacekeepers at their school. These peacekeepers are called Bulls. They wear one of our trademark No Bully Shirts. Those t-shirts make everybody, adults included, a walking billboard to say “no” to bullying. We have found that even the students who were bullies, after we describe the program to them in our presentation; they want to become the bull. They want to be a peacekeeper. They want to be a leader. They don’t really want to be mean or be the aggressor. We’ve found that most bullies are being bullied by someone else.
What does your organization need most right now?
First, we need overall awareness that bullying is real and it is an epidemic. It is different than it used to be. It is very intentional and very aggressive. It is very mean and harmful.
After awareness we need to be speaking in more schools and for that we need more funding from either the school district itself or through private donations. We are in our ninth year and I have spoken to over 17,000 kids. However, with proper funding and additional funding from corporations and private donors and philanthropists, I could be speaking to three times that many students in a shorter period of time.
What does bullying look like and how can we prevent it?
Bullying is an intentional act against another student to harm them and possibly take them down to the lowest level possible, to absolutely demoralize them and strip them of any self-confidence that they had. There are four kinds of bullying: physical, verbal, emotional and cyber.
We show students what bullying looks like and then we talk about the bully. We explain why somebody becomes a bully. And we show how we can change their behavior and their mind and turn them away from bullying.
To learn more about Angels and Doves visit their website at www.angelsanddoves.com/.