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Parents to rally 'Against Bullying'
Organizer hopes to raise awareness
It has been a busy couple of weeks for Michelle Reneau, but thanks to a lot of help from the community is ready for Porterville’s first Parents Against Bullying Rally. It will run from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Veterans Park, corner of Henderson Avenue and Newcomb Street.
The event raises awareness of bullying and encourages people to talk about overcoming it, said Reneau, who decided to do something after learning of two recent suicides of young local girls.
“It’s time to stand up and speak out. Parents need to stand up and let their voices be heard,” Reneau said earlier this month. “No more bullying in our community.”
Her 6-year-old son had been bullied in school, she said, and she could not stand by and do nothing.
Speaking at the event will be Noah Whitaker, community outreach manager for Tulare County Health and Human Services Agency.
Other speakers include several victims of bullying, including Krystal Holten who has been through a lot and will share her story on standing up against bullying, Reneau said.
Since she began planning the rally, Reneau said she has been inundated with stories of desperation and offers of help.
Local high school students also stepped forward.
Monache High School students started an anti-bullying contest, have been running anti-bullying spots on their internal broadcasting system through the school’s MTV class two to three times a week. They have also posted hundreds of anti-bully fliers in the hallways, classrooms and school offices. In addition, the MHS Civic Club and the Granite Hills High School Key Club members will be on hand volunteering and the Porterville High School drumline will perform.
A skit about bullying will also be presented by the youth group from New Hope Church. The group will also have a booth at the rally.
Also planned is a bounce house and other activities for children. In addition, KJUG Radio will provide music and numerous vendors and educational booths will be available with information and anti-bullying items.
Children’s T-shirts, each one with a saying written by a child, will be on display at the rally. The words, written by children about how they feel when they are bullied, are powerful, Reneau said, and added that she needs the public’s help in collecting more shirts to distribute to children to add writing to them.
New, any color, plain child-sized T-shirts are needed and there is only one day remaining to collect them.
The shirts can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at All Star Barbershop, 600 N. Prospect St., and at the Porterville Recorder, 115 E. Oak Ave.
In addition, white T-Shirts for men, women and children, with the words ‘Stop Bullying,’ will be available at the rally. They cost $15 or $17 for x-large and xx-large.
Reneau said she could not have done it without help and thanks her husband, Omar, for all his support; Mary Martinez of Mothers Against Gang Violence; and Heather Parker.
Following the rally, Youth Pastor Matthew Gifford and his wife are inviting the public to see the movie “To Save A Life” at 6 p.m. at New Hope Church, corner of Highway 65 and Linda Vista Avenue.
“It is a great movie about all of the issues that our kids are facing today, it deals with suicide, bullying, drinking, underage sex, hypocrisy in the church and the search for something more,” Gifford said. “I think this movie could have a profound effect on our little town as we are going through all of these suicides and bullying.”
The movie is free and open to the public. It is rated PG-13 because of content matter.
Visit http://youtu.be/OWEsNOBU7lk to view the movie trailer.
For more information on the rally, call Reneau at 789-4218 or visit www.facebook.com/supportpab for updates on the rally.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.