By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG – Last year, Terry Powell, the owner of Buffalo Wings & Rings, teamed up with local racer J.T. Stapp, also known as the “Tree City Tornado,” and several local businesses to offer a program to stop bullying in area schools.
The aptly-named “Stop Bullying” pledge involves local schools holding a day for students to officially take the pledge not to bully other students, as well as standing up and speaking out against bullying while treating others with respect and kindness. In exchange for taking the pledge, each student receives an orange “Stop Bullying” bracelet that entitles them to special rewards at participating local businesses.
Last year, Powell reported about 6,000 signed pledges from all Greensburg schools, North and South Decatur elementary and high schools, Hauser High, Hope Elementary, Jac-Cen-Del elementary and high school and many individual participants. This year, Powell expects participation to grow to 7,000 students. Any local school interested in participating may contact Terry Powell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students can wear their bracelets to participating local businesses to receive free rewards for being involved in the program. Monday through Thursday, kids under 11 can get a free meal and kids over 11 can get a free drink with a paid food order at Buffalo Wings & Rings. While wearing a bracelet, students can receive a free popcorn with a movie ticket purchase at Wolf Theatres Monday through Thursday. On Sundays, students can swim at the Decatur County Family YMCA for free from 1 to 4:30 p.m. Henningsen’s Flowers & Gifts offers 10 percent off flowers or corsage orders anytime to bracelet wearers.
The orange “Stop Bullying” bracelet must be worn to receive treats and many wear it all the time. Students may also enjoy a free game of bowling at Parkside Lanes anytime, though shoe rental is not included. Free archery and shooting lessons are available Saturdays at Cutting Edge Sporting Goods.
On Saturdays and Sundays, student golfers can get free range balls at North Branch Golf Course. The Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library has free treats on Tuesdays at the Children’s Service Desk and GameStop has a one-per-student free giveaway available at all times. Anytime Fitness will be joining in with the rewards soon, too.
Those rewards offer a mighty incentive to students to take the pledge, and seeing the positive impact among their fellow students may inspire them to keep the pledge – at least that’s what Powell and Stapp are hoping. To build up excitement and awareness for the pledge, posters advertising the upcoming pledge date are hung in participating schools. Each school holds an official “pledge day” and students are asked to wear orange to stand together against bullying and let those being bullied know that they are not alone.
After the pledge day, a poster with all the rewards students can receive by wearing their “Stop Bullying” bracelets will be hung in the schools and many of the participating businesses. Powell said it is his hope that by wearing and constantly seeing their bracelets, the mission they represent will stay present in the minds of the students.
Powell has long been a strong advocate of community support. According to him, if he had to choose between advertising and community support, he’d choose community support. He said the “Stop Bullying” program is important to him because it addresses a vital issue while giving local businesses an opportunity to raise awareness of the bullying problem and mark themselves community supporters. By being involved in this program, these local businesses are investing in the future of the Decatur County community.
“I recognized that it’s a serious issue – not only locally, but nationally. I saw a way to positively impact students and it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved,” Powell said of his reason for starting the “Stop Bullying” program in 2012.
To kick off this year’s Stop Bullying program, Buffalo Wings & Rings will be holding a Stop Bullying night, with the “Tree City Tornado” acting as host. Monday, October 28, from approximately 5 to 8 p.m. at Buffalo Wings & Rings, students can stop by the restaurant to learn about the “Stop Bullying” pledge, meet the racer, get autographed “hero cards” and see Stapp’s race car (weather permitting). There will also be gifts and a chance to win drawings and prizes. Stapp will have several sets of passes to Stapp’s Circle S Ranch to give away as well. In addition, Little Mister and Miss Tree City will be in attendance to show their support for the “Stop Bullying” program.
Stapp has been racing since 1993 and is passionate about the anti-bullying message. He currently works as a substitute teacher as Greensburg High School and has seen the effect of bullying first-hand.
“I’m proud to be associated and involved with the “Stop Bullying” program with Buffalo Wings & Rings, and I’m happy to be part of the solution as a regular substitute at Greensburg High School,” Stapp said.
Any student whose school is not participating in the “Stop Bullying” program is welcome to come to the kick off night and sign a pledge. Last year, students from as far away as Rushville attended the kick off night to take part in the program.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004