It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child. But The Farley Project, a 3-year-old non-profit organization based in Los Angeles that dubbed itself a call to spiritual ground troops, takes that thinking one step further with the mission that it takes a village to protect a child, too.
A frightening number of children are the victims of bullying. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 1 in 3 students report being bullied during the school year. Experts speculate those numbers may underestimate the epidemic of bullying as many more children suffer the emotional and sometimes physical pain of bullying in silence.
The heart and soul behind The Farley Project is entertainment and brand publicist, Elissa Kravetz. Its name is a tribute to the junior high school in Massachusetts Kravetz attended and first became the victim of bullying in seventh grade.
Kravetz says she can still remember the life-altering experience like it was yesterday. One mad best friend turned into three, which turned into five then 10 and eventually the entire grade. She endured the lunch table getting up and leaving when she sat down and having food and gum thrown at her. Kravetz then ate alone in the nurse’s office or bathroom stall, on the toilet with her feet up so no one would know she was in there.
The torture and treatment lasted for months, but the effects stayed with Kravetz for the next 20 years. And after a long journey that finally healed her broken spirit, she decided she needed to join the fight against bullying.
Kravetz started speaking at schools and camps, and The Farley Project was born.
About the Project
The Farley Project holds assemblies at schools that present a 360-degree perspective of bullying through the eyes of bullied victims, former bullies and the parents of bullied victims. Elissa speaks at all of the assemblies, sharing her personal story. She is accompanied by people who all have personal experiences with bullying, including former bullies.
The hope is the assemblies will open dialog with the students and encourage them to “Choose Kindness!”, which is the group’s tagline. Educators report that when children see firsthand the long-lasting effects of bullying through the Choose Kindness campaign, they have a better understanding of how their actions shape the world around them.
Schools can also participate in The Farley Project Curriculum, a 7-week course complete with homework and weekly exercises aimed at helping kids connect to themselves and with one another. During the hour-long weekly meetings, small groups of students (between 10-20 chosen by the school) are led by Farley Project Ambassadors and are encouraged to journal during the process.
Since August 2012, The Farley Project has been partnered with the Century Academy for Excellence charter middle school in Inglewood, Calif. It’s also held assemblies at other Los Angeles-area schools. The group spans the country, holding assemblies as far away from its home base as the Frank McCourt High School in New York City.
Kravetz continues to think big in an attempt to tamp out bullying. She says she’s prepared to go city by city, school by school, student by student until a difference is made.
“Kids do not realize the severe long-term effects of their actions, and we are here to teach them … to show them. We want to empower them with a new way of behaving: we are aiming to replace jealously with kindness, hatred with compassion, fear with love.