The Zorgos Awards 2017

On October 15, 2017, we celebrated The Zorgos Awards with a delicious banquet at Oakland’s beautiful Bellevue Club.

Each nominee was introduced with a stack of words that represent qualities that make up Zorgos, the antidote to bullying, and the words were put into a suitcase. They received a certificate and a golden cape…to honor their ordinary superpowers!

Invocation by Amos White: view “There Are No Bullies & Red Dawn

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Photo by Rich Luibrand • Click photo to hear the poet read

Welcome by Kristen Caven: read “A Silly Word for a Serious Problem

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Henry Hitz, founder of Oakland Parents Together • Photo by Rich Luibrand

Henry Hitz presented Laquisha Cowan, parent coordinator

Effective listening is a key ingredient of The Bullying Antidote, and parent organizer Laquisha’s reputation as a good listener is well-earned. Her listening helps parents grow empathy, make better choices, build relationships with one another, and foster connections that reveal the wonderful truth of positivity: when we mutually support one another, we can overcome personal obstacles and difficulties and better help our children.

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Photo by Rich Luibrand

Sharon Fillion presented to Rebecka Langum, 4th Grade teacher

“Ms. Langum” is known for her enthusiasm and directness, and using humor and empathy to create calmer situations. She sees the best in everyone, and guides those around her to positivity…all of these qualities contribute to a growth mindset, which creates expanded possibility and solutions, interrupting and replacing negative bullying dynamics with the opposite: friendship, self-esteem, hope. She loves little Buddhas.

The award was accepted by everyday hero, Dave Caven.

 

Alice Wertz presented to Genice Jacobs, local and global activist, www.abolitionistmom.org.

Genice Jacobs Simenauer’s work protecting young girls has put the spotlight on an area that urgently calls for prevention. Bullying is a human rights issue, and slavery, the highest (lowest?) form of bullying, needs to be abolished. AGAIN! Her work bringing this issue to public consciousness through a 2014 billboard campaign, her work on policy at the city and state levels, and her work educating parents and teachers through her “Abolitionist Mom” website all support and demonstrate the concept of assertiveness — the “gutsy middle road” away from both bullying and victimhood and towards personal empowerment.

Genice Jacobs

Photo by Rich Luibrand • click it to see video of Genice’s inspiring acceptance speech.

Bellevue Zumba Club says: NO!

All my ladies listen up / If that boy ain’t giving up / Lick your lips and swing your hips / Girl all you gotta say is… / My name is no / my sign is no / my number is no / You need to let it go! / I’m feeling untouchable…. — Meghan Trainor

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Photo by Rich Luibrand • KRS-10 teaches Zumba at 8:30 on Wednesdays

Gary Yee presented to Ron Lytle, composer & lyricist www.ronlytle.com

Ron Lytle’s wonderful works of imagination for East Bay Children’s Theatre have made Grimm’s fairytales less grim, helping to heal a dark history of European childrearing. All of his works demonstrates character arcs towards virtue and happiness, and each show creates opportunities for positive, inter-generational community experiences. The arts as a renewable resource and a powerful primary prevention tool in teaching empathy. Thank you for helping us imagine more “Happily ever after!” These stories teach optimism and a growth mindset.

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Photo by Rich Luibrand • Does it look like Ron is getting an idea for a new musical? We hope so!

Clidell “Franceyez” Jackson III presented to Lamar Hancock, kingmaker

Lamar’s presence and work at Oakland Tech, relating to students and developing programs such as REAL HARD and the African American Male Achievement/Manhood Development program, has been part of an upshift in the story of black boyhood in Oakland. His day-to-day attention to positive change and respect has helped a generation of what might have been “lost” children identify their strengths, new perspectives, and greater powers in a world that defines them by and aligns them with heavy and often deadly bullying dynamics. We honor his spirit of capability in changing a downward spiral to an upward spiral.

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Lamar Hancock, Kristen Caven, Clidell Franceyez Jackson III, Dr. Louise Hart • Photo by Rich Luibrand

Louise Hart presented to Jeanne Gibbs, Thought Leader

The 1987 publication of Jeanne’s book, TRIBES, and subsequent creation of the Tribes Learning Community program created a classroom revolution with Community Circles. When things are going “right” in Oakland Schools, it’s usually because there is some form of this practice, which creates connection, inclusion, and caring among students. The simplicity of circles is a tried and true way to promote social emotional learning, a fundamental ingredient in The Bullying Antidote! Mia Lang accepted for Jeanne Gibbs.

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Photo by Rich Luibrand

(Read: “A Zorgos Day Blessing” by Clidell Franceyez Jackson III)

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Louise Hart presented “Putting Out Fires” circle

The “grand finale” put us all in mind of the fires burning north of us. Louise talked us through a simple backrub technique for healthy touch, featuring snowflakes, raindrops, hail, thunder, lightning, hurricanes, tidal wave, and a calm after the storm.

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“Climate Calming” exercise • All photos by Richard Luibrand

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Nominees who were not able to make the banquet, but who are honored and appreciate just the same, are

Lynette Gibson-McElhaney, city council member

Lynette Gibson McElhaney​ is a champion of evidence based, data-driven approaches to reduce violence such as Ceasefire and the new Department of Violence Prevention in Oakland. Children have a right to grow up without violence. Thank you Lynette, and the Oakland City Council for your foresight in moving Oakland from crisis mode to prevention mode.

Scott Johnson, journalist

Scott’s reporting on the widespread effects of trauma on Oakland’s children helped create awareness and empathy, leading to a greater understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). Scott’s ground-breaking journalism helped empower those working to create change and build resilience. Understanding the consequences of trauma helps to create a deeper understanding of bully prevention.

Walk On Pup, local business

A dog-walking upshifted the emotions of dogs from conflict to friendship in one Oakland neighborhood, approaching owners of aggressive behind-the-fence dogs so their pets could walk with the neighborhood pack. Their efforts were part of a renaissance, weaving a social structure where people would stop to say hello. The mood of the neighborhood changed from tense and fearful to open and relaxed. A key concept in bully prevention that, as mammals, our brains are wired for connection, and intentional positivity can replace the urge to fight for territory and self-preservation.

Steve Kerr, basketball coach

Steve’s leadership of The Warriors demonstrates democratic authority, the exemplary “middle road” between permissive and autocratic leadership. Being a public “upstander” has influenced other national sports leaders. Steve’s insistence his team “play with joy” counter-models the punitive autocracy that is often associated with sports coaching, and has allowed talent to thrive and happiness to infuse our city as we share the success of his team. Oakland has experienced great happiness due to the ripple-effect of his positive leadership.

Pete Docter, screenwriter

We can all see joy, anger, sadness, disgust, and fear so differently now, so much more compassionately, thanks to the Pixar film Inside Out! We thank Pete Docter and Meg LeFauve for bringing the conversation of emotional literacy into the mainstream in a huge new way. It addressed not only the importance of all of our emotions, good and bad, and how different people experience emotion differently, but showed what can happen when we suppress our feelings. When parents understand brain science, they are more likely to use curiosity as an effective parenting tool that creates empathy and closeness, and less likely to identify behavior as “bad,”falling into traps of blaming, shaming, and punishing. Thank you for this beloved work!

NOTE: Nominations are still coming in. 

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By the end of the night, the suitcase was full of words…just like how Oakland is full of solutions.

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The date was chosen because of a mayoral proclamation for Oakland, but….

Anyone can give out Zorgos Awards!!!!

Thank you to “Team Zorgos!”

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Nakeyma Randle, Kristen Caven, Dave Caven, Louise Hart, Vicki Luibrand, Sharon Fillion. Not pictured: Alice Wertz, Laurie Panther

Thank you to our musicians, Sara Klotz de Aguilar and Daniel Finnamore.

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Photo by Rich Luibrand

And thank you to all of the members and staff of The Bellevue Club for such a memorable evening!

The Bellevue Club is a social club hosting a rejuvenation drive. We are all social creatures, hardwired for relationships! Please call for a tour if you would like to learn more about joining. 510-451-1000

 

 

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Mission Accomplished!

We have completed our giveaway of 3,000 copies of The Bullying Antidote!

After two years connecting with dozens of Oakland organizations, we put the last 800 copies of the books directly into the hands of Oakland parents at a Back to School Rally.

The word “Zorgos” was on everyone’s lips, thanks to a new acrostic that teaches positive parenting philosophy.

We are celebrating the end of our project with a banquet at Oakland’s historic Bellevue Club, featuring reports from readers and five winners of the Zorgos Awards (to be announced in a press release the week before.)

Nominate someone who inspires Zorgos, the superpower that prevents bullying!

(All nominees will be listed in our press release—make yours today.)

The evening begins with cocktails at 5pm and dinner at 6. Tickets are sliding scale from $25 to $40 and include a buffet dinner and beverage. There is a cash bar open until the event ends at 8pm.

Seats are limited…reserve yours today

Can’t make it to the event? Don’t worry, you can celebrate anywhere! Your $5 donation will help sponsor a meal for our awardees.


“What we nurture is what we get. Instead of nurturing bullying, we need to superpower our kids with Zorgos at every level of society.” —The Bullying Antidote, Chapter 19: Superpowering Our Kids
(See chapter excerpt in Aces Too High)

Cheers!
Kristen, Louise & TEAM ZORGOS!

Press Release

 

2017 Zorgos Awards Nominations

Who do you know who seems to have the superpower of “Zorgos?” Who calms heated arguments? Who raises people up? We all know someone who, when they are around, people rise up to their highest self.

Nominate someone for the 2017 Zorgos Awards! It could be someone you know—a teacher, a parent, a community leader. It could be someone you admire—a celebrity, an elected official. Or it could be someone who has really made a difference around creating safer, calmer cultures. Nominees will be honored at our Zorgos Day Celebration on October 15th.

Now Booking Workshops for Fall!

fall promoRolling out our fall workshops! The free books offer is only for Oakland organizations…but the discount is for everyone!

How to turn bullying dynamics around? It starts with the family. Get the conversation started in your school, church, or community group.

Discount for bookings scheduled before August 30th.

Please write to info@upliftprograms.com for more information.

www.upliftprograms.com | www.zorgosproject.org | www.parentstogether.org

Sign the Upstander Petition!

izPsfSuLuXXuAaE-800x450-noPadChange of plans…we are putting the online discussion guide on hold until fall. Meanwhile, Oaklanders are still invited to request free books and join us at Oakland Parents Together on Fridays

“Everyone loved your presentation & is excited to dive into your book!” That’s what the host of Kristen’s talk to Rancho Romero Elementary School parents said about her November mini-workshop, The Bullying Antidote: Raising An Upstander, Not A Bystander.  Ask Kristen about bringing this 45-minute presentation & conversation to your school!

Now here’s something fun: sign this petition to add “Upstanders” to the dictionary!

Thank you to everyone who supported our fundraiser! We did not reach our lofty goal (donations are welcome ongoing at www.zorgosproject.org) but we raised the seed money for the essentials to kick off this project.

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Zorgos!

Over the next few weeks and months, as we begin to pass out books, we will continue to seek grants to provide facilitation & translation services; do outreach to schools, churches, and community groups (watch this space); and create the discussion guides.

Our core group (with the author) will be meeting Tuesdays starting January 5th at Oakland Parents Together. Join us!

p.s. you saw the movie… did you see the blooper reel?

Lemonade for Oakland

Louise explains why she is standing next to 5,600 lbs of books.

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“As you know, my daughter and I wrote The Bullying Antidote: Superpower Your Kids for Life on request from the publisher. Kristen and I had great hopes that our book would help raise a more respectful, kinder generation by supporting parents! You can imagine our shock and disappointment when Hazelden notified us they would discontinue the book as of January 1, 2016. Apparently bullying is ‘no longer trending.’ But the problem is not solved, especially in our community.

“Kristen arranged for the remaining books to be donated to our Oakland community, in which she and her family have been deeply invested as teachers and parent organizers. (For the last two years, for example, she was president of the largest PTA in Oakland.)

“She discovered Oakland Parents Together, who hosts educational ‘Parent Cafes’ around the city. They were happy to receive the donation of the remaining books for our community.”

Today, 3000 books arrived! 
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“We need some help to pay shipping expenses. And materials to spread the word. Bringing parents together who will read the book and work to create positive change will create some magic. One reader recently wrote, ‘The Bullying Antidote is a wonderful resource—comprehensive and well-written, clear and informative. These are the items I will reference when I use it to teach my classes:

  • How to prevent/reduce victimization
  • How to address bullying
  • Ways to help bullies change their behavior.’

“Please watch Kristen’s video and read about ‘The Zorgos Project.‘ She is really turning our lemons into lemonade, to help our children thrive! But she can’t do it alone.

“If you could make a donation TODAY, it would show the world that there are people who care about educating parents in a city where bullying, poverty and crime intertwine. And if this project works in Oakland, it could work elsewhere. Even a $1 donation will make a huge difference to kids, and make the world a better place!”

Love,
           Louise

Launching a Lecture

Kristen & Louise teachingCommunity Resources for Children brought us up to Napa on two Saturdays last November to speak to a wonderful audience of parents and caregivers on Bully Prevention through Positive Parenting.

The first lecture was delivered by Louise, with Kristen assisting, and covered the basics of positive parenting, including new strategies and ideas. One parent was astonished at our technique for eliminating whining and came back to report her success two weeks later. Continue reading