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Zucchini Brother Chimes in on Anti-Bullying Video
Monday, June 05, 2017
Bullying is an issue on most people’s minds these days. At the F. Donald Myers Education Center, the Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) club has made it their mission to get the word out on bullying prevention and how to make positive changes through their annual "Be an Ally" anti-bullying videos.
This year, Jack Zucchini of the Zucchini Brothers, a local band well known in the area for children’s music, helped students with the project. When he is not gigging with the band, Jack Zucchini works as a substitute teaching assistant for WSWHE BOCES.
Zucchini frequently works with schools to write songs and perform music as part of their character education programs. He says he wanted to do it for BOCES because he loves the program.
“As a musician, it is the only place in my adult life where I have had a ‘community’ work place. I love coming here. It is about giving back,” says Zucchini.
When he attended a SADD meeting and heard the enthusiasm students had for the different prevention programs they were interested in, he says he got the bug and wanted to help. The original idea was to write a song and have students sing to it. Zucchini says he worked on the project in bits and pieces, whenever he was subbing.
“Five minutes here and there. Over the months, we pieced it together and got enough material for a video. All of a sudden I had tons of stuff”, adds Zucchini.
The video features jam sessions, staff and students singing and dancing and sharing feelings and bullying experiences with on camera.
Miriam Davis-Doern, a social worker at the F. Donald Myers Education Center is also the advisor for SADD.
“The video is about how to be an ally and not be a by stander – how to find a non-violent way to help someone when you see them getting bullied without making the situation worse,” says Davis-Doern.
SADD student officers really wanted to get those messages across.
“The video represents a lot of different kinds of kids, from different groups, different populations. Some kids were brave enough to talk about their experiences of being bullied. Different kids, each with their own abilities – some kids show a magic trick that they can do. Some are dancing. Some kids are just holding up a sign. One student sings beautifully with Jack,” adds Davis-Doern.
Another student created the beats in the video that other students danced along to. Zucchini says it was one of his favorite projects to work on because it had a lot of new ways to do things. Everything was driven by the students.
“I had to find a way to make things work – whatever I had, I found a way to put it together,” says Zucchini.
This is sort of a theme at the F. Donald Myers Education Center – making things work and sometimes being pleasantly surprised at what the hard work produces. Staff and students really enjoyed the collaborative, creative process. It evolved into a nice representation of the different ability levels in BOCES programs. Overall, the project was about people contributing something positive.
“What is there is what students felt they could do, and they were proud of their contribution – for some students it is a big step for them to appear on camera, so the project is that much more special,” says Zucchini.