Written By: Maddie Anseth, Pitch Perfect Marketing Club MemberMany would say that middle school bullying is “age-appropriate conduct” and thus goes largely unaddressed by school officials. Tesseract School junior Matthew Kaplan disagrees. Kaplan has taken it upon himself to put an end to high school bullying before it even begins. Kaplan says, “Middle school is the essential time to intervene before this destructive behavior becomes habit.” The Be O.N.E. Project is an interactive day of learning that creates a positive and inclusive middle school environment. Kaplan’s program takes peer pressure and reverses it in a way that encourages middle school students to include and support one another. The project attempts to emphasize a concept, which Kaplan refers to as “Positive Peer Pressure”. This opens up lines of communication and builds connections between students. The day is filled with team building activities, empowering the participants to create for themselves an inclusive school environment. One of the participants had this to say about Kaplan’s program: “I felt heard for the first time in a long time. It felt like there were people in my situation that understood. I feel like next time I can speak up.” Mathew Kaplan has received many accolades, acknowledgements and awards to date for his innovative program, but the most prestigious of all will be when he is recognized as a Global Teen Leader for 2014 for his Be O.N.E Project by Three Dot Dash at their annual Summit in New York in April.
For more information on The Be O.N.E. Project, visit www.thebeoneproject.com