08 Jun Dare2Care: Unite Against Bullying | Prosper for Purpose
The Social Challenge
When Liz O’Donnell, a clinical therapist, learned five teenagers from a suburban Cleveland area high school had killed themselves in three years, she took notice. When she learned lawsuits filed against the district contended that bullying was suspected to have played a role in all five of the deaths, she took action. Liz and her friend, Don Wismer, started Dare2Care, a communications and leadership development program to address bullying in schools. Their ultimate goal: to grow awareness of Dare2Care and move it towards a partnership with a larger nonprofit organization.
Dare2Care first created a pilot project in partnership with the Global Youth Leadership Institute (GYLI) to provide teens and teachers with a variety of transformative experiences aimed at creating fair-minded leaders willing to educate others about identity and to raise awareness of bullying. The training focused on communications tools and messages with a long-term vision to create communities free of harassment, brutality and indifference. The focus of the anti-bullying efforts is in support of students who are LGBTQ. These students are three times more likely to be bullied than their heterosexual peers and have a higher rate of suicide attempts.
The Strategy and Execution
While Liz implemented the pilot project and Don has conducted events to raise support, Cleveland-based Impact Relations agency and B Corp Prosper for Purpose focused on building greater public awareness.
Social media was utilized to promote events and provide a forum for LGBTQ students and others to learn more about issues affecting the LGBTQ community. Prosper also worked with media to build relationships to further elevate Dare2Care messaging. Several events, from a runway show at Saks Fifth Avenue to a film partnership with Rocco Shield of the film Love Is All You Need?, helped grow awareness of Dare2Care and its mission.
Dare2Care has reached approximately 600 students in Northeast Ohio with its educational programming. Data for the pilot project suggests the program did develop youth leaders who were better positioned to impact the school climate by acting as straight allies within the high school. In addition, workshops extended that ripple effect, growing awareness in other students throughout Northeast Ohio. Through special event proceeds, the organization has funded its own program—the Dare2Care Stand Alone Program—based on what was learned through the pilot conducted with the Global Youth Leadership Institute.
Most students remained in the ambassador program from sophomore through senior year, with several exploring how they might continue to carry forth the ideals of Dare2Care as they entered college and/or the workforce.
Prosper was successful in raising awareness of Dare2Care’s free youth leadership workshop by securing coverage with local news stations. The key piece included an interview with Liz O’Donnell as well as reactions from several of the students involved. Prosper also assisted in helping increase engagement on certain social media platforms by as much as 900%.