“Too many boys in America are crying with bullets instead of tears.”
Comedian Michael Pritchard’s messages were delivered to local schools with funny faces and silly noises but they were far from comical. In September, the Santa Cruz County Office of Education partnered with the Office of the Mayor of Santa Cruz, to host a two-day event highlighting Kindness, Empathy and Compassion as the cornerstones to developing healthy kids and community. In advance of National Bullying Prevention Month, held each October, the collaborative chose to shine a light on ways to “STOMP out Bullying in schools and in social media”. Michael Pritchard, noted comedian, actor, and champion for the less fortunate, delighted and dazzled students at four elementary and two middle school campuses. His playful but serious approach to this subject had a positive impact on all of the students. In fact, as students began to share their experiences of having their feelings hurt, it became clear that this type of training should be a requirement in all of our schools.
Other messages also resonated with the students:
“Hurt people, hurt people.”
“Pain shared is pain divided.”
In the evening, Michael was joined by the Charter for Compassion Santa Cruz and Justina Bryant, the creator of 21 Days of Kindness Challenge to host a community-wide presentation addressing over 600 adults and students at the Rio Theatre to broaden the message of Kindness, Empathy and Compassion to a larger audience. It worked. The Charter for Compassion Santa Cruz distributed pledge cards and nearly everyone signed the pledge.
Using his most poignant Yoda voice, Michael Pritchard left his audiences with messages of hope: “Remember, words are boomerangs; the good you do will come back to you.”
“You don’t have to blow out somebody else’s candle to make sure yours shines brighter.”
“Michael Pritchard’s message of love and caring and compassion has inspired hundreds of young people in our community. I believe his message will be repeated and modeled in the months and years ahead… and will help us build an even better community for our children.”
Don Lane (Mayor – Santa Cruz)