The Stop Bullying Just Play Project
Thank you all for agreeing to participate in Lauryn’s Foundation. As a community service advocate, I’ve always wanted to start a foundation for Lauryn, but never really knew what direction to follow. I always knew her foundation would involve sports because she’s athletic. The hard part was starting a foundation that directly affected Lauryn.
In February 2012, I remember being at Lauryn’s school to pick her up. As she walked down the stairs, there was sadness in her eyes. As a parent, you can look at your child and know when something isn’t right. Apparently, one of Lauryn’s classmates and friends had been picking on Lauryn calling her a tomboy because she would rather play basketball during recess. I asked her how it made her feel and it hurt me to hear my 9 year old say, “Playing basketball doesn’t make me a boy.” I wanted to fix this. There were plenty of options for fixing the problem, but I wanted to make a big impact. I immediately went into PR mode and began researching bullying and the word tomboy.
I called a few parents, who have daughters older than Lauryn and asked if their daughters were being called tomboys and how they felt about it. All of them said people called their daughters tomboys and their daughters didn’t like it, but have learned to ignore it. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and I know that repressed feeling don’t heal when they aren’t addressed. This made me want to address the issue. So many of our female athletes are told, “Being a tomboy just means a girl who likes sports, there’s nothing wrong with it.” But in actuality if a female athlete doesn’t want to be called a tomboy and feel as though it’s offensive, they shouldn’t be called tomboys.
This was the spark that guided me to the foundation that I wanted for Lauryn. The message is simple but effective: Stop Bullying, Just Play. Our mission is to encourage and to motivate female athletes to continue to be athletic, regardless of what others say or think. We also want to encourage our young girls who don’t play sports to think outside the box. Anything that requires physical activity is a sport. According to our favorite, Wikipedia, a sport is an activity involving physical exertion and skills in which an individual or team competes against another or others. Examples of “traditional girlie" sports:
· Jumping Rope-Miss Mary Mack-if you mess up, you’re out. In other words you lose to the person who jumps the longest.
· The Monkey Bars-You race against other students in hopes of making it to the other side of the monkey bars faster
· Tag-One person is “it” and that person chases (runs after) other students to tag (touch) them and they become “it”. Basically the person who gets caught loses and now has to chase the other students.
Basically the majority of all recess games/activities are competitive sports.
We encourage all youth to take a moment to read our "Stop Bullying, Just Play" Pledge and share with your parents. Discuss it and commit to the cause.
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