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YoJo shares lesson on bullying with Hickory students

October 05, 2009|By JANET HEIM

WILLIAMSPORT -- What's big, blue and furry and brings an anti-bullying message with it as it visits schools from Virginia to Connecticut?

YoJo, a costumed character with a mop of red hair who stands 7-feet tall, was recently at Hickory Elementary School to share an important lesson about bullying. YoJo's dance moves and attitude generated squeals of laughter among the audience.

The assembly was paid for by money awarded to the school for the students' performance on Maryland State Assessments. It was the first assembly of the school year, creating a lot of excitement among the students.

"We're here to discuss a serious subject," said Vince Eisenson, who went on to describe bullying as "someone being mean or hurtful on purpose, again and again and again." Eisenson was one of two performers in the assembly. Bromley Lowe, owner of the company, played the part of YoJo.

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True and false questions on bullying were projected onto a screen for students to answer throughout the course of the assembly. Questions touched on cyber bullying, which included the Internet, e-mail and text messages.

Students learned that it's important to think about other people's feelings, talk to an adult if you or someone you know is being bullied and that fighting back can make things worse.

It turns out YoJo was being a bully to another student. Hickory students watched video clips of YoJo repeatedly picking on another child.

He had been tormenting the other student to get laughs, but was admonished by Eisenson.

"Doing something funny at someone else's expense -- that's not funny," Eisenson said.

When Eisenson turns the tables on YoJo, donning an inflatable monkey costume which towered over YoJo, the big blue character agrees to change his ways.

Fifth-grader Coby Brady was selected from the audience and got to play the part of the New Kid -- complete with a costume of T-shirt and wig -- who gets picked on at school. For once, YoJo stands up to the student who is bullying New Kid.

Students learn that the damage bullying will have on people can last a long time.

"Don't forget The Golden Rule -- 'Do unto others as you have them do unto you,'" Eisenson said.

The anti-bullying assembly is one of four educational shows YoJo does. Go to www.yojo.com for more information.

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