Berger Foundation grant helping Boo2Bullying expand programming

Boo2Bullying (B2B) not only gives bullying a thumbs down – the symbol the organizations uses in its logo – but it also aims to eradicate intolerance and discrimination through education and positive influences. The nonprofit organization’s mission received a big thumbs up with a $25,000 grant from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.

“This Coachella Valley Spotlight grant is going to take Boo2Bullying to a new level,” said Dimitri Halkidis, President and Founder. “There is so much momentum with B2B right now, and we are making positive strides in many arenas to eliminate bullying and increase tolerance and understanding.”

B2B focuses primarily on school assemblies, bringing influencers to students to encourage them to stand up and speak out against bullying behaviors. Often, celebrities and allies share real-life experiences about being bullied. These stories resonate with young people who often think they are alone when facing the challenges of peer pressure and fitting in. With social media sometimes used as a tool to bully, B2B takes to those same websites and apps to spread messages of kindness and support for people being targeted.

“It’s hard to hear what some kids are subjected to by their peers, and statistics are indicating that a child is bullied every 7 minutes,” said Catharine Reed, Program Director for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “But, the valley is fortunate to have a group that is addressing bullying head-on with education and practical solutions to difficult issues.”

More than 11,000 students (K-12), primarily in the Coachella Valley, heard from B2B during 2018. The organization is connected to about 20,000 people through social media. The organization is working to double its impact in the next year, thanks, in part, to the Berger Foundation grant. B2B organizes art therapy programs that offer young people opportunities to express themselves in safe, supportive environments. The organization also supports peer mentoring programs and a Mothers Against Bullying group.

A portion of the grant funding helped B2B open a resale shop, Boo2Bullying Bootique and Gallery, in the Smoke Tree Village in Palm Springs. The space serves as both a headquarters for the organization and a fundraising mechanism. For the third year, B2B is holding a talent show and exhibition to bring awareness to its cause and give people a venue to perform. This year’s “Desert’s Got Talent” fundraiser to support Boo2Bullying is Saturday, May 4, from 5-8:30 p.m. at the Annenberg Theater.

“The organization, Boo2Bullying, came at a time when addressing bullying issues was at the forefront of community conversations and news stories,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “In only a few short years, the nonprofit has raised awareness about bullying and given young people a support network.”

Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, Boo2Bullying was featured on News Channel 3 programming including “Eye on the Desert” (which airs on CBS Local 2 weeknights at 6:30 p.m.), in public service announcements and on kesq.com throughout the month of April.