As a child, year after year, my dad would bring my brother, sister and I to the old Montreal Forum to see the world famous Harlem Globetrotters in action. I have fond memories of the likes of Meadowlark Lemon and Curly Neal charming the loud capacity crowds with their hysterical anctics and absolutely flawless basketball skills.
With this in mind it was really nice to see how the 2014 edition of the Globetrotters are reaching out to youngsters with a very effective anti-bullying program. When I was contacted by Caroline Audet from Evenko and asked if I could arrange for Anthony "Buckets" Blakes to stop by two elementary schools. I chose Edinburgh in Montreal West and Westmount Park.
Blakes is a true entertainer and a fabulous public speaker. He had the kids and adults at both schools eating out of his hands.
Blakes presented “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention,” which targets six to 12 year-olds. The Globetrotters, who will play here at the Bell Centre on April 4, designed the program in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence (NCSV). It focuses on Action, Bravery, and Compassion, comprising the ABCs. Blakes asked the kids their definition of each word in the ABCs and expanded on the answers. For example: “COMPASSION means caring about others and your community. You can stop bullying by being a friend and staying involved in positive activities that show that you care about other people. When a child fell ill at one of the school’s and had to leave the gym, Blakes told the students how this was a perfect example of where compassion is needed. For the finale, Blakes chose a few kids and staff to join him up front to teach them some special Globetrotter ball handling moves to the tune of the team’s “Sweet Georgia Brown” theme music
The Globetrotters will bring “The ABCs of Bullying Prevention” to nearly 400 schools and youth centers as part of their 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour, celebrating the team’s 88th consecutive year.