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  • Pamela Froman

Dignity Health Partners with The Great Kindness Challenge to Stop Bullying


Bullying has become a serious problem for children and teens across the country. It is important for parents to take an active role in their kid's lives to help teach them how to watch out for bullying and to avoid being bullied. The definition of bullying is when a child or teen is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.

There are several signs parents can look for to figure out if your child is being bullied.

Your child has unexplained injuries or damaged/missing clothing. Their eating habits are different. They don't want to go to school and make excuses to avoid going. They have fewer friends. They tell you that they feel helpless. They discuss suicide. They don't act like themselves. They avoid certain places or prefer to play alone. They tell you they don't feel worthy or good enough. They have trouble sleeping. They blame themselves for problems or situations beyond their control.

Understanding these warning signs can help your kids avoid being a victim of bullying. If the situation has spiraled out of control, counseling or therapy may be needed. Your kids may also have underlying issues of inadequacy or low self-esteem. Confident kids are less likely to be bullied.

The Great Kindness Challenge, which was created by nonprofit Kids for Peace, is a bullying prevention program that strives to create a culture of kindness for students in elementary, middle, and high schools. It will take place Jan. 26 - 30, 2015. Students are asked to complete 50 acts of kindness in one week. Kids for Peace offers a checklist of suggestions for The Great Kindness Challenge. Some of these include:

Smile at 25 people

Pick up trash in your neighborhood

Paint a picture and give it to someone

Deliver a special gift to a child in the hospital

Draw a heart in the sand or dirt

Send a card or gift to a military family

Make a wish for a child in another country

Donate food to a food bank

Hold the door open for someone

Write a happy message with sidewalk chalk

Leave a painted rock on a friend’s doorstep

Make sack lunches for the homeless

Compliment 5 people

Make and display a “Kindness Matters” sign

Call a radio station and wish them a nice day

Sweep the sidewalk on your street

Help plant a garden

Dignity Health Southern California is the presenting sponsor and active participant of the Great Kindness Challenge. Dignity Health’s Southern California Hospitals, including California Hospital Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles, Community Hospital of San Bernardino, Glendale Memorial Hospital & Health Center, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, St. Bernardine Medical Center, and St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, are partnering with more than 113 schools and more than 70,800 students in Southern California for the Great Kindness Challenge. Dignity Health’s more 65,000 executives, employees, and physicians in 39 hospitals will be actively participating alongside students that week, “matching” their good deeds.

Activities include hosting a “Kindness Teddy Bear Clinic” led by a Dignity Health physician, which builds a mosaic of kind messages to be delivered to hospital patients, holding classroom decorating contests, crafting kindness bookmarks for family, and reading about kindness during story time.

Not only kids can be kind! Dignity Health is dedicated to a culture of kindness – recognizing it leads to happier – and healthierpeople. Dignity Health’s involvement in the Great Kindness Challenge demonstrates its dedication to keeping us all kindhearted. Some benevolent acts include surprising hospital patients with a flower, or delivering lunch to a harried co-worker.

“Do I think kindness is important? Yes I do. Why? So we can build a bigger and better community” – Even, 4th Grader says.

“We are proud to support the Great Kindness Challenge for the second year with one of the most active regions across the nation,” said the Cassie McCarty MDiv, BCC, Director of Mission Integration and Spiritual Care Services, Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital & Health Center. “The passion and energy our Southern California students have for completing the Great Kindness Challenge is inspiring a culture of kindness among their friends, family and our community.”

Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems, is a 20-state network of nearly 9,000 physicians, 56,000 employees, and more than 400 care centers, including hospitals, urgent and occupational care, imaging centers, home health, and primary care clinics. Headquartered in San Francisco, Dignity Health is dedicated to providing compassionate, high-quality and affordable patient-centered care with special attention to the poor and underserved. In FY14, Dignity Health provided nearly $2 billion in charitable care and services.

To learn more or participate in the Great Kindness Challenge, visit dignityhealth.org/GKC or facebook.com/DignityHealth

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