Rotary club donates anti-bullying books to local elementary schools
Thirty-seven elementary schools in five school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley will each receive a copy of two children’s books against bullying and discrimination thanks to a donation from the Rotary Club of Santa Clarita.
Glenn Terry, president of the local group, invited the author of the books, Stephen Tako, and former Seattle Seahawks NFL player, Dave DesRochers, who revised the book, to the donation ceremony on Friday morning outside the Hotel de city of Santa Clarita.
“Each book contains a variety of different lessons to help children overcome negative beliefs about themselves,” said Tako, member of Rotary Club La Jolla Golden Triangle. “It helps them develop their self-esteem, it helps them form friendships, teamwork and other safety issues.”
Tako used the time spent indoors during the pandemic to complete the second volume in his anti-bullying book series, “Junga the Dancing Yeti Meets Heidi,” which was released last year.
The first volume, “Junga the Dancing Yeti”, was released in 2018 and is accompanied by a video on YouTube. A video accompanying the second volume will be released on YouTube on Tuesday.
DesRochers said he had a connection to the book since he was bullied while in college.
“I was bullied and also being a taller person and not being very coordinated, I was also mocked and teased,” the former Seahawk said.
DesRochers, a member of the Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary, said he spoke frequently with young students about bullying.
“Tell someone, reach out your hand and say, ‘I’m being bullied,’ ‘I’m getting teased,’” he said. “They are going to give you tools to deal with it.”
Newhall, Saugus and Sulfur Springs school district leaders, along with Santa Clarita city councilor Cameron Smyth, joined Tako and DesRochers.
Jezelle Fullwod is Assistant Superintendent of Education Services at Sulfur Springs Union School District. She said the books will support her district’s positive behavior support program, which includes anti-bullying.
“We have our anti-bullying and wellness programs in all of our schools and these books would just help with those programs,” she said.