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Bullying Takes Center Stage at Rally


For more information, contact: For Immediate Release

Rev. Karl Anderson / 352-505-6839

Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally set for August 4th

Families can get a great start to the school year and learn about preventing bullying and other forms of violence at the 2012 Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally set for Saturday, August 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Santa Fe College Gymnasium.

For the 13th straight year the community group People Against Violence Enterprises (PAVE) will be hosting the event, which is expected to draw more than 1000 people. The event, sponsored by a variety of businesses and community organizations, including primary sponsor Meridian Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., offers entertainment, guest speakers and snacks.

Meridian will provide the first 1200 children attending the fair with free backpacks filled with school supplies. Everyone attending will also be automatically entered into a drawing to win an I-Pad, courtesy of Spirit of Faith.

The goal of the rally is to give parents and students important tips on preventing violence in their neighborhoods, homes and schools and to help them prepare for the upcoming school year. This year's theme is #stopdaviol3nc3, a theme based on the Twitter format and designed to raise awareness of cyberbullying and online safety.

“We know that Twitter, Facebook and other social media are often used as tools of bullying and violence,” said Reverend Karl Anderson, head of PAVE and the founder of the annual event. “We want to turn that around, and that means educating parents and students about the right and wrong ways to use social media.”

Three local students will also be recognized at the event for coming up with the best videos based on this year's theme. Those videos will be shown during the program and later posted on YouTube.

Alachua County Public Schools will again be partnering with PAVE during the event to provide back-toschool information. Families will be able to pick up school calendars, school supply lists and information on after-school programs, free and reduced-price school meals and other school-related topics.

Other local agencies will also be on hand to provide vital services and information. For example, the Alachua County Health Department will be offering free school immunizations. University of Florida staff members will also be sharing information about the upcoming Flu Mist vaccination program, a communitywide effort to immunize all students against the flu for free while they're at school.

“We want parents to have the information they need to get their kids off to a smooth start, because that helps set a positive tone for the entire schools year,” said Alachua County Public School PIO Jackie Johnson.

As part of the Stop the Violence/Back to School Rally, the Leadership Gainesville Alumni Association (LGAA) will also be providing backpacks, supplies and clothing to eligible students who have graduated from the Head Start program. This is the 17th year the LGAA has sponsored the program for Head Start graduates.

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Click to download in FLV format (8.61MB)

Back to School Rally offers gifts and encouragement to avoid fighting