Nov 27, 2013 04:06AM
● By Style
Photos by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group
El Dorado Hills resident Dee DiGioia knows about bullying—and she wants to put a stop to it. While working as a speech-language therapist at an elementary school, DiGioia found that playground bullies often targeted her students. In response, she implemented story times in various classrooms—reading children’s books about bullying aloud and encouraging students to talk about their experiences. She also opened up her own classroom as a lunchtime refuge for bullied kids, and began making educational videos to bring more attention to this systemic problem. In 2009, she founded Caring and Courageous Kids (caringandcourageouskids.com), an organization that teaches kids about the emotional and physical impact of bullying.
Unfortunately, for all her efforts, DiGioia’s caseload was doubled, she was prohibited from opening up her classroom at lunch, and she was asked to stop speaking about bullying. The irony was not lost on her: She was being bullied for speaking out about bullying. Ultimately, DiGioia opted to quit her job and dedicate herself full-time to Caring and Courageous Kids. She is now the author of One Caring and Courageous Choice at a Time (M Com Publishing, 2013), and she speaks to raise awareness about the importance of showing compassion to others. “Whether we have children or not, each one of us is responsible for a bullying culture,” DiGioia says. “If we don’t do something about it, who will?”
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