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Planet Fitness Partners With PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center To Spread Kindness And Address Bullying As Part Of Judgement Free Generation Initiative

Posted: October 11, 2018 in Chains

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HAMPTON, N.H. – As part of its continued commitment to preventing bullying and promoting kindness among today’s youth, Planet Fitness, Inc., one of the largest and fastest-growing franchisors and operators of fitness centers in the U.S., has teamed up with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, the nation’s leading nonprofit bullying prevention organization, to introduce “Bullying Prevention 101” and help schools build environments defined by kindness, acceptance and inclusion. This new, free-to-download educational resource is designed to equip teachers, counselors and other educators with tools to empower students to prevent bullying and stand up for kindness during National Bullying Prevention Month (October) and beyond.

The partnership is an extension of Planet Fitness’ Judgement Free Generation┬« philanthropic initiative, which aims to prevent bullying and promote kindness everywhere. In addition to helping provide resources for educators on the effects of bullying, a major goal of this partnership with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is to demonstrate how students can play a role in creating a more positive atmosphere at school, in the community and online, ultimately helping them improve and shape “judgement free” communities for generations to come.

Planet Fitness and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center developed “Bullying Prevention 101,” a resource designed to be a one-stop shop for classrooms, student groups and parents that may face bullying behavior, as well as for those hoping to get ahead of these issues before they start. The material is available for elementary, middle and high school students and can be adapted to fit different educators’ needs, with free-to-download resources including PowerPoint presentations, student handouts, group activities and more. Students will be provided with a deeper understanding of bullying, learn the power of their actions and identify how to help address and prevent acts of bullying. The materials also include resources for parents to better communicate with their children, empowering them to be an active participant in their child’s developmental journey. Such tips include:

  • If your child is being bullied, listen to them without judgement, reassure that you are there for them and start by discussing ideas on how they want to take control of the situation.
  • If your child witnesses bullying, share how they can make a positive impact on others by being kind to peers experiencing bullying and help them understand that reporting an incident to an adult is not tattling and is often an important step to stopping the bullying.
  • If your child is bullying, recognize that children bully for a variety of reasons and that bullying is about behavior, which can be changed by outlining your expectations and providing them with direction on how they could have handled the situation in a more positive manner.

“When you walk into a Planet Fitness, you enter what we affectionately refer to as the Judgement Free Zone. We want today’s youth to experience those same feelings of acceptance and belonging day-in and day-out, whether they’re at school, in their community or anywhere in between. That’s what the Judgement Free Generation is all about; that’s the world we’re hoping to create,” said Chris Rondeau, Planet Fitness’ Chief Executive Officer. “We’re so thankful to partner with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to truly make a difference throughout the country, as there is so much potential to spread a bit more kindness and help positively shape the futures of today’s youth.”

“We are thrilled to work with Planet Fitness in developing these resources and getting them into the hands of educators everywhere,” said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “These resources will be both useful and relevant for years to come as they address how youth can feel empowered and involved in spreading kindness in their school, community and online.”

The joint effort to counter the effects of bullying is more important this year than any other as, based on the results of a national study* commissioned by Planet Fitness, a staggering 56% of Americans believe Americans are less kind than just one year ago. Working to improve the everyday school experience is a key priority for Planet Fitness and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center as 47% of Americans feel bullying is more common today than when they were in school. In fact, only 4% of adults today feel children are nicer now than when they were kids themselves.

Pertaining to the effects of bullying specifically, the survey uncovered a number of other concerning insights:

  • Too Many Have Suffered. Close to half say they’ve personally been bullied (45 percent) or know someone who has been bullied (44%).
  • Kids Aren’t Opening Up. Nearly one-quarter (24%) of parents admit their child has been the victim of bullying, and only eight percent have children that talk to them regularly about it.
  • Biggest Fear Among Parents. 47% confess that one of their greatest fears is that their child will be bullied, which is more than those parents who say their greatest fears are other big issues, such as their child talking to strangers on the internet (34%), becoming overweight (21%) or even struggling with their sexuality (12%).
  • More Action is Needed. 76% of Americans believe that society is simply not doing enough to address the bullying problem.

Conversely, 99% of Americans say they try to do things that help spread kindness on a regular basis. The most popular actions people take to spread kindness include:

  • Smiling (74%);
  • Being appreciative (73%);
  • Paying a compliment (71%);
  • Doing a good deed (67%);
  • Teaching kids the importance of kindness (66%); and
  • Not judging others (54%).

Also, more than one-third (39%) of Americans have stood up to a bully before, with more millennials claiming to have stood up to a bully than older generations (42% vs. 37%).

Planet Fitness’ work with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center complements the organization’s continued partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of America, also centered on bullying prevention. In September, Planet Fitness hosted a fundraiser across all of its U.S. clubs, inviting new and existing members to donate to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. As a result, Planet Fitness members, franchisees and partners raised $1 million. Since 2016, Planet Fitness has donated more than $4 million to Boys & Girls Clubs of America. Funds raised support Judgement Free Generation programs, such as bullying prevention trainings for Boys & Girls Club professionals and teen leaders, as well as scholarships for club youth who promote kindness and acceptance in their communities.

“It’s critically important that our Club members feel emotionally safe when they walk through the doors of our Clubs. The support shown by Planet Fitness will help us continue to place an emphasis on emotional learning and shape a culture of kindness and inclusion for our members and those they impact,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of America President and CEO Jim Clark.

To download “Bullying Prevention 101” resources from Planet Fitness and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and learn how you can start spreading kindness and stand up to bullying, please visit PACER.org/planetfitness.

*Online survey conducted by Kelton Global to 2,004 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over, with a margin of error of +/- 2.2%.

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