• Jason Feldman

Stuffed Animals Stop Bullying

When RESPECT first began, many people didn’t think bullying or teen dating violence was a problem – at least, not here in Nebraska. Now, more than 18 years later, it is clear that both are serious problems, but fortunately they are problems that come with solutions.

For nearly two decades they have helped give children, teens, college students and adults throughout Nebraska and Iowa the skills they need to prevent and to stop bullying and other forms of abuse in relationships. Through the use of interactive educational theatre programs specifically developed to convey the information, skills, practice and resources their audiences need to help themselves and help their peers, they enhance their participants’ abilities to be safe and healthy in a wide array of challenging relationships and situations.

RESPECT’s programs cover the prevention of abusive relationship dynamics found in bullying, child abuse, dating/intimate partner violence, relational aggression, cyber bullying and sexual harassment through observing interactions on stage.  Participants not only learn through the work of our professional actor-educators but also as their peers engage and “try out” different solutions to problems on stage. 

For the past few weeks Live402 had an opportunity to meet Founder Patricia Newman to learn more about their programs K to 3rd graders called Puppy Pals, Stop & Think and Fun & Games.

This programs focus on identifying emotions, respecting diversity, and treating others kindly.  Students will learn how to make friends and how to “stop and think.” Pending availability, students will receive a stuffed animal to practice the behaviors learned.

These programs are offered in alternating years. These programs focus on the identification of many bullying behaviors and prevention techniques.  Participants will learn through the use of stuffed animals as about the importance of positive bystanders and how a person can become empowered if they “stop and think” before acting impulsively.  Both programs include interactive scenes, and students are encouraged to participate in role-play activities, respond respectively to bullying behaviors as the target or bystander, and realize what is “fun and games” for one person may be painful for another.

The Live402 team thought this was such an awesome program we asked how we could help! Turns out they go through tons of stuffed animals each year so we thought we would help by organizing a Toy Drive for RESPECT!

While our office was filled for the past month and a half we these little furry fellas, our hearts were filled by so many of you who contributed to this overflowing load of toys that are directly changing the lives of our community's youth. THANK YOU!

Do you have a recommendation on an organization we should rally support for or highlight at a Live402 Happy Hour? Contact us in the Community Service section of our website at To learn more about RESPECT, visit

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