The "Peter" in Peter, Paul and Mary is singing a new song about compassion and the words are aimed at young people.
Peter Yarrow debuted at a social event in Routt County Saturday a program he created called "Don't Laugh at Me." Yarrow presented his ideas for the anti-bullying program to a group of Colorado Olympians at the new Lake Catamount Ranch and Club south of Steamboat Springs. The program offers teachers workbooks and videotapes, as well as a CD of the song "Don't Laugh at Me," recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary.
Hank Kashiwa, president of the U.S. Olympians Colorado Chapter, has talked with Yarrow about the program for several years now. Even before the tragedy at Columbine, Yarrow had recognized bullying and ridicule in schools was a nationwide epidemic. His hope in presenting the program at the annual meeting of the U.S. Olympians Colorado Chapter was to recruit prominent volunteers to take his message to school children.
Yarrow was successful. The members of the chapter unanimously decided to support his program.
"Basically, the Olympians will supplement what the teachers are doing with the teaching package and tell kids about their hardships in school, and that now they are serving as role models for these kids and support them fully" Kashiwa said.
More than 160,000 children per day in the United States stay away from school for fear of being bullied by their peers, according to the National Education Association. The "Don't Laugh at Me" program teaches tolerance and respect in the classroom and seeks to eliminate ridicule, name calling and bullying, which some studies have identified as the primary cause of violence among children.
The program includes music, and curriculum-related programs that teach tolerance, conflict resolution and respect.
"Our goal with the 'Don't Laugh at Me' program is to help create an environment for our children of safety, compassion and respect" Yarrow was quoted in a prepared statement. "These Olympians are true American heroes and we're hoping that they will serve as role models as we introduce the program to schools in Colorado. One by one, their presence can greatly impact each child."
Kashiwa agrees and fully supports the program.
"'Don't Laugh at Me' is a priceless program which embodies the mission of the Colorado Olympians and we're hoping it becomes a focal point for our group" Kashiwa was quoted in a prepared statement. "The participation and support of 'Don't Laugh at Me' by our athletes could play a significant role in reducing ridicule in our schools, thereby encouraging the reduction of youth violence."
To reach Joleen Fuller call 871-4229