Students used tie-dye, paint, embroidery, sewing, fabric fusion and drawing to turn swatches of fabric into a one-of-a-kind stance against bullying.
“To make a friend, be a friend,” proclaims the Audubon Charter School quilt, led by Coach Elise Vandergriff.
Students from throughout the greater New Orleans area united in the creative anti-bullying initiative sponsored for the second year by the New Orleans chapter of The Links. The Second Annual Anti-Bullying Quilt Initiative is on display through Sept. 11 in the main corridor of City Hall at 1300 Perdido St.
The Links chapter invited all public, private and parochial schools in the New Orleans area to participate in taking the artistic stand against bullying. This year’s theme, “Bullying and Trash Talking: It’s No Joke” invited students to share their thoughts, fears and concerns in hopes of generating resolutions to ultimately put a stop to the behavior.
“We asked ourselves, ‘What can we do in the arts that also addresses anti-bullying,’” the Links’ Janet Roberts said. “This city is so full of art and music and dance, we decided to do something uniquely different and make a quilt.”
Einstein Charter, under coach Ragan Grillier, created “Kindness Changes Everything;” Audubon Charter School created “Bullying and Trash-Talking, It’s No Joke” with coach Elise Vandergriff; under coach Carol Miller, Milestone SABIS Academy, which also participated last year, challenged students to “Rise Against Bullying;” and Bethune Elementary created “If You Really Knew Me” under coach Linda Villavasso.
More than 3,000 people pass through the corridor weekly, according to the Mayor’s remarks at the unveiling, and Roberts is confident the display will prompt more schools to participate as the annual event grows.
“One day, it will be the length of the city with all the schools participating,” Roberts said.
Roberts said the children who participated shared with her their excitement for the project. “When children are given a chance to voice their opinion,” Roberts said, “they let you know immediately what they don’t like. Bullying is one of those topics.”
Sometimes, Roberts said, the work on the project alerts kids to negative behavior that they are displaying, and gives them the insight to self-correct.
“It is our responsibility as humans to help and teach one another to do right and show love,” said Einstein Charter coach Willis. “Even even in trying circumstances. What the world needs is love.”
The quilts will be on display at City Hall until September, and then they will rotate the display to the schools which participated.
The Links is an international, women’s nonprofit, social welfare and service organization with more than 12,000 members in 270 chapters nationwide and the Bahamas. Members develop and implement programs that target issues affecting its members and communities. For information, visit www.linksinc.org.