Stephanie has been using the power of music to deliver positive messages to our youth through school assemblies. Her 40 minute assembly consists of songs, stories, visuals, and student-participation. Stephanie takes an in-depth look at the four traits of a healthy school; a place where everyone feels accepted, appreciated, acknowledged, and cared for, what these traits mean, and how students can implement them.
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A recent article from Father Gregory Hickey of St. Gabriel's Parish and Stephanie Grace:
PREFLECTIONS FROM THE DESK OF FR. GREGORY J. HICKEY: School has started and many children were happy to go back and be with their friends, meet new teachers, and to chat about all their experiences over the summer. Schools should and must be safe havens for our children. Principals, teachers, and counselors try their best to make sure that happens. However for some of our children, especially if they feel bullied by their peers, schools can be the worse places for them. Children come up with many excuses why they do not wantto go to school, including fear and sickness. It’s a parents’ nightmare to see a child bullied. If this happens, go to a teacher or counselor or meet with the principal to address the situation head on. Pope Francis recently stated that “Bullying is the devil’s work.” “What is within us that pushes us to mock and mistreat others weaker than we are?” Pope Francis asked. He questions why children or adults ridicule others to make themselves feel better at the expense ofsomeone else. “Today we see it constantly in our schools, on the road with road rage, with gun violence across the globe. The phenomenon of bullying is attacking the weak because you are too fat or too thin, you are a foreigner or because you don’t look like what I perceive you to be. This means there is something within us that makes us act aggressively toward the weak.” (Homily l/8/18 at morning Mass in Rome.) We are so fortunate that many of our young people are taking a stand against this injustice toward our young people. We have a wonderful role model in our own parish community. Some of you have heard her speak and many know of her music. Her name is Stephanie Grace and she just doesn’t talk about it, she spends her life through her music tackling this issue. Some people say: “The youth is the church oftomorrow.” I disagree, the youth is the church oftoday. Below is a statement from Stephanie after I discussed this issue with her. She is a wonderful young woman, who is also faith based and has a strong faith and comes from a strong and loving family. “As a singer and songwriter, I believe music is a powerful tool to spread a message and/or raise awareness. I remember being in school and witnessing everyday how some kids are treated...it broke my heart and it made me so frustrated. But instead of just reacting to it, I wanted to do something about it. So I started conducting anti-bullying assemblies, using my voice to take a stand and SPEAK UP. I write songs about finding yourself, embracing your flaws and embracing what make you different; I realized I could easily tie these songs and their messages into a 40 minute assembly. So, since 2013 I have visited many different elementary, middle, and high schools throughout the state of Pennsylvania. I talk about what makes a school a ‘healthy’ school; mentally healthy that is...a topic I think people don’t want to talk about sometimes until it’s too late. But I believe in bringing everything to the surface; tackling it head on. Bullying and depression are real. Kids fight these wars every day. And when we all come together to build a positive environment, it can truly make a difference. I don’t expect to change the world by doing a 40 minute assembly. But I hope that at least one child is inspired by what I’m saying. I’ve been blessed to keep in touch with a lot of the kids I meet at these schools and their feedback could not be more rewarding. Hearing things like ‘you inspired me to take a stand for myself and other classmates who are picked on’ or‘your assembly reminded me to watch how I treat people’ Hearing these words from the kids themselves makes me feel like I’m doing SOMETHING. Sometimes it’s just about teaching young people to be confident. How we treat others starts from within. If we’re not feeling good about ourselves, that shines through in the way we treat others. So by speaking at these schools, I hope to raise that awareness. I hope to inspire our youth to have faith, to have confidence, and to be the positive in someone else’s day. ‘Cause a little positive can go a long way.’”