To highlight National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month this October, H-E-B is challenging second-grade students across Texas to be “Crusaders for Kindness” by joining the H-E-B Buddy League.

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Inspired by H-E-B’s commitment to diversity and inclusion, the H-E-B Buddy League promotes and inspires kindness and respect over negative behaviors such as teasing, exclusion and other forms of bullying.

In recent years, bullying has become a widespread issue, often leading to negative physical, social and mental health issues in children. *According to Stopbullying.gov, children who are bullied are more likely to experience depression, anxiety, and feelings of sadness and loneliness. In addition, children who are bullied are more likely to experiencedecreased academic achievement and school participation and as a result, are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.

“As a passionate supporter of education, H-E-B understands that children learn best when they have great days at school,” said Sonia Quirino Canales, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, H-E-B. “To further our commitment to the community and to diversity, H-E-B is launching the H-E-B Buddy League to help create a safe learning environment that will positively impact Texas students.”

Throughout October, H-E-Buddy and Partners on H-E-B’s Diversity Leadership Council will visit second-grade classrooms throughout the state to engage students in a variety of activities and conversations that reinforce the message of “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully.” Children will explore ways to respond if they are bullied and how to be an advocate for kindness, respect and inclusion. Teachers will receive an H-E-B Buddy League kit filled with tools and resources to continue the dialogue of kindness and inclusion throughout the school year.

If the school does not have a scheduled visit, second-grade teachers can order the H-E-B Buddy League Kit for free online, while supplies last at www.heb.com/league.

The H-E-B Buddy League Kit is filled with the following tools:

  • A pamphlet explaining what the H-E-B Buddy League is, how to get involved, and information on the H-E-B Buddy League Student Advocate Award.
  • A dry-erase board that teachers can use throughout the school year in their classrooms to promote a positive act or recognize a student who exhibits positive behaviors.
  • H-E-B Buddy League stickers that teachers can use as an incentive for positive behaviors.
  • Master copies of coloring sheets that are themed around positive behaviors.
  • Five colorful posters that can be placed in the classroom or other high-traffic areas, such as a hallway or cafeteria, with positive messages.

Teachers can nominate second-grade students for the H-E-B Buddy League Student Advocate Award online at www.heb.com/league now through Feb. 28, 2017. The award recognizes second-grade students who are leaders in demonstrating acts of kindness, respect, courage and inclusion. Nominations will be reviewed by members of the H-E-B Diversity Leadership Council and community leaders. Winners will be recognized as their school’s Super Buddy and receive an H-E-B Buddy League Prize Pack at their school’s end-of-year assembly. Teachers who nominate winning students will be notified during the month of April 2017.

Parents can continue the conversation at home by reading a book to their child that reinforces positive over negative behaviors such as the children’s book Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes. The award-winning book is H-E-B’s Buddy Pick of the Month and is available from Oct. 4 through Nov. 2 at 40 percent off of the retail price.

For more information, visit www.heb.com/league  or contact H-E-B’s Diversity Department at 210-938-8757.