The Mall at Wellington Green, in conjunction with Stomp Out Bullying and iHeartMedia, will host a Stomp Out Bullying kickoff event Saturday, Aug. 15, and a block party two weeks later, on Saturday, Aug. 29 in the mall’s grand court. Both events will take place from 1 to 3 p.m.
Rachelle Crain, marketing director for the Mall at Wellington Green, said that Carmine Gialanella from Wild 95.5 will serve as master of ceremonies, joined by Stomp Out Bullying’s Teen Ambassador Brandon Schloss.
“The purpose of the kickoff is to talk about Stomp Out Bullying,” Crain said, explaining that anyone 13 or older is invited to upload a video to Instagram talking about bullying, how they feel about bullying or how they might be able to make an impact to stop bullying.
Teens who enter a video, she said, will be eligible for a concert 4-pack from iHeartRadio.
“We hope that we’re going to have a lot of our local community coming out to share their personal feelings about bullying,” Crain said. “Maybe about how it has impacted them, maybe something that they’ve done to stop bullying or cyber-bullying. It gives them a platform to express themselves in a very positive way.”
Children will be able to meet and talk with Schloss, who’s an advocate for bullying prevention and awareness.
“I’m very excited for these events coming up,” he said. “I think there’s going to be a great turnout, and I’m looking forward to it. I think it will make people think differently and have a great effect.”
Crain and Schloss both anticipate a large turnout, in part because of the topic and because of the timing — the kickoff overlaps with the end of Florida’s sales-tax holiday, this year occurring from Aug. 7 to 16. School resumes Aug. 17.
“I believe that them coming to these events will make a big difference because it gets the word out; people see it,” Schloss said. “People will be less likely to bully a person when they see that there are people willing to back that person up.”
Schloss, 15, an incoming sophomore at Wellington High School, has considered giving teens a voice in the fight against bullying for a long time. By becoming a Stomp Out Bullying Teen Ambassador, he is able to spread the anti-bullying message through schools, social media, malls and other special events.
“I was always an advocate speaking out against bullying, and I spoke at elementary schools prior to that,” he said. “Once I found out about this organization, I thought it would be a great opportunity… to spread the word more and help a great cause.”
The mall’s first event, the kickoff, will feature the mall’s four department stores — Dillard’s, JCPenney, Macy’s and Nordstrom — previewing back-to-school fashions and trends. In addition, the department stores will have makeup consultants and mannequins featuring back-to-school fashions. Stylists from Regis Salons will be providing consultations.
“Anybody who would like to register to win a ‘Love Your Look Style Session’ can register on Aug. 15,” Crain said. “We’ll select four candidates — one for each of our department stores — and they will work with their stylists, their makeup consultants and Regis Salons to create a ‘Love Your Look’ style for back to school. On Aug. 29, we’ll unveil the four candidates.”
Anyone 13 and older is eligible. Each department store will select a candidate through a random drawing at 3 p.m.
“Teens are very much a part of our mall and our neighborhood, and bullying is a real issue for them. We hope by doing these events, we will make a difference in our community,” Crain said. “Anything we can do to raise awareness about this bullying trend, and giving young people the tools that they need to stand up for themselves, to be comfortable with themselves, and to build their own personal self-esteem, that’s a good thing that we can do within our communities.”
Crain is excited to be part of these events because of the important information that Stomp Out Bullying shares. “It’s an important message, and it certainly resonates across every age and demographic,” she said.
Stomp Out Bullying provides tools to help kids cope and overcome bullying.
“It’s something that, as a community and a society, we have to take care of,” Schloss said. “Many people experience bullying, whether they’re not personally being bullied, or they know a friend who knows a friend who is being bullied. Bullying is a global issue that needs to be taken care of.”
Gialanella and Schloss will both be at the block party, along with a DJ and other special events and activities Aug. 29.
The mall will invite teens to sign an anti-bullying pledge, and they’ll receive a free bracelet when signing the pledge. Additionally, they will be registered to win a mall gift card.
“Stomp Out Bullying is the country’s leading bullying and cyber-bullying prevention organization for kids and teens,” Schloss said. “It really does a great job at working to reduce and prevent bullying in schools and online.”
The organization, founded in 2005, also focuses on reducing and preventing sexting, digital abuse, homophobia, racism and hatred, in addition to working to decrease school absenteeism while deterring violence.
“It’s a great organization and has so many things to it,” Schloss said. “It has help chat lines and really educates people on the issue.”
For more information about Stomp Out Bullying, visit www.stompoutbullying.org. To learn more about the kickoff and block party events, call the Mall at Wellington Green at (561) 227-6900.