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Starfish Really Changes Lives!

The Awards
But don't just take our word for it. Anything that works benefits students, teachers, schools and entire communities like Starfish does, will be recognized, and here are some of the awards and recognition Starfish has received.

In the 2001 - 2002 school year, Butler Junior High won the state award for School Improvement. The change has been a wonderful thing to see. This is extremely satisfying because it is not just the teachers improving, but the students themselves are changing their attitudes. The Starfish students are impacting their peers!

Penns Manor Elementary School is another Starfish success story that was recognized by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. It won an award for one of the best elementary programs in the entire state.

It's not the awards that are important, but rather the change in students and teachers that the awards recognize. Starfish is making a change in students and teachers, one life at a time.

The Kids' Stories
These are just three of the starfish kids who have washed up on my shore and related the putdown message that has become almost my life so to speak. I could tell page after page of stories from the 100,000 children I have worked with the last twelve years as I travel throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio with the putdown free message. The stories are not just about children, but could be told about the adult world that is so adversely affected by this epidemic of negative energy that has infested all age groups and areas of our society. We can impact this problem one person-child-family-school-community-job site at a time, because it truly does matter "one starfish at a time"!

A very shy, lonely girl entered my classroom several years ago having failed almost every class in fifth grade. She was almost retained, but the principal thought she might profit form my no putdown room environment. It was ironic that we had really neglected to help this girl who had been a putdown target for her first five years in school. Yet, we all know that often a child's last name, housing, social-economic level, and other unfair associations many times determine how a child is defended or offended in a school, especially a smaller populated school.

She came into the room with her head down and silently seated herself in the last seat, in the last row, trying to distance herself form her tormentors. She had no reason to think that this year would be any different than any other, and why would I help her anymore this year than in the past....

Click here to read the rest of her story.

This young girl entered my life five year ago as a former sixth grade student who was now in eighth grade and was suicidal. Her life had unraveled because of verbal and physical abuse by a brother and stepfather, as well as a speech impediment that was becoming a putdown issue. I was called in because of my putdown free work in the district and the fact that I was one of the few teachers that she trusted.

We worked with her very intently, hooking her up with the high school CORE Team and its very caring coordinator, as well as getting her a Big Sister from the senior high peer leadership program....

Click here to read the rest of her story.

The last story involves a brother and sister whose mother was murdered by the live in boyfriend in a fit of jealous rage on the street of one of our local towns. Of course, alcohol was a very real contributor to this tragedy, as is the case in so many cases of children at risk. It may the number one contributor to putdown related problems in our society. We found out that because of the mother's alcohol and other drug related problem, the girl had been the main caregiver in the home for the past four years, meaning she took over those duties at age 11. She did it all, but obviously didn't tell anyone of this dysfunctional home situation, and amazingly was a very excellent student....

Click here to read the rest of her story.