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From fools to friends: Take back April 1

March 26, 2012 Milwaukee, Wis. — Almost everyone associates April 1 with the pranks and hijinks that mark April Fools’ Day. But given the level of conflict and indignity young people face every day of the year, there is a grass-roots movement to reclaim the day.
The initiative has taken hold in Milwaukee, where Mayor Tom Barrett is will officially proclaim the day April Friends Day during a youth rally spearheaded by the Boys & Girls Clubs. It also serves as the launch of a broader global campaign by the Vistelar Group, known as the CURE for Indignity.

“Bullies do not deserve a day in the sun,” said Denisha Tate, vice president of programs and operations for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee.

The fools-to-friends day also gives teachers, parents and youth advocates an opportunity to spark discussions with young children and teens with questions such as:

° Is there a difference between a joke and a prank?
° What’s your definition of “harmless fun?” Would everyone agree with you?
° What does it feel like to pull a prank? Have you ever been the target of a prank?
° What happens when a prank gets out of control?
° What is a fool … and what is a friend?
° Are there different levels of friendship? (Consider your true friends, your online friends and your broader circle of acquaintances.)
° Do words like “friends” and “fools” have different meaning for you as you get older?

“Every family should be having this discussion over Sunday dinner on April 1,” said Kathy Mangold of the CURE for Indignity. This initiative is based upon the belief that indignity is the root cause of much violence — in the form of rebellion and retaliation — particularly among youth. Strengthening interpersonal and group communications skills, building personal assertiveness and engaging bystanders to take action in the face of indignity are the three-part goals of this initiative. Learn more at http://Vistelar.com/TheCure.

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Vistelar Group is a global speaking and training organization focused on addressing the spectrum of human conflict — from interpersonal discord, verbal abuse and bullying, to crisis communication, assault and physical violence. Vistelar’s clients include public safety agencies, schools, social services, hospitals, businesses and government agencies — as well as individuals wanting to enhance their emotional and physical safety, interpersonal skills and self-confidence.

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