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This story first appeared in the Aug. 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Bullying doesn’t discriminate. It impacts kids no matter who their parents are or what they do for a living — cops, firemen, politicians, even the heads of major film studios. “I’m the mother of two teenage daughters, and I’ve lived through it firsthand,” says DreamWorks CEO and co-chairman Stacey Snider. “Rivalries and antagonisms are posted on the Internet and commented on. Texting is another huge problem.”
Snider, 53, decided to get involved by fundraising — she’s helped collect $1.8 million so far, thanks to a charity screening of the Breaking Bad series finale last September — for the Kind Campaign, an L.A.-based anti-bullying organization. Founded in 2009 by former Pepperdine classmates Lauren Paul (wife of actor Aaron Paul, whom Snider knew from producing Need for Speed) and Molly Thompson — both are 27 and were bullied in school — its mission is to help prevent other kids from suffering what they went through as teenagers by holding anti-bullying rallies at schools nationwide. Which is how they encountered Rachael Webb, a 10th grader in Phoenix.
“When we walked in, we noticed Rachael sitting by herself in a sea of 500 girls,” says Paul. “She sat there with so much pain on her face, staring down at her feet. You could tell she felt invisible.” Like most Kind Campaign rallies, this one included Kind Cards, Kind Apologies and Kind Pledges, where kids come up onstage and share their experiences. “Rachael was the first girl to share,” says Paul. “She held the mic and shared that she is ignored every day at school. With a broken voice, she asked for help.”
Webb got it, with many girls passing written Kind Apologies her way. Webb says that “things are much better” since the Kind Campaign rally at her school, “now that [kids] realize what they were doing was wrong.”
Go here to find out more about Kind Campaign and make a donation.
Aug. 14, 10:56 a.m. A previous version of this story incorrectly specified that the bullying occurred in high school. THR regrets the error.
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