September 8, 2018
Author: Sam Kovzan
Sporting Kansas City and Children’s Mercy have partnered to launch the anti-bullying initiative Red Card: Call It When You See It. The program will unite local communities in taking a stance to end bullying, one of the most significant social issues impact children and teens nationwide.
The Red Card campaign sees Sporting KC and Children’s Mercy join together to create a provocative approach to build awareness and to empower youth and adults so they can help prevent and intervene in bullying. Inspiring individuals to “call it when they see it,” the initiative uses soccer’s red card as a figurative visual tool to highlight instances of bullying in schools and other public settings while also encouraging positive behavior.
“Sporting Kansas City is proud to partner with Children’s Mercy and launch this Red Card campaign against bullying,” Sporting KC President Jake Reid said. “Through participation with middle schools and high schools across the Kansas City metro area, this program will raise awareness about bullying and help everyone prevent it from happening.”
This innovative program will reach mass audiences through community-wide messaging and through participation with area middle schools and high schools in Kansas City.
Children, parents and teachers can visit RedCardKC.com for resources designed to empower, support and raise awareness in the movement against bullying.
“Bullying prevention becomes much more effective when the entire community bands together, and now everyone participating in the Red Card program will be able to call it when they see it,” Sporting KC defender Ike Opara said. “This is a great way for kids, teachers and adults to take a stand against bullying in our schools.”
A key component of the Red Card program is helping the community understand what bullying is, how to identify it and what to do about it. The campaign complements other bullying prevention curriculum programs by engaging students, teachers and parents to build a community of people informed of anti-bullying actions.
“Students who are bullied report more physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, and mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, than other students,” said Jo Stueve, Interim CEO of Children’s Mercy. “In some cases, bullying has led to devastating consequences, such as school shootings and suicide. Our hope is that with the Red Card campaign, we can help increase awareness and inspire action within our Kansas City community to put an end to bullying.”
Sporting KC will support the Red Card long-term initiative through in-stadium activations at Children’s Mercy Park, giving away key chains, informative player cards and tip cards with anti-bullying instructions.
“This is an extremely important initiative that we are proud to be involved with and happy to support,” Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes said. “The Red Card campaign gives us the opportunity to build awareness among adults so that they can intervene when bullying occurs.”
Sporting KC will also back the campaign through robust social media promotion, video segments on match broadcasts, and integrations at youth soccer clinics, community events and school functions involving Sporting KC players. More details will be announced in the near term.
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than one out of every five children will be bullied this year nationwide. Locally, the 2016 Children’s Mercy Community Health Needs Assessment mirrors the national statistics, and reports from across the community reveal that bullying is a community-wide issue that must no longer be ignored.