Duo targets bullying with Pivik show
Heather Simmons became concerned when she heard about children being excluded by their peers on the playground at Pivik Elementary School.
Simmons, 36, of Plum heard of similar incidents on school buses. Her daughter Emily, 8, is a third-grader at Pivik. Simmons decided enough was enough and earlier this year started an anti-bullying committee within the school's PTA.
“I wanted to open the children's eyes,” said Simmons, committee chairwoman. “It's important to know about bullying.”
When Simmons got an email about the Josh & Gab Show that uses comedy, songs and dance to combat bullying, she jumped at the chance to have the duo perform at Pivik.
Josh Verbanets, a member of the rock band Meeting of Important People, and Gab Bonesso, a comedienne, put on two shows last week at Pivik Elementary.
Verbanets, 29, of Etna has special ties to Pivik. He attended the school as a youngster and graduated from Plum High School in 2001. Verbanets' family lives in the borough.
“It was one of the nicest days of my life (to be at Pivik),” Verbanets said.
Verbanets said he and Bonesso of Montour were approached by the Montour School District — Bonesso's alma mater — and asked to work with the district staff on a bullying prevention program for students.
The program at Montour was a “huge hit,” Verbanets said. The duo has taken the show on the road to more than 20 school districts.
Verbanets said he and Bonesso relate to the youngsters.
“Gab and I aren't far removed from that world and the concerns of youth,” Verbanets said. “It's different than a 70-year-old bearded guy playing guitar.”
“Our goal is to make positive behavior attractive at an early age,” Verbanets said.
In addition to the comedy, music and dancing, he and Bonesso encourage a continued dialogue with the children who may have concerns about bullying in their respective schools.
Simmons said the show costs $600. The PTA budget and individual contributions covered the fee.
Simmons sees The Josh & Gab Show as a supplement to both the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program — a bullying prevention program used worldwide — and the anti-bullying committee's work.
“Our slogan is, ‘If you see something, say something,'” Simmons said. “We try to get bystanders to stand up (and report bullying), not just the kid being bullied.”
Simmons was impressed with the show.
“It was fantastic,” Simmons said. “It got the point across, and every child paid attention. They got the audience involved.”
Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 62 townhouse units planned for Serenity Ridge senior housing complex in Plum
- Plum School District to beef up emergency training
- Plum’s former Pivik school building likely destined for wrecking ball