The following is an interview from the Cinnaminson, New Jersey branch of Patch featuring Joe Vallee and Shirley Vallee from Rainbow Rabbit Educational Services Corp. During National Bullying Prevention Month, Patch is looking at society’s roles and responsibilities in bullying as part of a national reporting project.
By Anthony Bellano
Joe Vallee and his mother, Shirley, hope bullied children can find a bright future in the form of a Rainbow Rabbit. Rainbow Rabbit was created by Joe’s grandfather, Arthur, a former animator with Disney. The story focuses on a rabbit that no one wants to bother with because he looks different.
Trying desperately to fit in, the rabbit paints himself. When the paint wears off, though, he’s the same rabbit. That’s when he realizes he’s unique, and that being unique is special.
Arthur Vallee created this character decades after he left the animation business. Before he died in 2010, Arthur said he wanted as many young people as possible to be exposed to this character that was based on acceptance, unity, inclusion, diversity and kindness.
“My grandfather wanted children to feel like they are not alone,” Joe Vallee said. “He wanted everyone to be accepted and for kids to be kind to one another. He wanted kids to know that everyone’s unique, and that’s what makes us special.”
His wish is coming to fruition
The Rainbow Rabbit Anti-Bullying Program is available in schools throughout South Jersey. With the help of teachers, specialists, psychologists and counselors, the program is now in school districts in Atlantic, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Ocean and Salem counties in New Jersey, and Delaware County in Pennsylvania.
It even reaches special needs children in South Dakota, and at the Durand Academy in Woodbury. And the Vallees are looking for more. They’ve presented the program to Gov. Phil Murphy, whose office is reviewing it.
They’d like to be able to use grants to offer the $1,500 program to school districts for free, and get large corporations to take a stand against bullying.
“No one’s really doing it right now,” Shirley Vallee said. “We’d like for more people to join us so we can literally give this to anyone who can use it.”
You can read the rest of the article feauturing Rainbow Rabbit and bullying prevention, click here.
Rainbow Rabbit Educational Services Corp. is an IRS-registered 501(c) non-profit organization (Federal Tax ID: 82-1643193).
For more information about Rainbow Rabbit, please visit the website https://therainbowrabbit.com/