WAXAHACHIE – October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and HEB is influencing young students by traveling to Texas schools to present its HEB Buddy League Academy Show.

HEB representatives made their appearance at Marvin Elementary on Tuesday, Oct. 31 to teach students through song and animation how to identify bullying behaviors, ways to stand up to bullies and how to promote unity.

Marvin is one of 26 elementary schools in the state to go through the anti-bully curriculum this month.

The students went through demonstrations in order to earn their five stars before onboarding as members of the HEB Buddy League Academy. Those stars represented respect, knowledge, trust, bravery, and unity.

The interactive presentation gave examples of young people and scenarios in which the students could relate. The program is also based on the foundation of diversity and inclusion.

Animated members of the academy shared with the students they will need, “To spread kindness, to include people who are left out, show respect to everyone, even those who are different than us, help those in need and stand up for others.”

Students also learned about the multiple forms of bullying. To make sure their behaviors aren’t subjective to bullying, students were taught to ask themselves two questions: Did my words or actions hurt the person’s body or feelings? Did I do this intentionally?

Once the students received all five stars, they took an oath: “I, (name), promise to do my very best at including others, being kind to everyone, helping those in need and standing up to bullying. Be a buddy, not a bully.”

The academy focused on the different types of bullying, trusting adults who can lend a helping hand and that the students are brave and strong. The academy has students say the phrase “soy Valiente, soy Fuerte” to remind them they are brave and strong.

Midori Wolfe, a Marvin Elementary student, shared that she’s been bullied while at school and that if it were to ever happen again, she knows to inform a trusted adult.

“Next time they do that I’m going to tell the teacher," she explained.

Wolfe agreed that the presentation would help her get through tough times and help impact the students surrounding her.

“We always come together and be friends, but there was just that one time when they wanted to be mean to me. I know somebody else is going through that, but I feel like I’m by myself. I’ll let them be my friends — I’m not mad about it, but sometimes I just feel like I’m by myself,” Wolfe explained.

HEBuddy and HEB partners will visit 300 elementary schools to engage students in a variety of anti-bullying activities and conversations, reinforcing the message, “Be a buddy, not a bully.”

The program doesn’t end with the performance. Instead, teachers receive an HEB Buddy League Kit filled with materials to continue the dialogue of kindness and inclusion.

Students are also eligible to be nominated for the HEB Buddy League Student Advocate Award, which recognizes children who demonstrate acts of kindness, respect, courage, and inclusion.

HEB’s diversity and inclusion manager, Sonia Quirino Canales said, “As a passionate supporter of education, HEB understands that children learn best when they have safe learning environments. Last year, more than 25,000 Texas elementary students participated in the HEB Buddy League, and we hope to reach even more children this year.”