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Anti-bullying Relentless Tour to visit Sterling Heights
Lansing - The Michigan Department of Civil Rights today announced the Relentless Tour – a first-of-its-kind anti-bullying initiative − will visit Sterling Heights on Friday, November 4.
     Motivational speaker Anthony Ianni, a member of Michigan State University’s 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams and the 2010 Final Four team, will speak to students and faculty at Schwarzkoff Elementary School, 8401 Constitution Boulevard, at 1:30 pm.
     Ianni was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4 and was the victim of bullying as a child. He graduated from Michigan State University and became the first known individual with autism to play Division I college basketball. Under legendary MSU coach Tom Izzo, Ianni played with the 2010 and 2012 Big Ten Champion and Tournament Championship teams, and the 2010 Final Four team. He has won a number of awards including MSU’s Tim Bograkos Walk-On Award, the 2012 MSU Unsung Player Award, and was named a 2013 Detroit Pistons Community Game Changer Finalist.
     Through the Relentless Tour, Ianni, the Michigan Department of Civil Rights and the Autism Alliance of Michigan seek to raise awareness of autism and the problem of bullying. Students with autism are frequently targeted by bullies, with an estimated 65-90% of individuals with autism having been victims of bullying at some point in their lives.
     Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley joined Ianni at the State Capitol on October 17, 2013 to kick off the Relentless Tour and announce the tour’s mission of reaching 659 schools statewide with their anti-bullying message.
     “Jobs and kids are the top two priorities for Gov. Snyder and his administration,” said Lt. Governor Calley. “The governor and I strongly believe that every student in Michigan schools is entitled to a safe educational environment. We supported comprehensive legislation that requires each Michigan school to have an anti-bullying policy and the Governor signed that bill into law in 2011. The law makes it clear that bullying is wrong in all its forms and won’t be tolerated in Michigan schools. No child should feel intimidated or afraid to come to school.”
     In addition to Lt. Governor Calley and MSU Basketball Coach Tom Izzo, the Relentless Tour has generated the support of Detroit Red Wing Niklas Kronwall and former Detroit Lion Nate Burleson, all of whom are working to spread the anti-bullying message.
     “Bullying is something we must put an end to, not only in Michigan but across the country,” said Ianni. “Everyone is affected by bullying in some way and students with autism are at incredibly high risk to be victimized. Our hope is that through my story and spreading our message we can not only inspire kids to take a stand against bullying but also make bullies rethink their actions.”
     To learn more, or to request a speaking engagement with Ianni, visit http://relentlesstour.com/.  
Kidz Times
Fun Ways to Help Kids Succeed in the Classroom

(StatePoint) Keeping up in the classroom can be a challenge for students of all ages and family backgrounds. But parents can help, say experts.
     “You may feel there isn't enough time to add more activities to an already packed schedule. But, there are many easy ways you can foster literacy skills at home,” says Jon Reigelman, creative director of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL).
     Reigelman suggests seeking out free resources, such as Camp Wonderopolis, a virtual camp and online learning tool available to all families, libraries, schools, and community organizations. It can be a great weekend or after-school activity for busy families that can be completed at any pace. The site features “Maker” projects that can be created with items found around the house, and virtual, collectible Wonder Cards that can be earned by interacting with the site.
     Getting kids into an out-of-classroom learning habit now will set them up for future success. (Looking ahead to next summer, the program is also a great tool for combatting the learning loss common during vacations!) To register, visit camp.wonderopolis.org.
     For younger kids, NCFL offers these great tips for families.
• Choose a letter of the day. Look for the chosen letter in any printed materials you see -- the newspaper, street signs, billboards, or advertisements. Make up a silly sentence using only words beginning with the letter of the day. (For example: Cats can cuddle. Dogs don’t drive. Amy always acts awake.)
• Singing songs can be a literacy activity. Try this twist: Sing short songs like “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” several times, leaving off the last word each time until there are no words left. This activity always produces giggles from children and parents alike.
• Play “Guess Who.” Describe a cartoon character, celebrity or historical figure. Allow a guess after each detail is disclosed. Expand your child’s vocabulary by using unusual words, and then explain their meanings. Take turns. Listen carefully to your child’s descriptions, especially his or her choice of vocabulary. Encourage your child to paint a picture of the character with his or her words. At the end of the game, compliment your child on any unusual or new words used.
• Talk to your child about his or her day. Pretend to be a television reporter. Try questions like “what was the most surprising (curious, funny, eventful) thing that happened today?” You are giving your child opportunities to increase vocabulary, recall and reflect, and you are receiving a more detailed version of the time you spent apart. Be prepared to answer the same questions. You and your child will begin looking for events to report to each other.
     Help kids keep their heads above water on their lessons by boosting literacy skills at home .