Weekly Feature

2016-05-12 / Lifestyles

Have you filled your bucket today?

Interactive event encourages anti-bullying and positivity in schools
by EMILY FARACCA
Reporter


The cast gathers on stage at the conclusion of the “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” program. Typically, a “talk-back” session follows the program in which students can interact with the characters, and teachers and administrators are given materials to go over with students. The cast gathers on stage at the conclusion of the “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” program. Typically, a “talk-back” session follows the program in which students can interact with the characters, and teachers and administrators are given materials to go over with students. On May 14, Canisius College will host a program that advocates for a positive social climate in schools throughout Western New York and beyond. The program is a theatrical adaptation of the book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today? A Guide to Daily Happiness for Kids” by Carol McCloud. The children’s book presents the idea that when you believe in yourself, your “bucket” is full.

The interactive program, titled “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” written by Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead, is just one creative facet of Peaceful Schools, according to the artistic director of Peaceful Schools, Shawn Forster.


Max Anderson, left, who plays Trey, and Dani Ryan, portraying Bucket Filling Fairy, embrace their roles advocating for anti-bullying in schools in one of the 70 performances that have taken place since 2013. Max Anderson, left, who plays Trey, and Dani Ryan, portraying Bucket Filling Fairy, embrace their roles advocating for anti-bullying in schools in one of the 70 performances that have taken place since 2013. “The play is the artistic side of the company,” said Forster, who was an original cast member when the play was conceived in 2013.

Since then, performances at over 70 schools in New York have taken place, and it has progressed in impact and velocity, said Forster.

The play tells the story of Trey, a fourth-grade student who learns about bucket filling at summer camp. Along the way he is helped by Mark, the camp counselor; Professor Smarty Pants III; and Bucket Filling Fairy.

“I love to be able to see how far it has come and how many children it has impacted,” said Forster. “Kids really connect to the characters and concept.”

The program encourages student participation and typically includes pre-show and follow-up materials for teachers and school administrators.

The message of the play is simple, said Joanna Thompson, WNY regional coordinator of Peaceful Schools.

“We have a responsibility to fill each other’s buckets,” she said. “We can fill each other’s buckets with kindness, but we empty each other’s buckets with negativity and bullying.”

Thompson, formerly an elementary teacher, noted that while the play is marketed to children, it can support adult teachers and staff members in how they address conflict in children’s terms.

“I would have loved for my students to see this show,” she said. “It would have changed how I reacted with my students.”

Forster noted a memorable show in which a student who had not been verbal for over a year was in attendance.

During the talk-back portion of the program, the student yelled, “Bucket filling!” at the top of his lungs to the pleasant surprise of his fellow classmates and teachers, recalled Forster.

“We don’t always get to see the immediate reaction or the lasting impact that the show has, but it’s so rewarding when we get a glimpse of it,” Thompson said.

Thompson recalled walking past a schoolyard playground following a presentation one day and hearing the students singing one of the songs from the play, “The Bucket Filling Song.”

“No one prompted them; it was so nice to see,” said Thompson.

The local presentation of the program will take place at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, May 14, at Marie Maday Theater at Lyons Hall at Canisius College, 2064 Main St., Buffalo.

Tickets are available for presale purchase. The cost is $12 for adults and $8 for children younger than 12.

A portion of the proceeds will be given to Children and Adolescent Treatment Services, a community outreach that seeks to reduce emotional suffering and the impact of psychological trauma through psychiatric services, counseling and community-based programs.

Those attending the program will have an opportunity to meet author Carol McCloud, receive a copy of the book and have their picture taken with the Bucket Filling Fairy.

For more information about the event, Peaceful Schools, or to purchase tickets, visit www.peacefulschools.com.

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