The Halloween season is full of fun, but it’s not funny to be singled out, picked on or bullied by your peers.
Genisys Credit Union, which provides services to anyone who lives or works in the Lower Peninsula, is helping to spread that message to local students by partnering with Erebus Haunted Attraction and Olympia Entertainment’s local stage favorite Evil Dead: The Musical at the City Theatre to bring the national program Don’t Be a Monster to local middle schools in southeast Michigan. Don’t Be a Monster is an anti-bullying program that seeks to educate youth about bullying, diversity and inclusiveness while empowering them to stand up for their peers and make positive choices for themselves.
“Studies show that 28 percent of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying and that 70.6 percent of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools,” said Jackie Buchanan, President and CEO at Genisys Credit Union. “We care about the youth in our community and want to help them understand how name calling, teasing, spreading rumors, leaving people out and other actions can hurt people. We are pleased to support the efforts of Don’t Be a Monster.”
Don’t Be a Monster began in 2012 and is a joint effort between haunted houses and non-profit organizations around the country. Erebus, a four-story haunted attraction in Pontiac, is a proud participant in the program.
Anti-bullying efforts are close to the heart of Ed Terebus, co-owner of Erebus. He said he had a speech impediment, due to an accident at the age of three, up until the sixth grade and as a result was picked on, mocked and teased in school. He wants to help other students avoid the emotional turmoil he went through.
He does this by bringing the anti-bullying message of Don’t Be a Monster to local junior high and middle schools. During a 45-minute presentation, students see video clips of Frankenstein, or “Frank,” getting picked on by a 13-year-old classmate. She singles him out because he looks different. To many students, Frank initially appears to be the monster, but in the end, they see that Frank isn’t a monster – he shows them that the bullies are the real “monsters.”
“Monsters come in all shapes and forms,” said Terebus. “We want to tell kids Don’t Be a Monster.”
The presentations, held in October during National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, also include games, discussion and an appearance by Frank. Students receive a Don’t Be a Monster wristband as well.
Terebus said in this age of social media, it is even more important to squash bullying. He said when he was a student there was some relief when he got home because the teasing stayed at school. Now that’s no longer the case and many children can’t escape the pain even at home.
“People come to Erebus to be scared,” he said. “When you go to school, no one wants to be scared.”
Olympia Entertainment and Evil Dead: The Musical have joined Genisys Credit Union in support of the Don’t Be a Monster campaign. Guests have the opportunity to donate $5 to Don’t Be a Monster by purchasing tickets online through www.OlympiaEntertainment.com/EvilDead_DontBeAMonster using promo code GENISYS or by showing their Erebus ticket stub at the Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices; limit 8 tickets per purchase. The promotion lasts through Oct. 15.
Evil Dead: The Musical will be playing at the City Theatre from Oct. 1-25. Based on Sam Raimi’s 80’s cult classic films, Evil Dead: The Musical brings to life the familiar story of a boy and his friends who go on a weekend getaway to an abandoned cabin and then things go terribly awry.
Genisys Credit Union members who use the promo code GCU at www.hauntedpontiac.com for advance weekday tickets to Erebus will receive $3 off their ticket and $5 will go to the anti-bullying program as well.
To donate to Don’t Be a Monster directly, visit www.hauntedpontiac.com and click on the tickets link or call Erebus at (248) 332-7884. For more information on the Don’t Be a Monster campaign, visit http://dontbeamonster.org/
Genisys Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned financial institution that has been committed to helping its members financially since 1936. Based out of Auburn Hills, MI, Genisys is one of the largest credit unions in Michigan, with over 144,000 members and 23 branch locations. They also provide business loans and a range of services for small to mid-sized businesses. Genisys Credit Union is proud to be making a difference in their communities, and truly believes that Genisys is “where you come first”. Connect with Genisys on Facebook and Twitter by following “GenisysCU”. For convenient access to your account, download the Genisys iPhone App in the iTunes Store and Android App in the Google Play Store. For more information or a calendar of events, visit Genisys online at www.genisyscu.org.