DESCRIPTION: The Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention is a resource and research program that promotes environments that foster the health, well-being, and academic success of children.
HISTORY: The Dion Initiative is named for the brother of Mrs. Stanton, Dion France, who was bullied relentlessly as a child. Dion passed away in the early 1990s. The announcement is a graduation of sorts, because what began as a personal quest by Mrs. Stanton to combat bullying across Arizona has grown to become a fully realized university initiative. Her promise to work with educators, students and parents nearly three years ago by bringing together a group of volunteers known as Stop Bullying AZ has grown and her efforts have gained national prominence.
MISSION: The Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention is committed to promoting environments that foster the health, wellbeing, and academic success of children. To accomplish this, the Dion Initiative brings together renowned educators, dedicated direct service providers, and private-sector innovators to create a greater understanding of the obstacles our children face and to develop and share evidenced-based and easily replicable programs that overcome those obstacles.
In an era of increasingly scarce school and community resources, we cannot afford to gamble our future on flash-in-the-pan solutions that manipulate emotions and rely on anecdotes as proof. Science and experience are required; as is an understanding that real change requires time and commitment.
This may sound daunting, even foreboding, but the Dion Initiative is optimistic, perhaps because we know that some of the solutions may already be out there. A large and growing body of research explores the causes of and solutions to the adverse conditions many of our children face, such as bullying. Likewise, professionals in the field are making exciting progress in their work with children, youth, families, and their communities. Finally, new and bold ideas are coming from all sectors of society, but these ideas need to be put into practice and evaluated. At the Dion Initiative, we believe that we can conduct the research, refine and replicate what already is working, and grow the seeds of the next great movement.
R. Bradley Snyder
Director, Dion Initiative
R. Bradley Snyder is the Executive Director of the Dion Initiative for Child Well-Being and Bullying Prevention. Brad comes to this position after more than two decades managing projects targeting children and adolescents for clients ranging from Cartoon Network to the U.S. Justice Department (for whom his project won the Innovations in American Government Award from Harvard University). At the age of 19, Brad helped found HomeBase Youth Services, a shelter for homeless and runaway youth. In 1994, he ran one of the inaugural AmeriCorps programs. In 2005, Brad helped launch MentorE Online Youth Services, an organization that uses technology to link at-risk youth with caring mentors. Experts describe Brad’s parenting book, The 5 Simple Truths of Raising Kids, as an “urgent ‘must-read.’” Titles from his What Every Child Needs To Know children’s book series (...About Elvis Presley, ...About Cancer, ...About Punk Rock, ...About The Economy, ...About Pizza and ...About Coffee), which he coauthors with Dr. Marc Engelsgjerd to explain adults to children, have received numerous accolades, including being a “staff pick” at the Museum of Modern Art bookstore in New York City.