Matthew is a junior in high school with a passion for social activism.
The summer of his eighth grade year, Matthew created The Be ONE Project after his younger brother, Josh, was bullied at their middle school. Matthew knew the kids who were bullying his brother and believed that they did not understand the pain they were causing. Matthew designed The Be ONE Project as a non-judgmental forum for kids to get to know one other, and to create empathy between students. He created The Be ONE Project from the ground up. Initially a program for the incoming 5th grade class at his own school, Matthew has grown The Be ONE Project into a national non-profit organization.
The Be ONE Project is an interactive day of games, activities and guided discussions designed to build community and foster empathy and mutual respect.
Over the course of the day, as the activities transition from non-competitive group games, to small team challenges, to guided discussion in Be ONE circles, The Be ONE Project breaks down barriers, opens communication, and instills trust and community. By cultivating a culture of mutual respect, Be ONE empowers students to create for themselves a supportive learning environment free of physical, verbal, and cyber bullying.
In just three years, more than 750 students and 150 teachers and upperclassmen volunteers have participated in The Be ONE Project. The Be ONE Project continues to spread its message of inclusion as the program expands to schools throughout Arizona and the United States.