At first when you notice that Michael Darby is 6’8″ and 280lbs, it’s hard to believe that he was bullied growing up. Darby, now a world-class wrestler, took his childhood memories and experiences and added his musical talent and partnership with Ashley Miller to create an “edutainment ” anti-bullying program that’s expanding to 200 schools this school year.
Michael Darby brought his music talent, for which he earned a Grammy nomination and combined his talent and energy with that of performer, Ashley Miller , to create a children’s entertainment band called Michael Darby and Smiles.
The book they’ve written is called,” I have a Friend Who.” It has illustrated drawings featuring children with different features to help combat bullying based on discrimination.New characters are being added to their stories to help students learn to be accepting of others, including students with a variety of disabilities.
Too many recent news stories are about bullying situations taking place across the country whether on school buses , before or after class when students are dropped off at school bus stops or on the school campuses, and too many of the incidents are recorded by other students and posted online. These violent displays of bullying get attention when they go viral on social media sites such as Youtube and been seen worldwide with postings on Facebook.
According to Michael and Ashley, one of the best ways to help our future generation is to start teaching them and presenting positive messages and behaviors at an early age. Their work is mostly with elementary school aged children with the hopes that getting these lessons tochildren when they are most impressionable will have the greatest potential for positive results.