Operation Respect: Interview With Co-Founder And Folk Legend, Peter Yarrow

Operation Respect Celebrates 12th Anniversary

Operation Respect is a non-profit youth violence prevention organization headed by internationally-acclaimed activist and folk singer, Peter Yarrow.

According to Peter Yarrow, “OR strives to work mainly in the U.S., but we have found that focusing on other countries not only informs us and teaches us, but alerts educators and child advocates in America to the severity and universality of the problem. OR truly believes the way to eradicate violence in tomorrow’s society is to eliminate bullying, disrespect and violence in children during their early, formative years before they have been drawn into the generational cycle of fear and hatred that they are bound to inherit and repeat-unless they are raised and educated to accept one another, respect each other, and resolve differences in their young lives, non-violently. Addressing this problem internationally is actually drawing countries together in common cause.”

Founded in 1999, the organization provides advocacy and inspiration for leaders, administrators, practitioners and parents in various arenas of policy and practice, helping to advance the healthy, positive, development of children and youth. Weiss, a former veteran New York City school principal for 20 years, oversees the development of OR’s new curricula and training and delivers professional development for teachers and trainers in the U.S. and other countries.

With the plethora of recent violence-related news, (ridicule of LGBTQ students leading to youth suicide, cyber-bullying, Congressional rancor, the shooting in Arizona, all of which are part and parcel of the growing epidemic of bullying and disrespect) the organization and its work are more relevant than ever-reaching more than 22,000 schools in the U.S. throughout 50 states, as well as foreign nations such as Croatia, Israel, Ukraine and China.

One of the most important outreach efforts of Operation Respect is the dissemination of their free, school-based and summer camp, program: “Don’t Laugh At Me” (DLAM), a powerful tool that educators use to prevent and reduce bullying and youth violence by creating a positive climate of respect in which such behaviors are far less likely to occur.

These curricula and the materials for the DLAM program are offered free to all educators, and may be downloaded via www.operationrespect.org, or delivered free of charge, courtesy of The McGraw Hill Companies. Over 50 songs included in Peter Yarrow’s songbooks for children may be downloaded via the Operation Respect website as well, courtesy of Sterling Publishing. Supporters of the program include State Farm, Children’s Defense Fund, Special Olympics and Warner Brothers Records, to name a few.

Recently, Operation Respect partnered with the Peace Corps, the U.S. Embassy and YMCA to launch the DLAM Program in Ukraine, as it had partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to launch the program in Israel, where it has received great praise for creating schools climates that reduce violence and also promote coexistence and tolerance amongst students of Jewish, Christian and Arabic backgrounds.

To spread the word, Peter Yarrow has given presentations to an estimated half million educational leaders, parents and advocates. In 2003, Operation Respect was honored unanimously by the U.S. Congress for its major contributions to the sound, academic focus, character development and the improved physical safety of children throughout the United States. There also plans to introduce the DLAM Program in Palestine and Turkey in 2011-2012.



For information on Operation Respect, visit: Operationrespect.org