What People Are Saying

Tell Us Your Story!
Listen to the Kids!

“I like the Purple Hand Pledge® because the attitude in our school has changed a lot and has become more positive.” 

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“It reminds you that you won’t abuse others in any way.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“The Purple Hands Pledge® helps me think before I say something rude.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“I like how it makes me more confident.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“I think the Purple Hand Pledge® has really changed Highland because it’s like a promise you can keep your whole life.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“I used to be a target, but now because of the Purple Hand Pledge® they have stopped bullying and are more kind than ever!”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“The Purple Hands Pledge® has made kids more supported in life.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“It stops bullying.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“The Purple Hands Pledge® really helped me not be teased.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“I like how it is something that you say every day.  And it sticks in your head.  It makes you think about what you are saying and doing.”

5th Grade Student, Highland Elementary School – Billings, Montana

“We want to stop the bullying. We want the world to be better.” 

Emily Long, 11, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“We want this world to be better. We’re making a promise to not use violence.” 

Salena Urquidez, 11, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“You are taking a stand that you promise you won’t hurt anyone else or yourself.” 

Student, Hillcrest Elementary School - North Bend, Oregon

“I think its good that we do the Pledge because it can teach people that saying mean things and hitting people is bad. Someone could get really hurt.” 

Dezirae Harry, 8, Hillcrest Elementary School - North Bend, Oregon

“It’s nice just to come in and see them smiling.” 

Kimmi Nguyen - Student & Peer Helper, Walker Middle School - Salem, Oregon

“I hope the preschoolers will understand the negative impact of violence. I hope they learn that violence is not something good to do so that they won’t grow up to be criminals.”

Rachel Kottek - Student & Peer Helper, Walker Middle School - Salem, Oregon

“The work is the most rewarding when the children remember and repeat the songs and poems they were taught. They’re going to be our age in a couple of years, so hopefully, they’ll learn about being nice. Kids these days are so mean to each other in school.” 

Kristi Mueller - Student & Peer Helper, Walker Middle School - Salem, Oregon

“Not once this entire year have I felt like anyone was proud of me (except for my mom, of course) or cared about what I was doing. I feel completely invisible at my school and it’s been an incredibly difficult year for me. I can’t even tell you how much it meant to me to be recognized in front of both schools and to be given such a prestigious award. Thank you so much.” 

Caitlin Hulsey , Purple Hands Pledge® Ambassador - Klamath, OR

“Dear Ann, I thank you for all you have done for me, naming me the Ambassador of Iowa. I will keep doing all that I can to get the word out. Thank you, with out this I would not be the guy I am today, you have changed my life Ann. I know you only wanted $25 but I decided to give you an extra $15.00. I know it is not much but I plan to keep donating for the program. I have one goal that is the most important to me; make Purple Hands the most known anti-bullying group in the world.” 

Christian Thomas Conover, Student, Purple Hands Pledge® Ambassador - Iowa

“Every time you hurt someone with your words, it’s like breaking off a little piece of their heart which cannot be replaced easily. That is why we have to watch our words so that we don’t harm others.” 

5th Grade Student , North Africa

“During the character assemblies, I’ve realized that I haven’t been doing a good job of watching what I say and that I sometimes end up hurting others a lot… I am thankful for the assemblies which remind me to keep my tongue from evil even when it’s hard. So thank you assemblies and thank you God for reminding me what I need to do!” 

5th Grade Student , North Africa

“You know, its different over there (middle school) because they don’t have anything like the Hands & Words project. Kids are getting in fights every single day and they don’t get it.” 

Angela Silva, Student 13

“The pledge stays with me all day.” 

John Sich, Student 12

“If you think about hurting someone, you think, ‘Oh, purple hands, you can’t do that.”

John Sich, Student 12

“I want to see the program spread from school to city to state and across the country, if that happened, there would be peace in the world, not anger.” 

Shayanne Ivey, Student 12

“Dear Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project, when you were at the Salem Center Mall on October 23, 2004, my friends and I stopped by your station to take the pledge and proudly dip our hands in purple paint. I was the birthday girl that day, so enclosed is a picture of me in my birthday crown and, of course, my purple hand. Thank you for all the work you do.” 

Jenny Cournoyer - Monmouth, OR, Your Content Goes Here

“Dear Mrs. Kelly, what I learned from your speech was that everyone is different and that everybody is valuable. I really liked it and I’m very happy that you chose to come to our school.” 

Taylor Cheyenne Belcher, Student, Eugene Field School

“Thank you Mrs. Kelly. I’ve learned a lot about hands are not for hurting ourself or others. My mom works with your husband.” 

Jenna, Student, Eugene Field School

“Dear Mrs. Kelly, I would like to thank you for coming to Eugene Field School and for helping to make the Purple Hands Pledge.” 

Will Wright, Student, Eugene Field School

“Dear Mrs Kelly, I learned from your speech that even know everybody is different we are all valuable and your brother only had one arm but he didn’t let any body put him down. What I remember is you made the whole school do the pledge.” 

Jr. Coronado, Student, Eugene Field School

“Dear Mrs Kelly, Thank you for coming to my school. I learned a lot from your message. Now I say the pledge every day.” 

Tatiana, Student, Eugene Field School

Sir Darrell-Bridges, 11, has asked his immediate family members and cousins to support him in creating a peaceful environment not only at school but at home, too. “People were using negative words toward each other,” he said about conditions at the school. “First there would be verbal fights and then it would turn physical.” 

Sir Darrell-Bridges, 11, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“Character is a lifelong trait that doesn’t end at 3:30 p.m. on a Friday.” 

Student, Walnut Middle School

“I like the Purple Hands because it helped the kids in our school be more respectful. I think it was a great idea.” 

Michelle Bergholz, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Thank you. You’re great. I love Purple Hands. It helps so much, people are really respecting others now. Thank you for creating this.”

Johnny Boudmounting, Student, Walnut Middle School

“The Purple Hands program is a big success. The school has turned around and has become a peaceful, caring place. Thank you for sharing this program with us.” 

Neill Hahn, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I think the Purple Hands program is a great idea. It has really helped our school and the attitude of the students. Now kids don’t have to worry. I would tell any school about this fine program.” 

Tavo Sandoval, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Thank you for inventing Purple Hands. Without Purple Hands our school would not be so respectful. And I like to say the Purple Hands Pledge®. Oh and happy Halloween!!”

Heather Cash, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I really like Purple Hands. The best thing about Purple Hands is our school, Walnut, has a lot less fights and all of the students are more respectful. Thank you very much for your contributions to our country and inventing such a wonderful program. Thanks again!” 

Lyndsey Bacon, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Thank you very much for starting the Purple Hands program! It has really improved our school! You had an excellent idea!!” 

Brooke Bartek, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Thank you for starting Purple Hands. It has stopped most of the violence at my school. I think it is a great program. It has helped me be kind to people.” 

Chris Boroff, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I think that the Purple Hands program is great! It is affecting our school a lot. I have seen less bullying, teasing, fighting, name-calling, and violence in our school. I never have had to worry about any violence in our school. Now I feel safer at our school since we started the Purple Hands program. Thanks a lot!” 

Tara Klimek, Student, Walnut Middle School

“The thing that I really like about Purple Hands is that I can go to school every day and not worry about people making fun of me and also I don’t have to worry about violence.” 

Stormy Sickler, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Thank you so much for starting the Purple Hands program. It has helped our whole school be more respectful and responsible.” 

Brittany Benson, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I like being in Purple Hands. Because it’s fun and we learn not to do stuff that is bad. Thank you for inviting us to shape and join you in helping not to hurt by using our hands and words for hurting myself or others. P.S. Thank you, it was a good idea.” 

Amber Kubik, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I love how it stopped all the violence in the schools. Thanks a lot.” 

Angie Boersen, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I have learned that the Pledge is not only a phrase that we say every Thursday, but it is a phrase with a lot of meaning and has made me not use my words and hands when I’m angry. I thank the Pledge.” 

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“Yes because I learned a lot how to control my anger when I’m angry and I learned how to solve the violence between me and someone.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“Yes the hand pledge will make a difference because I learned how to respect other people and how to respect yourself.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“Before the program I used to think people deserve what comes to them, but before I same something nasty about someone the pledge helps me to think about other people’s feelings.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“Because I realize how I’ve had hurt people with my hands and my words. Now I know how to control my anger. I’ve learned a lot from you.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“Because I can get better at doing the right thing and making the right choice.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“I said yes because I learned that I must not read a book by its cover, anger is a feeling violence and abuse is a choice no matter what and also that I must not use my hands to hurt others or myself.”

Student, South Africa Schools in Potchefstroom

“I feel so good about coming to Walnut every day knowing that I am safe…and where the number one rule is to treat others the way you want to be treated.” 

Jessica Ostermeier, Student, Walnut Middle School

“The teachers and staff create a positive environment for all the students….Also, the teachers and older students made me feel welcome.” 

David Marler, Student, Walnut Middle School

“When I think of the school I attend, I think of the words respect and responsibility…The respect and responsibility rule is used by students every day.” 

Katie Manley, Student, Walnut Middle School

“At Walnut, we take honesty, respect, and responsibility in our own hands…In Walnut, we are taught to treat others how you want to be treated.” 

Natasha Findley, Student, Walnut Middle School

“I feel fortunate to attend a school which is made up of students from many diversified backgrounds, but who all share the same goal of being respectful and responsible to others…We share a pride in our school, a pride in our country, a desire for learning and a need for opportunities to achieve what we dream.”

Lauren Shoemaker, Student, Walnut Middle School

“To be a National School of Character is a great honor. We have the privilege to say we are one of the best schools in the nation…I am proud to be a Walnut Wildcat.”

Dalton Ryba, Student, Walnut Middle School

“Last night I gave a high five to a friend who helped me out. I talked about my problems and didn’t need to shout. I opened up a door for a teacher with her arms full of books. I smiled at a stranger and went beyond his looks. I shook hands with the new girl while others they just glared, and I helped her with her homework when no one really cared. You see, last night was full of laughter, smiles and hellos and I let my kindness show. So i’ve learned I may only have these hands and words for awhile, but they’re not for harming others, they’re for taking time to make someone smile.”

Tesha Kivi, Student, Judson Middle School - Salem, OR

“It makes you think to watch your actions. If you find yourself saying something mean, catch yourself.” 

Catherine Lenhardt, 12, Judson Middle School Drama Student - Salem, OR

“The Pledge keeps evil from my tongue”

Student, North Africa

“In Mexico, it is okay for mom and dad to hit their children, but not in America, because Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting.” (The day after the student said this to the P.E. teacher, she came to the counselor and disclosed severe physical abuse.)

Student, 2nd Grade
Educators & Counselors

“Thank you for developing this program. I know we need to be relentless in our dedication to what we have started at SEM School (Sumner, Eddyville, Miller Public Schools), but the simple, but powerful Purple Hands message gives us a solid foundation on which to build.”

Janet Ourada, Second Grade Teacher, SEM School - Sumner, NE

“The classroom presentations impacted many students (especially the viewing of the Power of One), but the biggest challenge ahead is to maintain that momentum.”

Janet Ourada, Second Grade Teacher, SEM School - Sumner, NE

“I appreciate all the work and organization of the program… my students and their family benefited greatly from the program.”

Teacher

“I think its very important to introduce this program at the preschool level. Children at this age are just learning how to successfully interact with peers. The more knowledge and tools that they have, the better their relationships will be as they continue through school.”

Teacher

“I loved this program. It became a part of our classroom… reminding the children of the Pledge helped them stay in control of their actions… I felt this program gave my kids a base to problem solve with what they learn at school. This is a wonderful, outstanding program which should be in all schools.”

Teacher

“I did the Hands Project with my students and only one time since then did we have a problem with hitting. It was quite common before we implemented the Project. The concept, Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting is fantastic!!” 

Judy Schomburg, 1st Grade Teacher

“Domestic violence is a huge issue facing many Cambodians and I thought it would be a great idea to implement the project throughout schools here in the city of Battambang and share these with other volunteers throughout Cambodia.” 

Elizabeth Wilcox, English Teacher, Peace Corps Volunteer

“This event was very interesting and in my school, there is already less violence with words and hands.”

Luz Dari Lasso Manrique, English Teacher, Cauca, Colombia

“My partners tell me this group is special because they practice every day the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Pledge.”

Luz Dari Lasso Manrique, English Teacher, Cauca, Colombia

“Thank you all for supporting our children and for committing yourself against violence! Each child gathered more than 10 hands and ended up with the purple hands in Puerto Peñasco. It is admirable what a group of hands can do to spread the commitment to peace.” 

Nyllirma Celaya, Teacher, Colegio Bilingüe Crece - Puerto Penasco, Sonora, Mexico

“More and more students in our school join the Purple Hands Project, and I can see its impact on the young souls.” 

Olga Volnycheva, Russia, Teacher of English & American Studies

“We seize every opportunity to share this amazing project with many other people, and the Purple Hands Pledge® chain becomes longer and longer.”

Olga Volnycheva, Russia, Teacher of English & American Studies

“Sharing letters, gifts, interesting ideas, thoughts, and projects will build a bond between cultures and help us all understand a little better.”

Olga Volnycheva, Russia, Teacher of English & American Studies

“I think we should be more open to learning, sharing, and understanding of our differences and it will bring only positive results and benefits.”

Olga Volnycheva, Russia, Teacher of English & American Studies

“My confidence is strong in continuing our efforts to make this imperfect world a little better and do our best to spread the ideas of Purple Hands/Red Hearts Project”

Olga Volnycheva, Russia, Teacher of English & American Studies

“Well prepared lessons presented in a very professional fashion, but with the necessary compassion. Thank you very much!”

Teacher, Laerskool President Pretorius

“The process of this show has been really different than anything I’ve done before.” 

Tom Hewitt, Drama Teacher, Judson Middle School - Salem, OR

“It’s caused a lot of discussions about what really happens in school.”

Tom Hewitt, Drama Teacher, Judson Middle School - Salem, OR

“They really have a grasp on the fact that this isn’t entertainment theatre. It’s theatre with a message.”

Tom Hewitt, Drama Teacher, Judson Middle School - Salem, OR

“This Pledge is an integral part of Palestine’s character education program. With this project Palestine has created a multi-sensory experience that further embeds the pledge and its meaning in the students’ minds.” 

Ms. Kendra Butler, Palestine Grade School - Palestine, IL

“Students have received Hands from across the country and even sent 180 Purple Hands to a school in Bulgaria so that its students could participate in the project.”

Ms. Kendra Butler, Palestine Grade School - Palestine, IL

“Promotes core ethical values and supportive performance values as the foundation of good character.”

Ms. Kendra Butler, Palestine Grade School - Palestine, IL

“I do think that the “Hands Project” has been a positive attempt to remind students about their responsibility of promoting “non-violence”. I really like the posters being displayed in the cafeteria this year. The students are able to locate their names in an easier fashion. My only suggestion would be to have additional activities each quarter to reinforce their commitment to this project. Great job!” 

Merrie Burkle, 6th Grade Teacher, Beagle Middle School – Grand Ledge, MI

“I feel the Hands Project helps to promote a positive attitude among the students. It serves as a catalyst for forming positive attitudes as they pertain to the way students interact with their peers.”

Lew Gentry, 8th Grade Teacher, Beagle Middle School – Grand Ledge, MI

“I do feel that the Hands Project has made a positive impact in our school. I sometimes hear students talking about it to each other in social settings. Also, the purple ribbons and hand posters are a constant reminder of the pledge.” 

Mary Ann Schmedlen, 7th Grade Teacher, Beagle Middle School – Grand Ledge, MI

“I definitely think it helps, even if its only for a brief period of time. It gets students to think about violence and how often they see it.” 

Eric Hofschire, Special Education Teacher, Beagle Middle School – Grand Ledge, MI

“We want kids to be conscious and aware of the fact that they have a choice to be violent or nonviolent… It’s a tool. It’s just one piece of the puzzle in violence prevention education.” 

Teacher, Hillcrest Elementary School - North Bend, OR

“In our classrooms, we really use this and believe in this.”

Eloise Wagoner, Hillcrest Elementary School - North Bend, OR

“I appreciate all your support and help as I help to spread the message to end violence and abuse. One day I’d love to brainstorm some ideas with you how we can spread the Purple Hands Pledge® further and grow your program so that every child and family will benefit from this wonderful initiative” 

Linda Bergh, Wisconsin’s Special Services Teacher of the Year 2012-13, Eagle Point Elementary - DeForest, WI

“Having this common framework to talk with our students about their behavior has been very effective in correcting and reducing hurtful behavior in school.”

Linda Bergh, Wisconsin’s Special Services Teacher of the Year 2012-13, Eagle Point Elementary - DeForest, WI

“I feel it’s a rewarding and cost-effective program, giving maximum results from minimum investment.” 

Joni Henretty, Life Skills Teacher, Beagle Middle School - Grand Ledge, MI

“Overall, people feel more safe and secure, making learning that much easier.”

Joni Henretty, Life Skills Teacher, Beagle Middle School - Grand Ledge, MI

“It made the kids think and it gave me something to say when they were being unruly to each other.” 

Michaelene Elder, Foreign Language Teacher, Beagle Middle School - Grand Ledge, MI

“If we can impact just a few of our students by making them stop and think before acting then a project is successful.  I hear kids refer to “Hands & words are not for hurting” in many situations, some in joking situations, but even then there must be awareness.  Something is sinking in.” 

Wayne Neal, Computer Science Teacher, Beagle Middle School - Grand Ledge, MI

“I think that the Hands Project is a very positive one.  The boys in 6th grade like to push, shove, and etc. so we constantly remind them of the “Hands & Words are Not for Hurting” Pledge.  It works.  I feel that we should continue the project.  If something works, don’t change it!” 

Carol Wilson, 6th Grade Teacher, Beagle Middle School - Grand Ledge, MI

“I found that the project held the students’ attention and enthusiasm well in addition to appealing to many groups across the lifespan.” 

Helen Thomas, MS, RN, CPNP., Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“It addresses the universal need for safety in people’s lives.”

Helen Thomas, MS, RN, CPNP., Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I really enjoyed working with the student groups doing the Purple Hands Project. Extremely important message and it makes a great public health nursing project.”

Helen Thomas, MS, RN, CPNP., Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“The work you are doing is so very very important, and I wish it were in every school throughout the nation!”

Ashley Combs, Valley Vista Preschool Office Coordinator

“I know my school will continue to teach this pledge for years to come as it is crucial during these children’s formative years to understand this important concept.”

Ashley Combs, Valley Vista Preschool Office Coordinator

“Thank you for your organization, and thank you for working so hard to change human behavior, and in time change the world.”

Ashley Combs, Valley Vista Preschool Office Coordinator

“We don’t just say it each day at FRES, we live it each day through our words and actions! The Purple Hands Pledge® has become the foundation of our anti-bullying message.”

French Road Elementary School, Brighton, New York

“The students at Foxview recite the Purple Hands Pledge® each day to raise awareness of tolerance and to stop bullying proactively.”

Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

“The Purple Hands Pledge® is a nationwide tool for building an atmosphere of tolerance and peaceful problem-solving.”

Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

“The pledge encourages dialogue about all forms of bullying; from name-calling and negative self-talk to physical abuse.”

Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

“The Purple Hands Pledge® was a perfect fit for me to be able to bring my own story into not using your words to hurt others or yourself, I couldn’t have asked for a better platform than what you guys provided us.”

Officer Dennis Gladwell, Police Liaison Officer, Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

“As they moved from 6th grade up to middle school, the banner went with them as a reminder that they took the pledge.”

Officer Dennis Gladwell, Police Liaison Officer, Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

“Kind of neat to see how the kids in 8th grade still going to the banner and looking their names up and remembering what we talked about.”

Officer Dennis Gladwell, Police Liaison Officer, Foxview Intermediate School - De Pere, WI

Violence and abuse are at epidemic proportions in our society. By incorporating the goal of the Hands & Words Program to end abuse and violence the cycle of violence can be broken and a step towards a violence-free generation becomes a possibility.”

Ansonette van der Merwe, Violence Awareness Program Coordinator, Potchefstroom, South Africa

“Encouraging middle school students to talk about violence in a group setting enabled them not only to open up about their personal experiences but to own the responsibility and power they have to prevent violence. Introducing the Hands Project to these students was very effective: they were eager to talk about their experiences and receptive to taking the pledge as a group. When tracing their hands, some students even wrote personal messages about the importance of violence prevention. Utilizing the Hands Project was a very powerful medium for working towards a more peaceful, healthy environment for these students.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I thought our efforts in St. Croix planted a seed for future initiatives against violence and opened the door for future Purple Hands Projects to truly make a difference in a community that needs an alternative to violence.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“The students were very responsive and the Purple Hands Project did help empower them. It allowed them to realize that one person can make a difference by doing something as small as walking away from a fight.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I was amazed at how responsive the kids in St. Croix were to the Hands Project.  Many of the students participated in discussions about how violence affected them.  I think getting students to talk and understand the “Power of One” goes a long way.  Some students were not able to pledge that they would not use their hands to defend themselves, but they said they would not use their hands or words to initiate problems. The Hands Project initiates discussions that many people try to avoid and it is a start to a violence-free community.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I enjoyed doing the Purple Hands Project because the students had a lot to say about violence and how they are personally affected by it. It is possible that the Hands Project is one of the first steps in decreasing violence.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I think the Hands Project really allowed for open and honest discussions about violence to be started.  Maybe in a year or two, the conversations we had with the students will result in behavior changes.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“Mary Smith, the school nurse at Elena Christian, said at the end of our presentation that she and the guidance counselor, Ms. Hewitt, were going to run a similar program in the fall. This was viewed as a big accomplishment by our group as sustainability was one of our goals (and the goal we didn’t think we would achieve based on the information we received from Ms. Smith prior to arriving on the island.)”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“As nurses [in the U.S.], we see that violence is our job, abuse is our job, and we should be dealing with it,” Douglas said. “The culture [in St. Croix] is different, but I think we initiated a conversation that needed to be happening. It seems as though they are opening to change.”

Nursing Student, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing

“I think this message can be taught to anyone. We needed a positive behavior program.” 

Vangie Lampee - School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“It’s so easy. The kids get it. The people get it. It isn’t a goofy pledge. There’s a very serious meaning behind it.”

Vangie Lampee - School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“Violent behavior has never been a severe issue at the school but Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting® ingrains a nonviolent behavior into youths so that it will be carried forward into adulthood.” 

Vangie Lampee - School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“My vision is for it to be in all schools in the district and in Arizona…It’s all about them. It’s their school, their community.”

Vangie Lampee - School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“For those of you, still skeptical of The Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® I wanted to share with you a story. This morning I spent 2 hours with a 4th-grade boy who witnessed his mother being beat by her boyfriend this morning. He was also hurt in the violent act as well. This has been his life for the past year. When the cops came he was taking care of his 6-month-old baby brother because it’s “his responsibility” when his mom is getting hurt. After listening to him for one hour he states, “ Quentin is the best and safest place to be because we know that our hands and words aren’t for hurting here. I wish we could have this everywhere, then people would know that!” This is a very very powerful statement! Not only is he saying that he feels safe here at school, but he is saying that because we are all on the same page, he feels like his household should be too. When something powerful like the Hands Project® is embraced and taken seriously, other people look at it with the same view. We must all be on the same page and teach lessons with the project in order to educate.”

Vangie Lampee - School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“I have observed students telling others when they’ve been hurt by them, that they are not following the Purple Hands Pledge®.”

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“At the elementary school that I was placed in previously, we had 15 severe behavior referrals prior to implementing the Purple Hands Pledge®. Severe behavior referrals dropped to 2 the following year. The effectiveness of this program is significant.

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“I have to tell you that I have one student who despite my working with him for several months and thinking he should know my name by now, comes to find me on the playground and addresses me as, “Purple Hands Teacher.” It makes me smile.”

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“I wish more companies and foundations saw the importance of this program and would help fund it.” 

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“I love this program! If there was ever funding within the organization to hire a spokesperson/trainer to travel the county to promote it, my application would be the first one submitted!”

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“It has been an especially useful program for supporting the bullying prevention curriculum we established ten years ago here in Billings Public Schools.”

Tanya Kirshman - School Counselor, Highland Elementary School - Billings, Montana

“The preschool violence prevention program developed by The Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® is by far the most innovative and inspired effort yet in addressing the issues of bullying and mean-spirited teasing. Our eighth-grade students who participated in the preschool visits came away with a profound sense of having made a real difference in the lives and characters of the 4 & 5-year-olds they mentored. Not only did our middle school students have the chance to model and demonstrate positive coping skills but they also were able to take away an improved self-image of themselves.” 

Pete Teller, Counselor , Walker Middle School - Salem, OR

“As a long-time school counselor with experience at all grade levels, I wholeheartedly endorse the Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project’s® Preschool Curriculum. At a time when concerns about bullying in schools have increased, this excellent antiviolence curriculum teaches students not to use their hands or their words to hurt themselves or others. It was impressive and heartwarming to watch our Peer Helpers teach this program and interact in a meaningful way with local preschoolers. The bonding and positive modeling that took place between the preschoolers and our peer helpers further insured that the students would learn and internalize the Purple Hands Pledge® message.” 

Marsha Griffiths, MSW, ACSW, Counselor , Walker Middle School - Salem, OR

“The depths of the program are only limited to your imagination!” 

Lori Phillips, Counselor, Denison Elementary School - Denison, IA

“Good for schools- so simple! Forms strong partnerships”

Lori Phillips, Counselor, Denison Elementary School - Denison, IA

“As a result, children in Crawford County are benefiting from the anti-bullying message. The school has witnessed great results (95% or more) of children making the Purple Hands Honor Roll for positive behavior. Please consider this worthy cause!”

Lori Phillips, Counselor, Denison Elementary School - Denison, IA

“I wanted to say that I am impressed with our very young students (kindergarten-3rd grade) and how they are able to identify how hands and words can hurt. For instance, I ask them, “How can words hurt people?” Responses have included: telling secrets, saying “STUPID!” “I don’t like you”, “you can’t play with us”.

Janie Burich, Counselor, Eugene Field Elementary School - Silverton, OR

“The message your organization emphasizes, that it takes just one to impact many is VERY empowering. It is a simple yet powerful message that resonates throughout one’s life. I know your presence, assistance, and knowledge will truly impact our students, and hopefully make them think twice about how they interact in their relationships.” 

Michele Collins, Personal Counselor, Providence High School - Burbank, CA

“This is the most important rule we have here at our school!” 

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“Using the Purple Hands Pledge® at our school has helped us by providing a simple and common language to address student behavior and the way that we treat each other.”

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“Everyone who has a relationship with our school, from teachers and students to parents and community members knows the Purple Hands Pledge®, and can easily reference this behavior expectation by using the common language introduced in the pledge.”

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“I think it is a wonderful thing when we can place reminders in our students homes and in our community that the Purple Hands Pledge is important no matter where you go.”

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“The Purple Hands Pledge® is also on several of our PBIS Behavior Rubrics as a behavior expectation across several settings.”

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“It is such a quick yet concise way to talk with students that carries across all settings.”

Karin Thiele - Elementary School Counselor , Denison Community School District - Denison, IA

“It takes time for any change to happen, especially for such a hard topic. The power is to empower the kids. That’s really how transformation happens.”

Vangie Lampee, School Counselor, Quentin Elementary School - Avondale, Arizona

“Yes, I do feel that the Hands Project has made a positive difference in our school climate.” 

Laurel Inkala, School Counselor, Beagle Middle School – Grand Ledge, MI
Principals

“These are the most important 14 words you will need to remember all your life.” 

Michael Dickinson, Former Principal, Public Safety Academy - San Bernardino, CA

“The Hands Project is and will forever remain an integral part of our philosophy, here at the Public Safety Academy… We are getting the word out daily!”

Kathy Toy, Former Principal, Public Safety Academy - San Bernardino, CA

“One math teacher told me he wasn’t interested in teaching social skills. My answer was if we don’t start teaching social skills, we won’t have time to teach math.” 

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“The project tied directly into our school goals which promote healthy living skills amongst this elementary school population” 

Kathleen Bebe, Principal, Richmond Elementary School - Salem, OR

“Richmond staff recognizes that if students cannot show empathy toward one another, resolve conflicts and manage anger in the classroom and school setting, the whole learning process is paralyzed.”

Kathleen Bebe, Principal, Richmond Elementary School - Salem, OR

“It was simply wonderful to have another visual of the hundreds of purple hands which demonstrated school-wide the commitment of staff and students to make a difference in each of our lives.”

Kathleen Bebe, Principal, Richmond Elementary School - Salem, OR

“I had a boy in my office who had been hurting himself in various way and also had problems with hitting and pushing other students. I asked him about his Hands Pledge and if he remember doing it with his class. He said ‘No. I was not at school that day.’ Well, we sat right down and took the Pledge together. He took his Hand to his classroom and placed it with the students Hands. His second hand and mine are posted on my office wall. He was so pleased and he has not had any problems since taking the pledge.”

Kathleen Bebe, Principal, Richmond Elementary School - Salem, OR

“Students know that taking the Pledge each morning is a promise to take responsibility for their words and actions during the day.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“The other middle schools in our district have joined with us as Purple Hands partners.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“Local media coverage of the Pledge has helped our students feel tremendous self-respect as community leaders.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“Teachers and support staff have continually emphasized the importance of respect and responsibility in the classroom and in informal student interactions.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“In the months since October 2000, the hands of the Governor and the Secretary of State of Nebraska, several professional athletes, a U.S. Congressman, and a U.S. Senator, have found their place on our walls.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“In the old days, we used to say we weren’t going to work, we were going to war… Purple Hands has helped change that”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“If everyone lived by the pledge, law enforcement wouldn’t have as much work to do”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“Dignitaries from local government and law enforcement joined high school athletes, local pastors, and school district leaders to get “Purple Hands” off to a rousing start!”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“In the months since, the hands of the Governor and the Secretary of State of Nebraska, several professional athletes, a U.S Congressman, a U.S. senator… and mickey mouse… have found their place on our walls.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“It seems simplistic, but it’s been a great tool for building an atmosphere of tolerance and peaceful problem-solving. The measures of success: assaults have plummeted to a fraction of what they were before — and kids are making marked achievement gains.”

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“Brilliant presentation, the best I have heard in 30 years being an educator, content includes all necessary aspects.” 

Robert Stewart, Deputy Principal, Laerskool President Pretorius - Potchefstroom, South Africa

After the assembly, Duel said the National School of Character means a lot because Character Education Partnership representatives chose Walnut after making a personal visit; “They spent a lot of time in the cafeteria, outside the building both before and after school, and in the hallways between classes. Those are all times when students are not under the control of teachers. They all commented on how well behaved the students were.” 

Vikki Deuel, Principal, Walnut Middle School - Grand Island, NE

“The ‘Power of One’ video and follow-up activity benefitted the school by cultivating a caring school community among staff and students.”

Gill James, Principal, Sprague High School - Salem, OR

“The activity with the Purple Hands Pledge® gave students an opportunity to make a strong individual commitment to be non-violent. It symbolized their commitment to addressing the problem of abuse and violence in a visible way.”

Gill James, Principal, Sprague High School - Salem, OR

“As they took the pledge, students talked with one another about the experience they had had with physical and emotional abuse. Several hundred students at Sprague High School pledged to keep violence off our campus.”

Gill James, Principal, Sprague High School - Salem, OR
Community Members

“I’m going to do this! I believe that establishing changing core values is the only thing that will reduce violence. Thank you I believe this is an inspired project-Go with it.” 

Sheila Jennings, Crime Prevention Association of Oregon

“I’m excited about exploring ways to introduce this in my community. Thank you! What a wonderful program.” 

Conference Participant, Crime Prevention Association of Oregon, 22nd Annual Conference

“Our last event was with the high school and middle school and we had the opportunity to speak with about 200 children about the Hands Project®.  The students loved the project as did the soldiers and the Garrison Commander, who hopes this will bring about a reduction of DV within his community.” 

Yadira Morales, Family Advocacy Program Specialist, US Army Garrison - Ansbach, Germany

“We only showed the “Power of One” but I believe it was a perfect video due to time restraints that captures the importance of not using or words or hands for violence…Approximately 75 pledges were taken at the dining facilities.  Most were soldiers, some Family Members’ and an Elementary school-age child (she was very excited).  At the school we had the 200 students we spoke with that also took the pledge.”

Yadira Morales, Family Advocacy Program Specialist, US Army Garrison - Ansbach, Germany

“One young lady did not want to take the pledge so I asked her in private and after speaking for some time and explaining why it is important she took the pledge.  That made my day and I hope that she remembers the importance of it.”

Yadira Morales, Family Advocacy Program Specialist, US Army Garrison - Ansbach, Germany

“Every time someone hurts me with their hands and their words, I get another nail in myself… They stay with you forever. When you hurt someone with your words and your hands, it doesn’t go away… You don’t want to do that to other people.” 

Former Mayor Rick Wetherell, Hillcrest Elementary School - North Bend, Oregon

“The daily recitation of 14 words in our schools is a small price to pay to save a life.” 

Mike Swaim, Former Mayor of Salem, Oregon

“Empirical evidence from schools which have implemented the project show remarkable reductions in bullying activity and strong improvement in positive class behavior.”

Mike Swaim, Former Mayor of Salem, Oregon

“Walnut Middle School in Nebraska reports that after implementing the Hands Project, they noted a significant decrease in sexual harassment, aggressive behavior, assaults, and disruptive behavior in their classrooms.”

Mike Swaim, Former Mayor of Salem, Oregon

“Just as reciting the Pledge of Allegiance instills a sense of pride and commitment to its ideals, reciting the Hands & Words Pledge could instill a commitment to nonviolent problem-solving.” 

Mike Swaim, Former Mayor of Salem, Oregon

“In Salem, several students who have contemplated suicide tell us that, after recalling the words of the Pledge that they learned in school, they decided against taking their own life.” 

Mike Swaim, Former Mayor of Salem, Oregon

“Our hearts are heavy today, a boy at my kid’s school committed suicide. It tears my heart to think of their feeling of no self-worth to think they are better off gone. Your program is so very vital to our young people I can’t tell you how grateful I am. Thanks again, sorry if I got too heavy!” 

President, Soroptimist Int’l of Pasco-Kennewick, Washington

“No doubt there are already existing programs for promoting this goal, BUT the Purple Hands Pledge® can add an additional level of awareness and support for choosing a violence-free way of life.” 

Judy Barzey, MD

“The Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting Project® emphasizes positive behavior modification to encourage us all to work together to break the cycles of child abuse, domestic and family violence, bullying in schools, and suicide.”

Judy Barzey, MD

“Parents and the school need to work together, whether the child bullies, is a victim of bullying, or is a witness to bullying. Collectively we can create a culture of respect and trust while providing a friendly campus where everyone is treated respectfully.”

Judy Barzey, MD

“A simple practical approach teaching self-control, accountability for our words and actions, empathy for others and self-worth”

Judy Barzey, MD

“Community members welcomed the Purple Hands Pledge® with open arms, celebrating their opportunity to make a lasting positive impact.” 

Judy Barzey, MD

“The Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) team at Gordon L. Willson Elementary School felt that having the students take this pledge will act as a reminder of how important it is to treat everyone with kindness.” 

Gordon L. Willson Elementary School, Baraboo School District Newsletter

“We are honored to carry the “Hands & Words Project” torch within our camp programs this year, and look forward to continuing the relationship, in the years ahead!” 

Greg Bennett, President & G.M. , Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa

“Clear and concise anti-bullying program”

Greg Bennett, President & G.M. , Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa

“From the “international headquarters” in Kelly’s Salem home office, Kelly’s dream continues: the purple hand grows as an unmistakable symbol for non-violence and respect toward oneself and others.” 

Meredith Russell, Salem Monthly, November 2006

“You’re all doing great stuff – thank you. I am glad that a new generation will have the opportunity to be helped. I’m sure you will change many lives — I am woking on healing from a terrible childhood, and am glad that now there are more resources.” 

Elizabeth Skavish, Donor

“Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to come to the 2002 summit. Your presence and message was heard and seen. The youth of this nation are forever changed because of your message.” 

Hamilton A. Sneed, Youth Chair

“I cannot imagine a better motto for our young people. As the Co-Director of the Albert Schweitzer Institute at Chapman University in Orange, CA, I’m particularly pleased with this spirit of this peaceful living.” 

Kurt Bergel, Former Co-Director, Albert Schweitzer Institute

“We would like to thank you for all of your help and generous donation made to our program. Both events were a success and it was empowering to see families come together in unity to take the pledge to non-violence. It was a great message to send out to our community that impacted all ages, from young children to grandparents. Thank you to your wonderful organization and the great work that you all do!” 

Anita Bancroft, SART Coordinator, Tuba City Regional HealthCare Corp. - Navajo Nation

“Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the Hands & Words Project. It has changed my life.” 

Lauren A. Cannon, Miss Virginia International 2014

“I have taken this lesson to the preschools. The parents are given a group session on child abuse, how? And why? While the children are taught what hard are used for. Then together they take the pledge and make the hands. This has become something they request each year for family night.” 

Patricia Gerdau, Program Director, South Central Oregon Domestic Violence Coalition - Oregon

“Working with teen moms was fun. They learned about what makes a healthy relationship, took the pledge for themselves and their children, then hung their hands and the birth certificates up in the school hall. Many of these young women are not strangers to abuse and have come to our office for assistance later.”

Patricia Gerdau, Program Director, South Central Oregon Domestic Violence Coalition - Oregon

“We supply paper and scissors so families can take the pledge together. They pledge, make two hands each and we hang one at the booth while they take one home to hand on the refrigerator. This is a family who pledges together and shares the lesson into the future.”

Patricia Gerdau, Program Director, South Central Oregon Domestic Violence Coalition - Oregon

“A school nurse that has worked at our school for several years made an interesting observation. ‘What has happened here?’ When asked what she meant by that question, the nurse replied, ‘The children seem more relaxed and polite. What are you doing differently here?’ When told about the Hands Project she pointed out that the change in students’ behavior occurred at the same time the Hands Project started being implemented in the school.” 

Visiting School Nurse

“I just want you to know that his project has really touched my heart and I believe that it has affected every aspect of my life and children’s. It is a daily saying in our home to say,’What are hands for?’ and their reply every time, ‘Hands Are Not For Hurting, they are for loving!!’”

Candi Quintall, Department of Human Resources - Salem, OR

“It will be easy to implement to any age group. I think this will be a great program for our school.” 

Conference Participant, Crime Prevention Association of Oregon, 22nd Annual Conference

“The most meaningful part of the training was the personal challenge to alter my ‘style’ of parenting. I’ve dreaded this moment and I welcome it at the same time. Now I have to walk my talk. As a single, many times exasperated mom, this is a good tool for me to control myself, and help my sons control themselves. We’ll do it this weekend.” 

Teri Poppino, Crime Prevention Coordinator

“The most meaningful part of the training was the core values which were explained and taught.” 

Conference Participant, Crime Prevention Association of Oregon, 22nd Annual Conference

“It is a simple affirmation of peaceful relations within our families, schools and communities. We must recognize that respect for ourselves is key to developing healthy relationships. Anger is a feeling. Abuse and violence are choices. As a community, we must come to understand that it is within our power to choose not to use abuse or violence (both verbal and physical) to resolve conflict.” 

Kimberly Lund, Assistant District Attorney, Tennessee

“To me, this program is the future. If we can educate people to live peacefully, to think before speaking or acting, we can make our community a better, safer place to be.”

Kimberly Lund, Assistant District Attorney, Tennessee

“Dear Hands & Words Are Not For Hurting folks, Can you please send me some info an receiving brochures and specifically I need a poster you have out. I am a survivor of domestic violence as well as my children. My 5-year-old son saw a poster at an organization where we were trying to get help; financial, clothing, food and housing to no avail. He put his hand to mine and said it’s okay “mine has a heart on it” to never make you cry or be hurt from daddy again. He was speaking of the heart logo hand. My middle son is now at times talking about how nobody knows where to get help when they are hurt at home and my 19-year-old son tries so hard to keep my spirits up after so many surgeries to the back, neck, feet, legs, arms, shoulder and now I have seizures and suffer from PTSD. Please for my little one, that knows what he has lived is not the only way to live. Any way to get a poster (maybe a sticker) please send me anything you can, and if I can help in any way- I still need to learn. Thank you and god bless you.” 

Individual requested to remain anonymous

“Community is a central component of French Road Elementary School. Its students are not only encouraged to succeed academically but to be constructive members of their communities. In an era where school bullying is far too prevalent, French Road students start their day by reciting the school’s Purple Hand Pledge®. It reads, “I Will Not Use My Hands Or My Words For Hurting Myself Or Others.”® It is a simple message that should be emphasized more throughout school communities around the country.” 

Louise M. Slaughter, New York State Representative

“It hurts your family and everyone around you when you don’t listen to the Hands Project. There are 70,000 people in the city of Avondale. Imagine if they all stopped hurting each other. We’d be the safest city ever.” 

Marie Lopez Rogers, Mayor , Avondale, Arizona

“The pledge is a great antiviolence message because it reminds children that words can hurt people as much as physical violence” 

Captain Pete Kortum, Hastings Police Department - Grand Island, NE

“It’s been an effective program” 

Rick Ressel, Grand Island Police Officer, Grand Island, NE

“The words may be simple, but their meaning and effect could be profound. If everyone took this pledge and kept it, the reduction in violence and its dehumanizing, degrading consequences would be dramatic. Whatever our religious tradition, peace and the dignity of self and others are core values.” 

Gail McDougle, President , Salem Ministerial Association - Salem, OR

“Proud to announce that 36 Salem Housing Authority Employees stood together this morning and took the Pledge. We will stand together in this community and believe in the Power of One. Thank You, Ann!” 

Salem Housing Authority Facebook Page

“I find your program has so much more. This appress to have the focus that we are trying to achieve; public awareness on multiple levels.” 

Cindy Downey, Washington County Community Corrections - Portland, OR

“Thank you for sending the info on your project. I have been looking for several years to find a group to put myself, physically and spiritually, behind. In 1990, when I was disabled in the 1st Gulf War, I took a vow of absolute non-violence and have been working hard to keep it — from what I eat, wear and my own actions. Ill help in any way I can — donations from my pittance of a disability payment to distribute pamphlets — Just let me know.” 

Douglas Aaron, M.S.W.