Through her own experiences being bullied in elementary school, longtime Hopkinton resident Cheryl Melody Baskin has come out the other side and is now determined to help other children facing those same issues.
“I know what it’s like to feel isolated, bullied, teased — all those things,” said Baskin, an author, life coach, singer, motivational speaker and playwright. “Everything I’ve done in my professional life has been the result of trying to change the world a little bit by raising awareness in children and adults.”
Through the years, Baskin has been fine-tuning a play she wrote about various types of bullying and social pressures children may be dealing with these days.
The three-act musical theatrical production, “Peace Begins with You and Me,” is an educational resource that seeks to teach children how powerful their words, actions, feelings and thoughts can be. Messages encourage children to turn negative actions into positive actions through anti-bullying, inclusion, empathy and nonviolence.
Baskin wrote the play to include modern-day scenarios that children may be experiencing such as cyberbullying, school shootings, childhood suicide and prejudice, as well as how to change patterns of behavior through teamwork, tolerance, friendships, kindness and using social media for positive changes.
She said with social media a large part children’s lives today, cyberbullying is on the rise and therefore the play certainly is relevant.
“When I was a kid, bullying happened in the neighborhood and school. Now kids can bully online, viciously. Kids have committed suicide because of it,” she said. “I’d love to see social media used more positively; sending positive messages to one another.”
An important part of the play focuses on “peace promises,” during which members of the cast make promises to recognize and change their negative behavior or simply promise to help others in their community, respect their parents, or be kinder.
The script can be edited and used as teachers or organizations see fit.
“The script is flexible and can be used in a small classroom or a full theater experience. It’s a great performing arts opportunity for a classroom, a school, home school, Sunday school — all sized groups,” said Baskin. “It would be great for high school students to perform for elementary students or for a classroom to read aloud in class.”
The script — for sale online through Amazon or Baskin’s website (cherylmelody.com) — includes a director’s guide, song lyrics and music sheets. There are no licensing or royalty fees.
Today, as an adult, Baskin now views her own bullying experiences very differently than when she was a child. “Bad experiences can be gifts,” she said. “They teach us what not to do and what we want to do.”
Editor’s note: This story appears in the April 22 print edition of the Hopkinton Independent.