+FAQs

How did +Works get started?

+Works (pronounced positive works) was created in April 2010 by Houston moms Sarah Fisher and Trish Morille out of a desire to help their own children and their community to deal with the complicated issue of bullying. They created +Works to:

Spark a parent-driven grass roots movement centered on the idea that authentic community change begins at home with adults and extends out into schools and community organizations.

Connect families and schools to stop the blame game and build the kind of positive, peaceful communities where children are free to be themselves and to learn and grow.

Understand and reframe the social process of bullying — and why we as a society allow it to happen.  +Works supports the philosophy “Bullies only do what bystanders allow,” developed by Drs. Stuart Twemlow and Frank Sacco, as outlined in their book, Why School Antibullying Programs Don’t Work.

Form a common language, discover common ground, and set high expectations for upstanding behavior in our communities as a means for getting ahead of bullying;

Allow interest in the integrated +Works program to “bubble up” into school communities. In other words, +Works does not initiate contact with or “cold-call” schools. The +Conversation begins when +Works is approached by a parent, administrator, counselor or social worker within a school community.

 

 

What makes +Works different from other “anti-bullying” programs?

+Works is quite different from other “anti-bullying” programs.  +Works emphasizes the importance of adults becoming upstanders in their communities so that children can learn from their example. +Works’ vision has expanded beyond bullying to include trending community issues that keep adults and kids in our communities up at night.  Our emphasis is on what we should be doing as a matter of course — treating each other with respect and speaking up constructively when courage and leadership is required.

 

+Works is a parent-created and parent-driven organization.  The majority of  programs that confront bullying are narrowly focused and are often created by experts from academia, education, and the mental health professions. +Works is backed by educators, mental health and medical professionals, but remains centered on the idea that authentic community change starts at home, with parents/guardians, when children are very young, and that educators and all community members play a key supportive role.

 

+Works is grass roots by nature.  Up until now, the organization has grown its support base and spread its message entirely through word of mouth.

 

+Works’ integrated +Family and +School programs offer a mindset, not a curriculum. +Works sparks discussions within school communities and organizations about whom they want to be, how they want to treat each other, how they want to live, work, and play together. +Works offers +Guides for families and schools, and encourages an organic, collaborative process in lieu of a set, “step by step” curriculum.

 

+Works endeavors to wrap consistent messaging around children in school communities, from home to homeroom, from home plate to the boardroom. With innovative and attractive +Visual reminders, families and schools can provide visual cues for adults and students to remember the high expectation for positive behavior and to gently remind each other of the community’s collective goal to live vibrantly and peacefully.

 

+Works brings people together via +Roundtables of school leaders, +Team leaders, +PTO/A leaders and +Athletics/PE teachers and coaches to support each other and to share ideas for building community on their respective campuses.

 

+Works is complimentary to other school programs. +Works is at work in public, private, and parochial schools.

 

+Works asks its member +Schools to:

• commit to a minimum three-year process;

survey parents, teachers, and students once a year;

• display +Visual reminders on campus in the places negative choices tend to happen;

wrap their own unique culture around the +Works mindset.

 

 

 

Why does this program focus initially on parents, educators, and coaches — instead of children?
At +Works, we believe that parents and guardians are a child’s first, best and forever teachers – and that educators and coaches have an incredibly vital role to play as well.  We strongly believe that we, as the adults in the community, must model the behavior we want to see in our children.  When we learn, as adults, to manage our own daily power struggles more effectively and peacefully, we can then — and only then — more authentically coach our children, students, and players to do the same.

 

Do I have to live in Houston to be a member of +Works?

+Works will announce an expansion of our +School Community program this Fall!  Please join our +Email List to receive our +SNAX blog and the latest +Works news.

Regardless of where you live in the United States, YOU can join the +Movement!  Any parent in any state in the United States can become a member of +Works by purchasing the +Family membership. The +Family Membership includes our +Parenting Guide on CD plus our +Family visual reminders for $25 plus Texas state sales tax for Texas residents. Shipping to anywhere in the United States is included.

Start a +Parent Support Circle in your neighborhood! Whether you live in Houston or Boston or Minneapolis, you can join — and boost — the +Movement by starting a +Parent Support Circle. Two moms in Houston started circles that are nine- and ten-Moms strong and that represent six and nine schools in each group, respectively. These +Circles provide a anchor place for parents who parent in a similar but not identical way, by people who believe and want to raise their families around the +Works mindset.

 

 

 

Which schools have joined the +School Community program?

Annunciation Orthodox School*, Houston TX

Awty International School*, Houston TX

Durham Elementary School*, (HISD), Houston TX

Frostwood Elementary School*, (SBISD), Houston TX

Kolter Elementary School*, (HISD),  Houston TX

Mark Twain Elementary School*, (HISD), Houston TX

Pershing Middle School (HISD)*, Houston TX

Roberts Elementary School  (HISD)*, Houston TX

St. Mark’s Episcopal School*, Houston TX

St. Michael Catholic School*, Houston TX

St. Paul’s School*, Houston TX

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School*, Houston TX

*Founding +School Community

 

What is involved in becoming a +School Community?

Prospective +School Communities:

• Need  buy-in from parents and educators, including your PTO president, your principal/head of school, on-campus mental health professionals, lead teachers;

• Must commit to a three-year commitment at a cost of $5 per student per year, with a cost cap of $3500 per year and a cost minimum of $1000 per year;

• Must commit to conducting baseline and annual surveys of parents, teachers and students, with Survey Monkey links provided by +Works;

• Must be willing to display +Works’ +Visual reminders on your campus;

• Interested in joining other +School Communities in conference call +Roundtables of school leaders, +Team leaders, +PTO/A leaders, and +Athletic Directors/Coaches to discuss and share success and challenges as experienced by stakeholders within their communities (We are all in this together and have much to share!).

 

 

My child is struggling with bullying and seems to be stuck in the role of the bully. What can I do today?

First of all, we want you to know that “true bullies” are rare. True bullies are human beings who lack the capacity to feel or empathize with the people they have harmed by their actions. Bullying behavior, however, is rampant in our society, and if you feel your child is stuck in the role of bully, there is hope for you and your child. Just the fact that you are on this page is a great first step. We understand there can be an ovewhelming sense of shame and helplessness when children get stuck in the roles of bully, target, or bystander.

 

At +Works we reframe the issue of bullying.  Bullying is not a person  — it’s a complicated social process that we enable by our non action.  We just need to get real about this issue. Bullying occurs wherever human beings gather. It is normal, negative behavior that we, as a society, have to learn to manage better.  We need to stop labeling children and adults as bullies, victims, and bystanders, so they can have the chance to “unstick” themselves from these negative roles and become upstanders.

 

If your child is suffering, stuck in the role of bully:

First, look honestly at your own behavior as an adult (parent or guardian) in his or her life. Ask yourself if your child is:

• Consistently encouraged to own and apologize in person for their negative choices;

• Encouraged to put themselves in the shoes of others;

• Exposed to or has unsupervised access to advanced technology, including social networking and online entertainment;

• Exposed on a regular basis to M(mature)-rated video games or PG-13 and/or R-rated entertainment.

 

Bullying is learned behavior. Learned behavior CAN be unlearned and turned around with love and consistency from home to homeroom.


 

 

My child is struggling with bullying and seems to be stuck a in the role of the target. What can I do today?

Bullying behavior is rampant in our society, and if you feel your child is stuck in the role of target (we cannot stand the word victim!), there is hope for you and your child. We understand from personal experience the overwhelming sense of shame and helplessness parents feel when children get stuck in the roles of bully, target or bystander.

 

At +Works we reframe the issue of bullying.  Bullying is not a person  — it’s a complicated social process that we enable by our non action. It is important to remember that we all – adults and children – play the roles of bully, target, and bystander – from time to time. We just need to get real about this issue. Bullying occurs wherever human beings gather. It is normal, negative behavior that we, as a society, have to learn to manage better.  We need to stop labeling children and adults as bullies, victims and bystanders, so they can have the chance to “unstick” themselves from these negative roles and become upstanders.

 

If your child is suffering, stuck in the role of target:

First, look honestly at your own behavior as an adult (parent or guardian) in his or her life. Ask yourself if you are:

• Modeling the behavior you want to see in your child. Are you the target of bullying behavior at home, at work, in your neighborhood?  If so, please consider that your child may be learning this negative behavior from you and the manner in which you handle your daily power struggles.

• Getting the whole 360-degree story from your child. You may believe that you know your child better than anyone and that your connection is such that your child is such that you know and believe everything they have told you about their social experiences at school and beyond. We have learned as parents ourselves that our children don’t always have the motivation or developmental savvy to share all of the relevant details of a given situation or series of events. In short, kids are smart and tell us frequently what they think we want to hear. We have to be savvy in return and ask a lot of questions — of our child and of the parents of the other children involved. We have to be open to the whole story in order to help unstick our children from the difficult role of target.

• Allowing your child the opportunity to work through this challenge on their own;

• Advising your child to “walk away,” “ignore the bully,” or “fight back.”  We believe strongly that children (and adults) who are stuck in the target role need to learn to speak up in the moment, assertively, and with dignity to bust free of their stuck, negative role. THIS IS NOT EASY but learning to speak up can change someone’s life for the better.

 

My child is struggling with bullying and seems to be stuck a in the role of bystander. What can I do today?

At +Works we reframe the issue of bullying.  Bullying is not a person  — it’s a complicated social process that we enable by our non action.  We just need to get real about this issue. Bullying occurs wherever human beings gather. It is normal, negative behavior that we, as a society, have to learn to manage better.  We need to stop labeling children and adults as bullies, victims, and bystanders, so they can have the chance to “unstick” themselves from these negative roles and become upstanders.

 

If your child is suffering, stuck in the role of bystander:

First, look honestly at your own behavior as an adult (parent or guardian) in his or her life. Ask yourself if you are:

• Modeling upstanding behavior at home, at work, and in your neighborhood. Do you speak up in the moment, assertively, and with dignity when faced with bullying or negative behavior — or do you simply stand by and wait for others to do the hard work of speaking up?

• Encouraging upstanding behavior by sharing examples of when you speak up with success — and when it doesn’t go so well and you wish you had done a better job.

When we find our +Voices as adults, only then can we authentically coach our children and our students to do the same.


 

What are the +Talks?

+Works holds +Talks (Positive Talks) to provide a forum for addressing trending community issues. As a catalyst for positive community change, +Works is committed to bringing people together around the issues that keep adults and kids up at night, issues like mental health, risky tween and teen behaviors, the complications of advanced technology, and hyper competitiveness.

 

 

Why should a company become a +Biz?

Supporting this cause makes your company a driver of positive change. Together we’ll tackle the national bullying epidemic by being in action at the community level. A +Biz expands the reach of the +Works mission and supports +Families and +Schools in doing so. Moreover, a +Biz has the opportunity to realize the bottom line benefits creating an upstanding business culture can generate such as increased productivity, retention and creativity.

 

To become a +Biz an organization must:
1) Share in the +Works mission.
2) Serve as upstanding citizens in the community.
3) Commit to support +Works financially (cash or in-kind).
4) Model the +Mindset inside their organization empowering upstanders, saying no to gossip and enforcing a zero tolerance policy for adult nonaction on bullying in the workplace and in the community.

 

Those who give, get back from the +Biz program. For details on levels of support, associated costs, exposure and added value offerings, contact us.

See the companies that are part of the +Biz program here.

 

How can a nonprofit organization become a +ORG?

+ORGs (Organizations Reaching for Good) are nonprofit partners that support the mission and philosophy of +Works. These like-minded organizations cultivate the +Mindset within their own initiatives and collaborate with +Works to raise funds, expand our knowledge, and provide exposure, which expands the reach and impact of our work.

 

The work we do together with +ORGs can vary from traditional fundraisers such as the West U Rotary Club golf tournament of which +Works was benefactor—to events and cultural experiences such as the Find Your Voice Concert +Works promoted in conjunction with Music Doing Good. +ORGs also support the cause with advice and knowledge. For example, Mental Health America of Greater Houston has been doing just that since representatives from the organization attended our first +Rally in the fall of 2010.

 

If you’re interested in becoming a +ORG we’d love to hear your ideas of how we can work together. Contact us.

Click here to read more about our +ORGs.

 

 

 

 

 

What does it cost to join the +Movement?

Joining the +Movement as a +Family costs just $25 (plus Texas state sales tax for Texas residents). Please visit our +Store and purchase the +Full Family Membership, which includes our +Parenting guide on CD and our +Visuals. Membership automatically puts you on our +Works email list, which will keep you up to date on all +Works news and events.

 

Joining the +Movement as a +School Community is an organic process that take a different shape in every school community considering our program. When a school community joins our +School Community program, they commit to a cost of $5 per student per year for three years, with a minimum of $1000 per year and a cap of $3500 per year.