South Jersey natives and mother-son duo, Shirley and Joe Vallee, are tackling bullying head-on with their children’s character, Rainbow Rabbit.
The colorful animal tells the story of a rainbow-colored rabbit who is an outcast in his community because he looks different on the exterior. This story comes at a time when differences in religion, ethnicity, and race are continuously making headlines.
The story of Rainbow Rabbit relays a strong message to children that everyone should be treated equally. The Vallee family aims to address the serious issues affecting today’s youth and to bring about a positive change. Their mission: for youth to flourish and to celebrate their differences in healthy ways.
“Most people have dealt with adversity in their lives, and many have been bullied, which makes you feel like an outsider,” says Joe Vallee. “I was bullied growing up and for a long time I thought that things would never change.”
According to the Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology Center, 40 to 80 percent of adolescents report being bullied at some point during their childhood, with 20 to 30 percent of these youths being bullied repeatedly.
Rainbow Rabbit, which has received praise from local New Jersey educators and former First Lady of California, Maria Shriver, addresses the importance of unity and inclusion and is used as a tool to educate children to understand that everyone is special.
The Rainbow Rabbit organization realizes the significance of empowering children, parents, and educators, who are all navigating their way through tough, challenging times. Our mission is to address the serious issues affecting today’s children.
Arthur Vallee, creator/author of Rainbow Rabbit and former animator for the Walt Disney Company, had a deep love for children. It was his strong belief that this tale of unity and inclusion, with an emphasis on the importance of belonging, would capture the hearts of children and adults. Through the lessons taught in Rainbow Rabbit, we learn that we must remain true to who we are, no matter what the obstacles or pressures might be in our path.
(Source: Media Release)