Hanna Maier, 12, of Prospect Park, Pa., a seventh-grader at Prospect Park School, has persuaded four Pennsylvania towns to adopt anti-bullying resolutions and initiated annual community walks that have drawn more than 700 participants over the past two years to discourage bullying and promote kindness among kids. "After being bullied by a fellow student and watching other children being bullied, I wanted to do something," said Hanna. "I wanted to make a change for myself and for my peers."
Hanna discussed her desire with her mother, and together they researched the issue of bullying and sought advice from national anti-bullying initiatives. Then Hanna asked her borough council to pass two resolutions declaring Prospect Park a "compassionate borough" and a "bully-free zone." After their adoption, three other towns in Pennsylvania passed similar resolutions at Hanna's request. Next, Hanna decided to organize a walk as "a way for other kids to get involved in spreading bullying awareness." She asked local businesses and organizations to sponsor the walk, and raised enough money to give each participating child a free T-shirt. The first walk attracted 125 walkers, but the second drew approximately 600 after Hanna's school district got involved. Hanna also started a kids kindness club in her town, and is using some of the money she's raised to buy "friendship benches" for the schools in her district.