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Nick Foley, Founder of Celebrate the Hero (INTERVIEW)

Anti-Bullying Initiative

— February 29, 2012 — Social Good
Nick Foley is the founder of Celebrate the Hero, an anti-bullying project that focuses on, as the name suggests, celebrating the daily hero rather than putting the emphasis on the bully. The program involves a mix of social media, presentations and follow-up meetings with the schools.

Nick Foley hopes to reach as many youth as possible, and is looking to adapt students' blog entries into a book that will create a legacy in the eradication of bullying. It's a feeling of sameness that invites discussion and creates a safe space for students to explore the consequences of bullying -- emotional and otherwise.

Four Questions with Nick Foley

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

To be honest it kind of evolved slowly. I was asked by schools and community groups if I would be interested in doing talks, locally, based on the ideology of my book. Often times I was asked if I could tailor the talk around bullying. So after some research I quickly came to the conclusion that many programs that were available concentrated on the “bullying” aspect. I wanted to start an initiative that celebrates the good that people do and take the attention off of the “bullies.” I also felt that as a teacher who has seen many guest speakers come to schools that there was need to design a program that will be implemented and running throughout the entire school year, months after I have presented. I felt that it is equally as important to have an initiative in place that not only motivates but empowers students to make a difference. Not only does this initiative focus on anti-bullying, choices and getting involved but it also encourages students to get involved through literacy.

We feel that through social media avenues and blogging we can give students a voice, by turning their entries into a book we can provide a sense of legacy that they can take with them through their journey, and reflect upon the fact they contributed to a cause.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

I spent six years as a teacher, teaching overseas and in Canada and I certainly loved being one; however I felt that I could make more of a difference if I could turn my attention to what I felt passionate about, and for me it was motivating. I have always wanted to work for myself, and I felt that if I was ever going to do it the time was now. I knew that I wanted my company to do be a success but in doing so I also wanted to create something that could potentially make a difference and contribute to the lives of others. And to me bullying, the importance of getting involved in your life and choices, were three issues that I knew I wanted to be able to touch upon. I quickly found out that there were others that felt the same way and slowly my idea became a reality. We want people to act locally and think globally.

3. How did you get your inspiration?

I am so blessed that I surround myself with such amazing friends and family. My mom and dad have been so supportive throughout my life and I am so lucky to have them. The team at Celebrate the Hero are pretty amazing too; they push me to be better and are continually coming up with new initiatives and missions for our clients. I have to say; reading what young people contribute on our blog is a pretty inspiring part of my job, many entries are so insightful. I love the look on the faces when I am speaking to schools or organizations that say, “I can get involved, I can make a difference.”

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

I enjoy going for walk by the water, whenever I am feeling a bit overwhelmed I find that it helps me re-focus on what it is I am trying to do. I try and take little breaks throughout the day to recharge, sometimes that means reading or writing sometimes it means going to the movies (which I tend to do often). For me it is important to have a healthy balance, of work and living actively, it is difficult at times but I do my best to find it. That said, I literally jump out of bed every morning because I love what I do and what the day brings, having that feeling in itself is what I need to stay creative. As far as rituals go, I guess I like to listen to the same songs before a presentation; it helps to keep me focused. I also touch my faith rock before I leave the house for luck. But that’s a secret.