We love it when celebrities and others with social prominence share their talents with the causes that most touch their hearts. Like our founder, Peter Yarrow, and his daughter Bethany who we thanked a couple of weeks ago, and Noel Paul Stookey, our wonderful board member who gives so much of his time and talent to Operation Respect, Lady Gaga has also committed to creating a kinder, braver world through her Born this Way Foundation.
Launched in 2012 and co-founded by Lady Gaga’s mother, Cynthia Germanotta, the Foundation has created a map of 2,500 global resources to connect, support and inspire young people, and they provide a safe platform for young people to share their stories and inspire others to be kind and brave. These resources are so critical to youth who struggle with issues of bullying and isolation, to help them understand they are not alone, and to show them where they can seek help close to home.
Lady Gaga has openly shared her own painful and devastating experiences with bullying, as a student who did not fit in with her peers, and empathizes with young people who are struggling with these same issues in their schools and communities. Operation Respect admires her passionate devotion of time and energy to finding ways to inspire young people to stand up for one another and to be more compassionate and kind.
Born this Way recently partnered with Phil Anschutz and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to also challenge America’s cities to be kind and, as a result, 200 mayors unanimously voted to commit 100 billion acts of kindness, working in partnership with young people, activists and community leaders throughout the country.
We particularly like the Foundation’s work to promote an online community for high school students and teachers to help them collaborate and inspire each other to create positive environments in their schools, and online as they strive to combat bullying and harassment through social media. This kind of effort is a terrific next step and companion for our Don’t Laugh at Me “Building Community” theme, and, particularly, as an extension of the Conscious Acts of Caring lesson.
Thank you, Lady Gaga and Cynthia Germanotta, for emulating kindness, bravery and empathy, and for being a positive force for change, and an inspiration for people of all ages throughout the world.