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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 30, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 48
'Friends don't let friends bully'
Section One
ALL STORIES
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'Friends don't let friends bully'

Free2Luv honored as 2012 top-rated nonprofit

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

The anti-bullying group Free2Luv announced November 26 that it has been honored with a prestigious 2012 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.

Tonya Sandis, CEO and co-founder of Free2Luv, a nonprofit dedicated to ending bullying, spreading love, and stopping hate, told Seattle Gay News, 'We are excited to be named a Top-Rated 2012 Nonprofit. We are proud of our accomplishments this year, and passionate about getting our Friends Don't Let Friends Bully program into communities nationwide in 2013.'

RAVE REVIEWS
The Top-Rated Nonprofit Award was based on the large number of positive reviews that Free2Luv received - reviews Sandis says 'were written by volunteers, donors, clients, and the public at large.'

People posted their personal experiences with the nonprofit.

'Free2Luv is a beautiful nonprofit organization that is helping change the world through their youth programs that teach love, compassion, acceptance, and understanding in place of hate and violence. Their Friends Don't Let Friends Bully programs are making schools safer for our children. Our children living with acceptance and peace will not only change the world today but for future generations to come,' said one of the reviews.

Free2Luv has branched out from being just a neighborhood nonprofit into the mainstream. Actress and Free2Luv Ambassador Thea Gill joins other celebrities - Fran Drescher, Carmen Electra, and Gabrielle Anwar, to name a few - who are passionate about celebrating individuality.

Gill wrote, 'As someone who has experienced and observed bullying in my youth and as an adult, I understand and empathize with those individuals who are looking for someone or a group that will offer a consistent ear and strong guidance during frightening times of alienation and desperation that can lead to self-destructive behavior and suicide. When I was approached by Free2Luv to support this global organization, I found the CEO, Tonya Sandis, to be an exemplary model of kindness, warmth, and dedicated hard work. It is these qualities that make this commendable movement one of the most accepting new anti-bullying groups I've been introduced to.'

A WORTHY CAUSE
'We are gratified by Free2Luv for its work,' said Perla Ni, CEO of GreatNonprofits. 'They deserve to be discovered by more donors and volunteers who are looking for a great nonprofit to support.'

Being on the Top-Rated List comes at an important time of the year, as donors look for causes to support during the holiday season. It also coincides with the first anniversary of Free2Luv, an organization committed to ending bullying and celebrating individuality in our youth.

Free2Luv recently released an anthem, currently available on iTunes, to raise funds for its bullying prevention community program.

'Because music is a universal language, we are using it to reach our youth and truly make an impact,' said Sandis. 'When we go into schools and communities, we want our children to know that they are powerful and they have a voice, and it is important to use it for good. We believe the bullying epidemic begins with low self-esteem and if we work to change that, we can change the face of this epidemic.'

With the rise in teen suicides, it is Free2Luv's passion to reach as many communities and children as possible to spread the word that each child has their own unique purpose, said organization officials.

Through its social awareness campaign, community outreach, celebrity ambassadors, youth advocates, and corporate alliances, Free2Luv is breaking down the barriers of hate and celebrating everyone's individuality and freedom to love.

For more information, contact Tonya Sandis at info@free2luv.org, or visit www.free2luv.org.

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