Frequently Asked Questions
Q: We have a limited budget or no budget at all. How can we hire you to come in?
A: You can save up to 75% if I am touring in your area. Either way, we have many creative options for those who have a limited budget or none at all. To learn more, simply click the “View Funding Options” button below.
One of my live event coordinators will be happy to work out all of the details with you. Don’t worry, if you’re willing to get creative…we can make it work for you.
Q: Do you charge for travel expenses?
A: No. We just include that in the booking fee, because no one likes surprises. When you book me, you will pay one, all-inclusive flat rate. It’s easier on your budget to take care of everything together. Then, you don’t have to worry about getting invoiced at the end of a tour with additional travel, lodging, and food bills, and we don’t have to keep track of a million receipts. :o)
Q: We already have initiatives that address bullying. How would your program work with what we already have?
A: We serve many schools that already have existing programs. I don’t have a program, but rather a psychological approach to social aggression, called the “Peace Sign Approach”. This approach can be implemented alongside your existing initiatives, to increase your effectiveness in dramatically reducing conflict on campus.
It’s as simple as equipping your students with social skills, emotional coping techniques, and conflict resolution skills that they can use in response to mean behavior.
Q: In the past, there’s been a line out of the counselor office after we’ve hosted a speaker. Will hosting you cause reporting to increase?
A: Most anti-bullying programs encourage students to “report all incidents”. This often creates chaos for staff, while the speaker hops on a plane to his next city. My message teaches students to report criminal behavior (when someone tries to harm their body or property), but also teaches them HOW to respond to simple acts of aggression (someone trying to hurt their feelings). I often hear that reporting decreases after my presentation because it teaches the kids how to respond, without the need for adult intervention. This makes the job of educators easier. You don’t need a mountain of paperwork every time a student gets called a name.
If students do come to the office, it’s usually for one of three reasons…
1. To report a criminal act (harm to someone’s body, property, or an individual impersonating another online).
2. To share their story with you.
3. For additional support. Some students may need the help/support of an adult to guide them through implementing the skills that I teach.
Some speakers think that it’s important to make the kids cry or push them until emotion is evoked. The message tends to be more emotional versus practical. I believe this is manipulative and unecessary. Instead, I do my best to share my message with empathy, while still challenging students as I would want a caring adult to challenge me.
Q: Is your presentation high-tech? What kind of equipment is required for us to host your programs?
A: When I speak to students, I only need a quality sound system, microphone, and mic stand. For parents and educators, I also ask for a projector and screen. Nervous that your equipment won’t cut it? No worries, simply let us know at the time of booking. We have equipment on hand for rental, just in case you need it.
Q: Is your assembly entertaining?
A: Yes! I deliver quality content that will inspire and equip your students. Kids often ask if I do stand-up comedy! In addition to psychologically-sound content, you’ll notice clean side-splitting jokes, real-life stories, a pinch of music, illusions, and audience interaction. Sing with me… “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down… in a most delightful way!” (aw… that was precious)
Q: Does your program talk about suicide/self-injurious behaviors?
A: Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss in a large group format, such as a school assembly. Some students may be experiencing suicidal thoughts, while others wouldn’t even consider that to be a viable choice. Research shows that sharing suicide stories with the masses can actually cause the suicide rate to increase. Due to the sensitive nature of this issue, and the fact that we want students to make positive choices, my program teaches students how to become resilient and cope emotionally with difficult situations and feelings.
Renowned therapist, James Lehman, says that “Less than 20% of suicides are caused by depression. The vast majority are caused by a lack of coping skills.” As a former mental health professional and youth treatment specialist, I believe that conversations regarding the delicate issue of suicide are best handled one-on-one with a school-approved mental health professional. My staff and I refer all disclosures of suicidal thoughts, abuse, and/or neglect to the school. To help students that struggle with suicidal thoughts and self-injurious behaviors, my presentation teaches social and emotional coping skills, as well as stories of struggle, where the main character used coping skills to find peace in their life. This is essentially my story. I share the struggle and how I moved beyond it to find hope. I’d rather not focus on negative outcomes when our goal is for students to choose positive ones. Instead, I share with them what’s possible, and encourage them to follow that path.
Q: What type of events do you normally present at?
A: I present at a wide range of student events: elementary, middle, and high school assemblies, student leadership conferences, camps, churches/non-profit organizations, and colleges/universities. I also speak to adults at parenting seminars, staff in-service trainings, and conferences for educators and mental health professionals.
Sorry, but I don’t do birthday parties or funerals. Yes, I HAVE been asked for both… Awkward. 🙁