Profriend is a social awareness campaign designed to positively impact the conversation around bullying and promote kindness, respect, and friendship in action.
In 2014, the Jordan Creek Elementary Kids Care Club was selected to be part of a pilot project sponsored by GenerationOn, in partnership with the American Advertising Federation (AAF), Leo Burnett Chicago, and the University of Illinois AAF. Students from the University of Illinois facilitated focus groups and interviews with Jordan Creek Elementary students to better understand the problem of bullying and how it could be addressed.
Their research led them to several key insights:
- The students were insightful and motivated, and had a desire to make a positive impact.
- Nationally, the focus is on “anti-bullying.” The conversation is about stopping, standing up to, or stomping out bullying.
- The focus should shift from the problem to the solution.
- Students identified that being nice is a powerful way to prevent bullying.
- Instead of anti-bully, the focus should be pro-friend.
Embracing a philosophy of “acts, not ads,” the University of Illinois students hoped to launch a grassroots movement that would reach out from Jordan Creek Elementary to our district, our community, and beyond. They wanted to bring people together, connect them on a human level, and encourage people to be nice to one another. They envisioned a campaign for friends, by friends — a profriend campaign.