La Mesa, CA | 18
2014 Award Recipient
Sitting through a fairly typical school lecture about the ills of bullying, Jacob Gardenswartz was inspired to find a more captivating way to get teens to empathize with their peers. Drawing from his passion for theatre, Jacob collaborated to create Theater Of Peace (TOP), a teen theatre troupe that blends anti-bullying and pro-peace messaging with the dynamic energy of live performances, bringing a new twist to anti-bullying programming at schools across San Diego. The troupe develops short skits and interactive lessons that teach children how to become “upstanders”, not “bystanders”. By both encouraging the audience to share their solutions on how to best combat bullying, and providing schools with post-performance curricula, TOP turns listeners into participants and ensures that the conversations continue long after the curtain call. This unique approach has successfully rallied 4,000 students around Jacob’s cause and helped TOP to raised nearly $10,000. Jacob is currently working with several businesses to implement his program as part of their sexual harassment and workplace violence training.