LOS ANGELES — Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill joined X Games skateboarder Jordyn Barratt at a school assembly in support of Shred Hate, a bullying prevention program the Dodgers are participating in, partnering with ESPN, MLB and X Games. The assembly was held for 200 students at Edgewood Academy in La Puente, Calif., 20 minutes east of Dodger Stadium.
“I was approached by the club to go and talk to the middle school, and I absolutely want to share whatever I can to help kids along their journey,” Hill said. “Possibly, I can give them a few tools to help them in situations that might be challenging.”
Hill said he hopes it’s helpful for middle schoolers to know that even professional athletes were once in their shoes.
“In middle school, we all remember that’s probably the toughest time coming up, trying to fit in, there’s a lot of stuff going on those three years,” Hill said. “The message I tried to give was, whatever it is, opinions or any outside factors that people may be judging you on, at the end of the day, they don’t have ownership over you. Your hard work and love for what you do will shine through and continue to persevere through tough moments.”
The Dodgers have partnered to bring the program to a dozen schools throughout Los Angeles that have adopted the Shred Hate program and adopted the No Bully System, which has proven to dramatically reduce incidents of bullying in schools. The assembly was designed to encourage students to continue to prevent bullying in their school in the hopes of creating a positive and motivational atmosphere.
As part of the program, No Bully, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that trains and gives schools the tools to activate student compassion as a method for eradicating bullying and cyberbullying, provides innovative bullying prevention programs and works directly with local school districts and cooperating schools.
ESPN launched Shred Hate with X Games in 2017, and schools that have gone through the program last year reduced instances of bullying by 90 percent. Since its inception, nearly 90,000 students across dozens of schools have participated in Shred Hate programming in the 2017-19 school years in Aspen (Colo.), Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.
The goal of the day was to celebrate the youth in their progress with Shred Hate so far, while also sharing messages and tips on how they can continue to “choose kindness” throughout their school experience.
After the assembly, the Dodgers hosted students from all 12 Shred Hate schools in Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium for the series finale against the Braves.
“Overall, it was a great day, and I was really happy I was invited and able to give some of my advice,” Hill said.