Stand Up Against Bullying: A Night of Comedy for a Good Cause is a Great Success!

On July 11th, supporters of RESPECT gathered for a lively evening dedicated to RESPECT at the Scottish Rite.  With proceeds going to RESPECT, the night featured a silent auction, performance by RESPECT Actor-Educators and headline performance by comedian John Bush.  With sponsors including the African Culture Club; Centris Federal Credit Union, D.A. Davidson & Co.; Frankel Zacharia, Pinnacle Bank; Scott & Cindy Heider; Don Waggoner Insurance Agency;  Sonny Gerber Auto; OBI Creative, Regal Printing, and the Scottish Rite, the night exceeded RESPECT’s fundraising goals.

In addition to the entertainment, RESPECT honored three individuals dedicated to the success of the organization:

Garett Garniss received the Employee of the Year Award. Garett joined the RESPECT team in the summer of 2017.  It’s hard to believe that he has only been with the company for 2 years considering how integral he has become to RESPECT.  Garett hit the ground running, not only showing himself as an excellent actor, but he also immediately took on the rigorous job of our props manager and stepped up to learn how to be a moderator during our programs.  If you come to one of the shows in which Garett is performing, you can see how he interacts with audiences of all ages with ease whether it be a small, quiet group or in a gymnasium with hundreds of students eager to get up on stage with him.  Garett continuously demonstrates the professionalism and accountability that keeps RESPECT running. Most recently, he took on the huge task of streamlining our moderating notes to ensure the quality of the talkbacks. First and foremost, Garett is sincere and cares about the messages that RESPECT endorses. We are thankful that he plays such an important role in our work, reaching thousands of students each year.

Kevin Hutchison was awarded with the Volunteer of the Year Award.  Kevin is the Past Chairman of the RESPECT Board. He joined the Board in 2014.  During that time period there is no role that he has not played. He has been involved at some level on every board committee. As a Vice President of Business Development & Client Service for OBI Creative, he has been particularly instrumental in leading the application process for the award of RESPECT’s BBB Award, as well as guiding the organization through the many facets of reviewing how it presents itself through a variety of lenses such as our branding, media, materials and so forth. He, with the generous support of OBI Creative, shared interns with us and also helped to initiate this fundraiser now in its third year.

Doug Marr was honored with the first RESPECT Community Partner of the Year Award.  Doug is a longtime staple of the Omaha theatre community, widely known for his acting and writing talent, as well as for running the Circle Theatre for many years, along with his wife Laura, an award winning actress and teacher.  While many of RESPECT’s staff members had been involved with Doug throughout their acting careers, RESPECT’s formal relationship with him began when Completely KIDS approached RESPECT in 2014 asking that we absorb their educational theatre prevention programs on the topics of Internet Safety and Child Sexual Abuse.  One of those plays, “The Adventures of Natalie the Net Nanny” was written for Completely KIDS by Doug Marr and we were thrilled to not only take on a new play, but to be able to work with the original playwright himself. Doug graciously worked with RESPECT throughout the process. He provided feedback as we adapted the program to fit RESPECT’s format and update the play. As we all know technology changes rapidly and requires us to make multiple changes to a script.  We know that as a playwright, it can be difficult to see one’s original content changed and we appreciate Doug’s willingness to work with RESPECT to make sure that the children we reach through his work and creativity receive important information about navigating cyber-bullying or online predators. His contribution to RESPECT makes it possible for us to help keep thousands of children safe online and in person each year!