BY ROSA GARCIA
Photo courtesy of The Chaparral. Families walk into the entrance of the Safety Expo event.
On a cool 64 degree Saturday at the Little League Opening Day event, the Palm Desert police and fire department hosted a Safety Expo that sponsored the Boo2Bullying organization and kicked off the day with a softball game against local news anchors and reporters.
Dimitri Halkidis, president and founder of the Boo2Bullying Organization (B2B) said, “This is our 2nd year at this event. Last year we were here and we really loved it. It’s a really great way to do community outreach and bring awareness to the topic of bullying.”
The B2B Organization is a non-profit group that was founded by Dimitri Halkidis in 2011. Located in Palm Springs, the organization is dedicated to helping today’s youth that experience bullying and to transform them into strong and empowered individuals.“11,761 students have been helped throughout our organization and still counting,” said Halkidis.
“Not only do we help the kids, but also the parents that have lost a kid due to suicide. We also help kids that are bullies, and the kids that are standing around doing nothing when they see that. So it’s a triangle we try and educate on all aspects of the circle,” said Halkidis. The organization is inclusive for everyone, LGBT, special needs, high-risk students and parents.
Bullying is a major issue that not only happens at school but also outside of school through cyber-bullying. Today’s youth are greatly affected by cyber-bullying as these people can physically and emotionally hurt them. B2B offers programs within its organization to help those who need it most.
B2B is very beneficial to those needing help. The programs include public outreach, school assembly, art therapy, donations for kids and mentoring. “Our programs are free. We get funded by grants or by the kindness of families and friends or donors that really like what we do,” says Halkidis.
The Little League’s Opening Day event went from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Throughout the day families enjoyed the little league games, including a wide range of family fun entertainment. There were bounce houses, face-painting, arts and crafts for the kids. There were a variety of food vendors like E&E Pel’s Lemonade and Orange, an exclusive In-N-Out truck and Mexican delight Los Tio’s Tacos as well as traditional ballpark peanuts, crackers and ice cream.
Staecey Austin, the community service officer of Riverside County’s Sheriffs Department said, “This event is a combination of opening day of little league baseball and a safety expo. Including a fun softball game. It is Palm Desert fire vs. Palm Desert police with KESQ and NBC Palm Springs.”
The kickoff softball game featured television personalities from NBC Palm Springs and KESQ and was exciting for the families and the general public to watch. Both news stations were partnered with the city’s police and fire department. After nine intense innings, NBC Palm Springs and Palm Desert Fire won the game scoring 5-3. The grand prize was a pink flamingo trophy presented by the JW Marriott.