The walk begins at 9 am. on Saturday, August 4, at Noble Park's Greenway Trail. Registration opens at 8 am. Preston Cope and Bailey Holt, the students killed in the Marshall County High School shooting, will be the honorary grand marshals and their families will lead the walk. #belikeBailey and #playlikePreston bracelets will be given to the first 500 participants who visit the Baptist Health Paducah booth.
“The goal is to bring not only our community together, but also students, parents, teachers, coaches, ministers, police, friends, neighbors and business leaders from communities around the region,” said 15 year old Morgan Guess - co-founder of the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation.
“We may live in one community, but we compete on fields and courts with students from all across the region,” said Guess. “As well as our friends at church and at social gatherings that extend far beyond the borders of McCracken County. We are focused on creating a fun event to start the school year off with a focus on kindness. It is about building friendships and opening a discussion about how kindness can lead the way to a better school culture and stronger communities.”
Ice Cream, KIND bars & a foam machine!
Cheerleaders from around the region, together with the Paducah Tilghman High School drumline, will join the Holt and Cope families at the start of the walk. Electric 96.9 will be playing music, the Paducah Bank Wow! Wagon will have free ice cream, and Banks Grocery will provide water. Texas Roadhouse will have a station with tea, lemonade and water along the trail and the KIND Company has donated 500 protein bars. A foam machine will greet participants when they return from the walk and the Paducah Fire Department will offer the opportunity to spray off the color.
Registration is $10 and includes a t-shirt for all participants who pre-register. Shirts will be available for walk-up registrations on August 4 while supplies last. The registration form can be found at guessantibullying.com. Updates to the walk can be found on the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation Facebook page.
Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation
Morgan and her mother, Susan Guess, founded the Guess Anti-Bullying Foundation in 2012 as a result of Morgan’s personal experience with bullying. Since then, the duo have sponsored authors, filmmakers, and speakers at local schools. They successfully lobbied the legislature for a bill to formally define bullying in Kentucky. Governor Matt Bevin signed the bill into law in April of 2016 and the definition impacts all 1,233 public schools and 640,000 Kentucky students. They also added a #bekindpaducah mural on the back of the MAKE building at the corner of 7th and Broadway and worked with Four Rivers Behavioral Health to open a mental health drop in center for young people ages 16 to 25.
Morgan believes students must know that every member of the community is committed to being kind. "We can't just tell students to be kind," she said. "For young people to believe in kindness and to see its power, we must see it practiced by every adult around us as well."