“If you don’t have anything kind to say, don’t say it. Don’t be a bystander to these girls; if someone’s being bullied, speak up.” –Lauren Parsekian
Lauren’s mission in life was born out of her own darkness. During her middle school years, the group of girls she’d been friends with turned on her. “I was ostracized and bullied by these girls who had been my friends. It became so awful for me that I developed an eating disorder and attempted suicide.”
What got Lauren through this difficult time was the support of her family and friends, as well as a Christian Youth Organization. “The young leaders of the organization really served as mentors for me. They saved me because I felt comfortable being myself and when I was there I wasn’t worrying about everything going on in school.”
After graduating from high school, Lauren attended Pepperdine University as a film student. It was there that fate stepped in and placed Lauren on her current path. “Tom Shadyac contacted our department looking for interns for his documentary I AM. I worked as an intern and did some camera work on that film. That really turned me on to the world of documentaries and I decided to take my passion for healing this fighting among girls and do a documentary about it. I took my idea to Tom and he gave me the funding.”
Finding Kind, the resulting documentary she produced with her business partner Molly Stroud, documents their quest to find a common ground of kindness and mutual respect that will end girl on girl bullying. Interviewing women and girls across the country about their lives and experiences, their goal is to focus on the similar experiences we all go through, so females may find a common bond. “We’re not suggesting all women and girls will be best friends, but are simply promoting a level of respect among each other.”
The documentary also inspired them to launch Kind Campaign, a non-profit organization that seeks to bring awareness and healing to the negative effects of girl on girl abuse.
Lauren and Molly travel to schools across the country screening their documentary and promoting dialogue between girls. They have developed a curriculum that they present with the film that will further the conversation. Their goal is for the girls to start their own ‘kind club’ and continue the movement toward healing.
The documentary is slated for theatrical distribution in September, and they have designated the last week in September as ‘Kind Week.’
“We’re not saying we want all women and girls to hold hands together and sing Kumbaya. Our goal is simply for women and girls to be conscious of the way they’re treating each other.”
To find out more about Lauren and Molly’s mission or schedule a screening of Finding Kind for your school go to findingkind.com or kindcampaign.com