Host a speaker without the travel costs

Bullying Victim Befriends Bully

How Worst Enemies Became Best Friends

Abby’s story is one of my favorites to tell.  It shares the two simple steps that one middle schooler used to respond to mean behavior and effectively stop it, in less than one week.

This is why the “Peace Sign Approach”  is so powerful.  In this video, I share the secret to helping Abby confront her enemy and find the courage to respond peacefully.  I trust that it will encourage you, whether you’re a student or grownup.  

Believe it or not, you can help a student just like Abby in as little as 5-10 minutes.  I’d love to teach you exactly how to help young people face adversity, grow in resilience, and solve their own social problems.

If you’d like to learn the exact steps that I took to help Abby, click here for a free video training.

Bullying Expert Speaks to Students/Parents at General McLane School District

Youth motivational speaker, Jeff Veley, spoke with hundreds of students in General McLane, from elementary to high school.

An award-winning bullying expert makes his way to the General McLane School District.

Tuesday, Jeff Veley, a youth motivational speaker, used a fun and engaging way to reach students on ways to empower them, and prevent bullying in schools.

He spoke with hundreds of students in General McLane, from elementary to high school, “What we’re sharing is a lot about emotional resilience, teaching kids how, when they’re facing something like bullying, understanding that somebody’s just trying to have power over them, so understanding that they have a choice whether or not to get upset, and then helping them learn some skills so they know what to say when someone’s mean,” said Veley.

Read More…

bullying prevention speaker shares with students

I Hope That My Brother Bullies Me

A Student’s Positive Perspective on Bullying

“I hope that my brother is mean to me”.  A seventh grade boy (whom I’ll call Dylan) shared this with me following a recent school assembly.  As a youth motivational speaker, my goal was to give students a different outlook on bullying.  Still, his words surprised me.  Why would this kid want his brother to mistreat him? 


The Power of Emotional Resilience

In my talk, Dylan learned about emotional resilience.  For the first time in his life, he realized that his brothers mean words were simply the tool being used to psychologically dominate him.  Up unto this point, Dylan had fallen for this trap.  Like most students, he got upset and fought back with more venomous words.  The more upset he got, the meaner his brother was and the more fun he had.  It became a cycle.  During the assembly, he learned that he didn’t have to get upset.  It was his choice whether or not he would give power to the words of others.

“I’m going to try not getting upset the next time he’s mean.” said Dylan. “I bet he won’t have much fun then.”  I smiled and nodded.  Dylan and I reviewed the lesson.  By getting upset when others are mean, we are giving them what they want – power over us.  When we choose instead to stay calm (and not get upset), it becomes nearly impossible for the aggressor to win.  As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”


Developing a Resilient Mindset

As Dylan walked away he exclaimed “I hope my brother is mean”.  “Why would you say that?” I asked.  His response was surprising, yet brilliant.  He wanted his brother to be mean so that he could practice being strong.

My goal is that more students will experience the revelation that Dylan had.  When we view adversity as an opportunity to build our resilience, we’re setting ourselves up for success.  I wish more people had the mindset of this seventh grade boy, when it comes to bullying.  Empowering students and preventing bullying isn’t difficult.  Often it’s as simple as talking through different outcomes to conflicts and allowing kids to practice different ways to resolve it.

When you’re ready, there are 3 ways that I can help you…

1. Check out my free training video on how to stop bullying.
2. Learn the framework that I use to help schools achieve peace on-campus.

Host a Speaker or School Assembly for Red Ribbon Week

Students say “no” to drugs, alcohol, and violence

Red Ribbon Week 2018 will take place October 23-31 at schools across the country.  Donning a red ribbon, many students will pledge to live drug free, as part of on-campus activities.  Sponsored by the National Family Partnership, Red Ribbon Week is a popular time for schools to address substance abuse as well as violence and even bullying prevention.

For youth speakers like Jeff Veley, Red Ribbon Week is an opportunity to talk about mental health and help students focus on their goals and consider how destructive behaviors can be a distraction.  “I love the opportunity to go into schools and talk about relationships and stressors.  No one wakes up and decides that they want to be a drug addict or that drinking will solve their problem.  While we often label peer pressure as the cause, many times students turn to destructive behaviors because they lack positive coping skills.  My hope is that students will hear my message and understand that there are other ways to ‘feel’ and ‘deal’, that won’t lead them down a path of trouble or failure.”

Tips for Planning Red Ribbon Week Activities

1. Develop a leadership team to oversee activities.  It’s often better to have a small group that takes responsibility than to involve many.
2. Download free resources from the Red Ribbon Week website.  Take time to meet and be inspired by what others are doing.  This will help focus your efforts.
3. Start planning a central event early on (this is the climax of the week.  If you want to host a speaker, you may need to book them 3-12 months in advance.  If the speaker you want is not available this year, book them now for next year.
4. Let the students lead.  A small passionate group of students who take ownership can impact an entire campus.  Plus, peer-to-peer education on this topic is incredibly powerful.  It allows students to see that their fellow classmates are making healthy decisions and inspires them to do the same.

Veley and his colleagues describe Red Ribbon Week as one of the busiest weeks of the year.  “Each year, we receive many calls from schools wanting to host a student assembly or a workshop for parents.  It’s challenging because the schedule fills quickly and unfortunately we cannot reach everyone.”

While speakers, like Veley may already be booked for the season, he encourages educators to reach out.  “We know that there’s going to be an influx of requests, so each year we come up with creative solutions.  Through strategic partnerships we’re able to help more schools and, as a result, reach more students with these important messages.

To learn more about Red Ribbon Week and download free resources, visit
To reach Jeff Veley and his team, visit

Article by Jim Scott, the Campus Peace-Building Initiative

Broken Wings, ArtPrize Piece Sheds Light on Bullying, School Shootings

For ten years, artist Pamela Alderman has entered ArtPrize, the largest international art competition, based in Grand Rapids, MI.  This year, Alderman is using butterflies to foster healing discussions around the topics of bullying and school shootings in her piece “Broken Wings”.  Known for her interactive art pieces, Alderman and her team of volunteers offer ArtPrize attendees with a unique participatory experience.

Several years ago, Pamela and I met and started a conversation around bullying and the Golden Rule.  We quickly started to fire off ideas around her ArtPrize 2016 piece.  There was a strong desire to partner again and empower those dealing with bullying.  This year for ArtPrize 10, we’ve come together to create a video series which helps empower both kids and grown ups.  Check out the videos below.  We hope that they encourage you to start your own “butterfly effect” of kindness and grow “resilient wings” when dealing with unkind behavior.  Broken Wings is located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.

Broken Wings Video Series

with Pamela Alderman & Jeff Veley

Helping Kids Learn Coping Skills

Helping Kids Learn Coping Skills

by Jeff Veley & Chris Scheufele | Chris in the Classroom Podcast

It’s true that coping skills are becoming a popular topic of conversation, as we seek to reduce stress and find our happy places, once again.  In an era where adult coloring has become a fad and millenials are opening coffee shops where you can pet cats while sipping your latte, it’s clear that we’re desperate for new ways to cope. Not knowing how to release stress can be detrimental to one’s health.  World-renowned therapist James Lehman said that “Only 20% of suicides are caused by depression.  The vast majority are caused by a lack of coping skills”.  An article by The New York Times reports that more teenagers are suffering from anxiety today than ever before.  After reading this and thinking about the rise in school shootings and teen suicides, I think you’ll agree that “coping skills” should be taught in every home and every classroom.

Four Steps to Cope with Stress

1. Acknowledge Your Elephant

Identify the thing (or things) that are bothering you.  Call them out and stare them in the face.  You cannot form a plan of attack until you know what you are dealing with.


2. Recognize What You Can/Cannot Control

Often we stress outselves out trying to change or control things that we no control over.  This kind of thinking leads to frustration and failure.  The path to positive mental health begins with recognizing which part of the mess is on your side of the fence and only working on that.  Avoid the temptation to “jump the fence and try to fix things at the neighbors”.  Instead, stay in your yard and take responsibility for what you can control.  In the next step you can release the rest. You may find it helpful to review The Serenity Prayer.

3. Create a List of Coping Skills

Make a list of your go-to coping skills.  This is a brain-dump sort of exercise, so don’t pause for reflection or edit your list as you go.  Simply write them down.  Now, seperate your list into positive and negative coping skills.  It’s important to recognize the negative ways that you cope,  as you may defer to these, which could worsen the situation.  Acknowledge that they are there and then cross them out. Finally, seperate your list into two columns…

In the Moment Stress Relief (Anytime/Anywhere)

  • Deep breaths Stretching
  • Recalling a favorite memory
  • Applying hand lotion (soothing)
  • Listening to music
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation
  • Drawing/Doodling (stress scribbling)

Planned Stress Relief (Routine Self-Care)

  • Playing Guitar
  • Riding a Horse
  • Knitting
  • Dancing
  • Painting
  • Running
  • Playing Basketball

4. Limit Stressors

Do what you can to set boundaries and create distance between yourself and the things that are stressing you out.  Going back to the stressful neighbor example (from above), you may need to build a fence between you and your neighbor, if he/she is your stressor.  This may also look like cutting things out of your schedule, unplugging from electronics/media, and making a “me time” appointment each week to release and recharge.

If setting boundaries is an area where you struggle, you may want to grab a coping of the book, “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend or download the audiobook.