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Voya distributes anti-bullying book as part of campaign with nine-year-old author Lily Allison
By: Staff Reporter
Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), a leading provider of retirement plans for educators, announced today that it is taking a stand against bullying by distributing nine-year-old Lily Allison’s book, BE KIND, Silly: A Child’s Quest for a Kinder World, to Niagara Falls City School District in Niagara Falls, NY.
The company announced its collaboration with Allison as part of Voya’s World Kindness Campaign in November 2019. To help spread the message of kindness and anti-bullying, Voya is matching Lily’s book purchases and distributing 1,000 copies of her book, BE KIND, Silly: A Child’s Quest for a Kinder World, to schools across the United States.
“Lily was bullied because of the braces she sometimes wears as a result of having Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a disease that weakens the connective tissues in her body,” said Makayla Allison, Lily’s mother who leads Some1LikeYou — an organization whose mission is to connect individuals with health conditions while promoting the mantra to be kind. “Lily has chosen to teach others to spread kindness as a result of being bullied in the hopes that others never have to experience the way that she felt. The power to change the world lives inside each one of us if we just believe!”
Voya has a strong commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of individuals with special needs and disabilities — as well as their families, caregivers and other providers — through its Voya Cares® program.
“Lily’s messages of kindness and anti-bullying are very much aligned with Voya’s commitment to inclusion for everyone,” said Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO, Voya Financial. “It’s the right thing to do — and its core to who we are, as we pursue our vision to be America’s Retirement Company®.”
Voya and Lily hosted a webinar with the school district as well.
“Students across the Niagara Falls City School District enjoyed Lily’s presentation as well as her message of spreading kindness,” said Cathy Sullivan, intervention coordinator, Niagara Falls City School District. “Students participated in activities connected to the message, such as making posters, buttons and T-shirts. Thank you to Voya for allowing us to participate, and for the beautiful books that were added to our classroom libraries.”
“The heart-warming story and presentation made by Lily was poignant and very well received,” said Mark Laurrie, superintendent, Niagara Falls City School District. “Our students were touched and learned a great lesson through a wonderful story. We were able to provide this because of our collaboration with Voya.”
“It was a pleasure watching Lily engage with the students of the Niagara Falls City School District,” said Lewis D. Custode, Jr., CLU, ChFC, CASL, Regional Vice President, Voya Financial. “Her message was both important and timely, and her enthusiasm was nothing less than contagious!”
Voya was introduced to Lily when she participated in Voya’s Invest in Something Special social media campaign in 2017, which encouraged Special Olympics athletes to share their aspirations beyond sport. Learn more about Voya’s collaboration with Lily and its World Kindness Campaign.