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Hilmar native and 'Glee' actress to promote anti-bullying book at safety fair
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Five-month-old Kayla Sponaugle smiles while her mother Patricia holds her during a free fingerprinting at the GDI Safety Saturday in 2011. Nearly 200 children received free fingerprinting during the event. - photo by Journal file photo

"Glee" actress Dot-Marie Jones knows what it’s like to be tormented and bullied as a kid. The Hilmar native, who plays Coach Beiste on the hit musical series, will lend a helping hand to a new children’s book that aims to prevent bullying at the GDI Insurance Agency’s third annual Community Safety Saturday on May 18 at the Hilmar Cheese Company.

“Just Like You,” written by Robert Kroupa, is a book about Henry, a deaf field mouse, and Boris, a spider with bad legs, who both get bullied but stick together through thick and thin.

"I'm excited to be invited to participate in Community Safety Saturday and to have the opportunity to meet people and sign the anti-bullying book 'Just Like You,'" said Jones. “Bullying is never good in any circumstance, especially for kids.”

Jones will meet safety fair attendees, sign autographs, and promote the importance of the anti-bullying book.

“When I was growing up, I was bullied and called all sorts of names because of my size,” said Jones. “I had to accept myself and be okay with who I was. Bullying is an epidemic and many people don’t realize how powerful words are.”

The Community Safety Saturday will also feature activities and demonstrations focusing on child, teen, family and community safety. Attendees can expect to receive a wealth of information and resources from many different local and regional organizations.

“We are looking forward to an outstanding Community Safety Saturday by bringing families and safety resources together in a fun environment,” said Grant W. Davis, president of GDI Insurance Agency. “We are very excited to hold the event at Hilmar Cheese Company, and we are thrilled that Dot-Marie Jones, as well as Mark Klaas of the Klaas Kids Foundation will be there.”

The KlaasKids Foundation  was established in 1994 by Marc Klaas to give meaning to the death of his 12-year-old daughter Polly Hannah Klaas who was kidnapped and murdered.  The foundation will supply families with child identification tools at the safety event.

“These tools will include digital fingerprinting and photo IDs, take-home DNA kits and a nine-point safety plan,” said Klaas. “The best way to avoid victimization is through education and knowledge, and that is what KlaasKids provides at the Print-A-Thon.”

Klaas will also debut new child safety technology products including the “Cocoon,” a browser that utilizes the Cloud to protect privacy and provide age-appropriate websites, and “Polly’s Guardian Angel,” a missing-child alert system for the iPhone and Android.

GDI Insurance Agency’s 3rd Annual Community Safety Saturday will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 18 at the Hilmar Cheese Company Visitor Center Park, 9001 Lander Ave., Hilmar.