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Harlem Globetrotters Spread Anti-Bullying Message

Hammer Harrison paid a visit to various Tampa schools on Wednesday, including Citrus Park Elementary.

The kids at Citrus Park Elementary were treated to a tall order of fun on Wednesday.

Harlem Globetrotter and Tampa resident Hammer Harrison paid the school a visit to spread an anti-bullying message and encourage the students to follow their goals.

The Harlem Globetrotters will appear at the USF Sun Dome in March for their 2013 "You Write the Rules" tour. But before that appearance, the team thought it was important to reach out into the community.

"The Globetrotters are known for their community outreach," said Sara Webster, spokeswoman for the USF Sun Dome.

Harrison was greeted with a big applause and the traditional Harlem Globetrotters music as he ran out to greet Citrus Park students seated in the covered outdoor gymnasium area on Wednesday.

He performed signature Globetrotter moves like spinning the ball on his head and invited some lucky students to join him.

But Harrison's real message was more serious.

Harrison used his time at the school to explain the team's "ABCs of Bullying Prevention" program, which was designed in coordination with the National Campaign to Stop Violence to help reduce bullying and violence among youth in our schools and communities.

"If you see bullying, it's up to you to do something," he told the crowd. "Like telling your parents or teachers."

The A is for "Action." The B is for "Bravery." And the C is for "Compassion."

Harrison got the crowd involved by inviting students up to recreate A,B,C using their bodies and hands.

Preventing bullying goes beyond standing up for yourself, he said.

"It's important that you stand up for others as well," Harrison explained.

The students sat in awe of the 6-foot-9-inch tall  player dressed in his red, white and blue Harlem Globetrotter warm-up suit.

The Globetrotters were founded more than 80 years ago and have toured more than 100 countries annually in addition to staging various community and school outreach programs.

"We were really excited because we know the kids look up to famous people," said Citrus Park Principal Joan Bookman, about hearing that the Globetrotters had chosen her school to make an appearance.

Harrison had also traveled to Pizzo Elementary and Villa Madonna School on Wednesday.

While Citrus Park Elementary doesn't have a big bullying problem, staff remains proactive at keeping it that way, Bookman said.

"We continuously reinforce the fact that it's not appropriate," she said.

Want To See The Harlem Globetrotters?

The Harlem Globetrotters are bringing their spectacular 2013 “You Write the Rules” World Tour to the USF Sun Dome on Saturday, March 2, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. More information can be found at www.harlemglobetrotters.com

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