These are times of great social and political upheaval and unrest. Divisiveness runs rampant and harmful rhetoric is the order of the day. One determined, modern character wants to make changes where they’re needed most.
EL PASO, TX, August 21, 2019 /Neptune100/ — Less than twelve hours after the El Paso shooting, shots rang out in Daytona; a sound all too familiar by now. Toley Ranz had only just gotten to sleep after a long day of affecting change for children everywhere. Wiping its many braids sleepily from its face, Toley stared in disbelief at the television. As somebody who was literally created to help children, Toley Ranz knew in that moment what it must do. At barely two feet tall, going to El Paso and Dayton was never going to be an easy mission, but under these circumstances it was going to be impossible. Toley persevered for the children.
After struggling to explain its preferred pronouns* to the confused, but well meaning air hostess, Toley settled in for an uneventful flight to El Paso. As it dozed in its seat, it could hear the news anchors and reporters theorizing, shifting blame, spewing vitriol, and doing the same thing Toley had heard after the last shooting and the shooting before that. In fact, there were more shootings than Toley could even remember which was which! But beyond all of that bad noise, Toley could hear something more; a general agreement that ‘enough is enough’ and Toley knew the time was now.
‘What kind of world is this? Why are people doing these things? Doesn’t anyone care about the children?’
All of these thoughts spiraled throughout the (literally and figuratively) fuzzy head of Toley Ranz as it drifted off into sleep. Until that moment, it didn’t know exactly what had set it on this impossible journey — other than to fight hate, of course — but now Toley could see how to fight it! Toley knew that hate and intolerance were rooted in ignorance and nothing more. All of the rhetoric and dog whistles and warnings were all derived from a lack of knowledge about others. Toley Ranz, being an expert on bullying, was ready to jump into the fray; to seize the day and take action in an oppressive, destructive society in a state of sad decay. Toley wanted to implement its teachings— no, wait, scratch that — it wanted to implement itself in every classroom in the country. It wanted to comfort the little children who couldn’t make heads or tails of what was going on. It wanted to hold the hand of the baby in that El Paso Walmart whose parents both died to protect him. It wanted to hug that baby’s older sister, who wasn’t in Walmart that day, but who is now orphaned.
‘Those parents were buying school supplies!’ This thought was enough to make Toley cry out loud and throw up its hands.
However, Toley did not do this. It would never do this. Instead Toley grabbed a pen and paper. While the pen proved rather difficult in Toley’s tiny hand, the paper was more than big enough to fill with its thoughts as they blossomed like a spring garden in Toley’s mind. With several minutes to go before landing in El Paso, Toley began writing and it was as though the words were pouring out.
TOLEY’S TO-DO LIST
1- I need parents and kids to hear my awesome podcast, “STOP BULLYING with Toley Ranz.” This could do so many positive things. It would give parents and everyone involved in a kid’s life super useful information about bullying and living a good, spiritually healthy life.
2- I need to get every classroom in the country to carry my ultra-cool packages. This way, the kids (and teachers!) could have access to so many things that could help them, like my books, activities, videos and more.
3- I need to see every kid with a Toley Ranz plush toy. ‘Nuff said! (Who else do you know who has a toy of themselves?!)
4- I need to not only take my Spanish language content to the El Paso Independent School District, I need to be there for every one of these people. I need to answer tough questions kids might have. I need to be a shoulder to cry on.
5- I need to meet with both Congressman O’Rourke and Superintendent Cabrera for some heart to heart talks, so we can begin the healing and begin forming the bedrock of a new tomorrow.
Toley looked down at its list. It knew there was a lot more to cover and the list would never truly be complete, but at least this was a start; a step in the right direction. The biggest question of all was, ‘Why do these bad things happen?’ The thing that scared Toley Ranz most is that there wasn’t an easy answer for this question, and there may never be.. But Toley knew that by meeting with these influential figures, and integrating the Toley Ranz presence in these heartbroken communities, they could all maybe find an answer together.
*Toley’s preferred pronoun is “it.” He is genderless.
ABOUT TOLEY RANZ & ITS CREATOR, ANKE OTTO-WOLF
The Toley Ranz Foundation 4 Tolerance, Inc. attained its 501(c)(3) nonprofit status on June 13, 2019. This has essentially kick-started a very busy summer for this bold, new brand. Toley Ranz mastermind, Anke Otto-Wolf, recently launched the “STOP BULLYING with Toley Ranz” weekly podcast recorded live from Sedona, AZ. It features practical information for parents, grandparents, and teachers. The show also presents reports, commentaries and guests, as well as detailed Toley Ranz Foundation updates. For the kids there will be Toley Ranz stories and fun activity suggestions as well. Learn more about the additional content here.
Toley Ranz creator and co-founder, Anke Otto-Wolf, is a veteran educator, award-winning author and Life Empowerment Coach, as well as host of the weekly “STOP BULLYING with Toley Ranz” podcast. She is a member of multiple professional organizations, and the recipient of countless awards for her forward-thinking work. Anke created and penned the entire Toley Ranz Project in its complexity (character, message, and theme), and believes it to be a timely, long-overdue alternative in educational entertainment in schools, at home, and at play. As an educator, Anke taught language arts at San Jacinto College, (CA), and the San Bernardino (CA), as well as the Norfolk Public School system (1995-2011). At the California Statewide Education Conference, 2008, Anke functioned as an Education Panel member on “Building Self-Esteem in Education” and additionally presented workshops on “Self-Growth and Self-Esteem in Adult Education” and “Tolerance Awareness and Skill/Asset Building.” Ms. Otto-Wolf’s philosophies, teachings and writings can also be found here and here. Her solid commitment to improving education for children and adults, especially for children’s emotional well-being during their formative years, is evident in the creation of Toley Ranz.