AGREE’s Presentation at the Arizona Golden Rule Banquet 

A unique gathering of like-minded individuals celebrating the Golden Rule in Arizona and its Honorees.

AGREE had the opportunity to present at the Arizona’s Golden Rule Banquet, an event hosted annually by Arizona Interfaith Movement (AZIFM). AZIFM honors individuals who exemplify the Golden Rule and this year’s honorees were exceptional. They included Marie Osmond, Dr. Gladys McGarey, Michael Bankston, Mission of Mercy, and Trevor Gentry. Read more about their nominations.

During our AGREE presentation, we invited all Arizona schools to: utilize free online AGREE resources, teach the Golden Rule on their campus, and apply to become a Golden Rule School. We also highlighted “golden” efforts from Children’s Campus, Premiere Children’s Center, Arts Academy at Estrella Mountain, Ash Creek Elementary, Champion Schools at South Mountain and East Valley High School. 

We shared an AGREE developed resource at the banquet, inviting individuals to reflect on the Golden Rule and choose someone to “treat.”

In closing, AGREE shared an AZTV video spotlighting East Valley High School’s efforts to teach and live the Golden Rule followed by Principal John Baker personally addressing us. He shared the impact made at his school as his staff has taught the Golden Rule by living it. It was truly a memorable and inspiring evening.

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The Golden Rule on Social Media

Discussion Guide

AZ State Standards

ELA Comprehension and Collaboration – 6.SL.1-3, 7.SL.1-3, 8.SL.1-3, 9-10.SL.1-3, 11-12.SL.1-3 Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

“Golden Rule Moments, from #LiveGoldenaz!” in the AZ Republic

Golden Rule Moments, from #LiveGoldenaz!

Kendra Ruth

Special to Arizona Republic USA TODAY NETWORK

It was a Live Golden Reunion – true Golden Moments to celebrate! Nivea Krishan and Grant Williams, the original Live Golden hosts, have set an amazing example, addressing important topics with teens and sharing them with the general public. #LiveGoldenaz episodes are three minutes long, encouraging teens to voice their opinions on difficult issues, then reflecting how the Golden Rule can be applied for solutions.

The excitement could be felt! After several years of different hosts and videographers, topics and a pandemic, current and former Live Golden Teams came, including Nivea Krishan, Grant Williams, Trisha Panse, Anusha Rahman and James Kinney. We missed Live Golden team members Evan Crabtree, Sean-David Ta and Manvi Harde.

As the conversations began, one topic addressed was how Live Golden helps create a new image for youth. Grant expressed his feeling that people’s opinions really do matter and that you can find goodness in those that are very different from yourself. Nivea also reflected, “Live Golden really taught me the importance of making sure people are engaged.” Larry Fultz, executive director of AZIFM, expressed his warm appreciation for the youth and the example they set that grants multigenerational hope for the future.

LeAnn Basha, AGREE coordinator, who joined the reunion virtually, shared her sentiments, “With youth like this in the world, I can ‘Imagine’ a beautiful future,” referencing John Lennon’s song. She continued, “Where you would like to see the world to be in five years?” The group collectively shared their desire for people to unify, for example identifying primarily as American or a global citizen, versus being so divided. James mentioned how the Olympics were a great example of this desired global energy.

Reflecting back a few months, Manvi, Trisha, Anusha and James were featured on AZTV7’s “Daily Mix.” Show host Brad Perry named them Golden Rule ambassadors. Trisha heartily agreed with this title and stated that Live Golden is “all about giving a voice to teenagers and showing how they use the Golden Rule in their daily lives.” Manvi expressed, “(We) really need to make sure we are careful about what we say and how we make other people feel.” Videographer James also chimed in, stating that it is important to “get the student perspectives out there.” In the concluding moments of the feature, Perry concluded that the Live Golden ambassadors help show Arizonans the importance of listening to the voices of our youth.

During the #LiveGoldenaz Reunion, the truth of Brad’s statement echoed as the ambassadors were asked to pick a word that summed up their personal Live Golden Experience. The words they chose were profound, including: “transformative,” “pragmatic” and “community.” They each clarified their word choices with statements of impact and hope. Anusha, the Live Golden publicist, shared, “I think it is a very realistic way that we approach common social issues and we have this connection that is so real and so (practical) with the community around us, especially with teenagers and peers.” Their comments can assist us in reflecting on the positive impact diverse conversation can have on all of us.

After a countdown and a hearty cheer of “LIVE GOLDEN!,” the teens departed together, smiling and laughing. The sun’s light reflected in the atmosphere around them, and yet it seemed as though the light was coming from within each one of them. They had all experienced a change through their engagement with the Golden Rule. It was as though an army of “golden” civilians were marching out into the world, educated and ready to generate a brighter future.

See video highlights of the Live Golden Reunion at https://goldenruleeducation. org/category/news/ and BELOW.


PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2021 The Arizona Republic 9/11/2021

“Golden Rule gesture for all of Arizona” published!

Golden Rule gesture for all of Arizona

Golden Rule Moment

Kendra Ruth Guest columnist

This kind of great news seldom is heard or known.

First, a little background: Rep. Mark Anderson, along with countless other faith leaders and community leaders, had the fortune of meeting and knowing Mesa resident Daryl Andersen. He was known by many as the “Golden Rule” guy — the guy who wore Golden Rule suspenders.

Perhaps many readers may remember Daryl’s efforts, sharing Golden Rule bumper stickers, meeting with religious leaders to bridge differences and his passion for educating the community about the Golden Rule. Gradually, it became clear that the Golden Rule wasn’t just for one religion but was common in most faiths, as well as being a standard for many secular ethics.

With Mark’s character and familiarity with the Golden Rule, the scene was set for our Golden Moment to happen at the state Legislature. In a recent interview, he shared how members of the Arizona Interfaith Movement (AZIFM) approached him while he was in the House of Representatives. They brought to Mark’s attention the idea of Arizona becoming a “Golden Rule state.” In Mark’s words, “I was just the person facilitating the process, there were so many people who went and talked to legislators.” I couldn’t help but chuckle as he told us that one of the questions he used to convince his colleagues was, “Are you sure you want to go on record as someone who voted against the Golden Rule?” Yet, through his efforts, the resolution went to the House, to the Senate and then to the Governor’s Office, where it was signed and made official on May 13, 2003. Arizona became the first Golden Rule state in the United States.

Mark also shared a story that occurred while he was later serving as justice of peace. Two men were ticketed for jaywalking, and they expressed how they didn’t feel the charge was fair. Mark heard their story and realized that the nearest crosswalk was about 1 ⁄ 4 mile away from where they crossed. Rather than holding them to their fine, he proposed something different. He had them draft a proposal to the Scottsdale City Council suggesting a crosswalk in the very same area where they were ticketed. Showing empathy by considering how it might feel if he were in their same situation resulted in a win-win for everyone.

As the development/school liaison for Arizona Golden Rule Educational Experiences (AGREE), I have seen firsthand the impact of this statewide resolution and celebrate each person who voted “yes.” AGREE offers the universal concepts of the Golden Rule through folktales from around the world that carry insights about why we live “kindness, empathy, civility and respect” day to day.

Another unique outcome of becoming a Golden Rule state was the creation of a specialty Arizona Golden Rule license plate that reads, “Live the Golden Rule.” Mark encourages others to purchase one.

“It’s a chance for people to express their values,” he said. “If everybody lived the Golden Rule, we wouldn’t need laws, courts, police or judges, because people would be treating each other properly, in the right way.”

In all his professional practices, Mark’s goal has been to figure out how best to help each person he has come in contact with. He has kept a focus on character and educating others, especially our youth, about the Golden Rule. This Golden Moment when Mark Anderson and others helped Arizona become a Golden Rule state will forever be a reminder to each of us to ponder what it means to treat others the way we want to be treated and find ways daily to live it.

Kendra Ruth is a development/school liaison for Arizona Golden Rule Educational Experiences.

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Powered by TECNAVIAPART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2021 The Arizona Republic 03/13/2021

“Teen’s mask project is a golden lesson” by Anusha…published!

Teen’s mask project is a golden lesson

In an era of a global pandemic, masks have become the social norm in what could be deemed as the first line of defense. It’s hard to imagine a world without them after almost an entire year of mask mandates and limited outings.

But this nationwide challenge of protection also creates a nationwide challenge of communication for a group that has been hit even more severely: the deaf and hard-of-hearing community.

Masks serve as a prominent hindrance to deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals who rely on lip-reading and facial expressions to understand helpful cues needed for proper communication. In fact, the National Association of the Deaf has stated that “more and more medical professionals are treating COVID- 19 patients from behind a barrier, using masks that impede lip-reading, and not allowing in-person interpreters.”

However, there is a solution to this persistent problem.

Neil Pandey, a 15-year-old sophomore from American Leadership Academy, has led the initiative within the Valley to create masks that are designed for deaf and hard-of-hearing people to safely and effectively communicate. The masks consist of a clear window sewn into the cloth to allow both facial cues and lip movements to be read by surrounding people.

After taking American Sign Language classes in school, he realized that the deaf and hard-of-hearing community would face significant hindrances in holding conversations during the pandemic.

He then proceeded to develop a prototype by utilizing a template for the clear window masks and began the sewing process by getting some help from family members and friends. He also started a GoFundMe page for materials, which has raised over $2,200 in support for his project. It was imperative that these masks could be accessible and of high quality made with care, and Neil ensured just that, creating around 1,500 masks to be donated to local grocery stores and health care facilities.

His message is clear: “It’s important to empathize with members of the community in a time like this and see what we can do for them. I wanted to create something that would allow them to properly communicate on the same level as anyone else.”

When additionally asked about which pillar of the Golden Rule he thought his project best represented, he confidently responded by saying “kindness and empathy.” He added, “I believe that understanding (the deaf and hardof- hearing)’s challenges during the pandemic and creating the masks out of this sense of kindness is a valuable lesson.”

Through the immense consideration and inspiring passion to help others highlighted from his hard work with this mask project, Neil perfectly exemplifies the core essence of the Golden Rule and how we as regular citizens can utilize our privileges to do good for our community, no matter the age. He reflects a profound story about transcending the limitations of one’s challenges and going beyond to help those in need.

His journey does not stop here, though. For the future, he plans on expanding this project to other parts of Arizona and maybe even other states. The main focus will be to allow commercialized clear-window masks to be widely accessible and attainable.

Anusha Rahman works on the Live-GoldenAZ project and is a junior at Hamilton High School.

#LiveGoldenAZ / Golden Rule Moments

Anusha Rahman Guest columnist


PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 12/17/2020

“Golden Rule creating positive change at E. Valley High School”

“Golden Rule creating positive change at E. Valley High School”

Golden Rule Moments

Kendra Ruth Guest columnist

Each school has a unique story to tell. The following story is about an Arizona school that created positive change by teaching and focusing on the Golden Rule.

As a former Marine and Phoenix police officer, John Baker was seeing the same repetitive behaviors amongst troubled youth that lead to life-altering penalties. He wanted to affect a child’s life before it got to that point. He wanted to create change in that vicious cycle. To make a greater impact, he decided to focus on education and made a major career switch, high school principal. He was hired by East Valley High School, a free public charter school in Mesa.

“When I got to EVHS,” he says, “what I found was kids that didn’t care about themselves, they didn’t care about others and they didn’t care about the language they used. They were just downright disrespectful sometimes.”

Then something golden happened to shift Principal Baker to a solution.

He met with a representative from the AGREE program and realized EVHS would be the ideal place for the Golden Rule to have the biggest impact. AGREE has a mission to “provide educational experiences with high academic standards” and a vision to create a “world of civility, respect and harmony among all people with the Golden Rule as the standard for conduct” while focusing on four compass words: “Kindness, Empathy, Respect and Civility.”

Principal Baker realized that to create an impact, he would need to start with the staff.

“I started with the staff showing the students how to treat each other regardless of how we are being treated,” he says. “We still treated them with kindness, respect, empathy and civility.”

This focus on having staff model the Golden Rule began affecting students’ behavior, who then started to display the same “golden” attributes in return. The students were living the Golden Rule without even realizing it! EVHS staff took note that by living the Golden Rule themselves, they were vicariously teaching students the type of behavior and attitude they would like to see.

The students felt the difference! One student remarked, “These teachers are actually proud of us.” The effect extended to how the students interacted with each other as students began to show respect and civility in the hallways and during class. It was thrilling to witness this firsthand and see teachers speaking with empathy towards the students, using meaningful words and encouraging tones, and hearing the respectful way students were interacting with their teachers and visitors. The “Golden Rule License Plate” painted on a central campus wall was also impressive to behold. Perhaps, the climax of the story is in the correlation between the Golden Rule and the EVHS graduation rate. They went from a 67% graduation rate to a 94% graduation rate in just one year, the same year Principal Baker chose to put the Golden Rule into action.

Because of their schoolwide effort to live the Golden Rule, these “Golden” moments emerged as a dynamic impact. East Valley High School was recognized as a Golden Rule School on AZTV, Channel 7, sponsored by Bashas’ and received $1,000 for their implementation of the Golden Rule. Along with Principal Baker, the AGREE team extends a challenge to other schools to implement the Golden Rule by choosing to treat others the way you want to be treated no matter how you are treated in return.

Kendra Ruth is the AGREE Development and school liaison.


PART OF THE USA TODAY NETWORK Copyright © 2020 The Arizona Republic 9/15/2020