Middle-schooler creates program to help girls co-exist

Middle-schooler creates program to help girls co-exist
October 03
00:00 2014
(pictured above:  Madison Sides is the brain behind MasterPeace.)

A “meet and greet” party will be held Sunday for MasterPeace, a program created by a Paisley IB Magnet Middle School student to build confidence and decrease bullying among girls.

Madison Sides, 12, said she started the program after butting heads with a classmate. The seventh-grader said that she felt misunderstood and was frustrated with the lack of communication between her and the other girl.

“I was going through some things in my life, and I wanted to go to Bible study, thinking maybe that could help me. I couldn’t find one for my age-range,” Madison said. “My mom was like why don’t you create one.”

MasterPeace Paula Wilson Thomas with Madison Sides (right).

MasterPeace Paula Wilson Thomas with Madison Sides (right).

Madison’s mother, Karen Bonner, said the program sprung from the growing pains her daughter experienced as she went from elementary to middle school.

“I think Madison and I were trying to figure out where we belonged in it all,” Bonner said. “She was trying to figure it out in a social aspect, and I was trying to figure out who this child was because she was totally different. I saw more episodes of anger and more episodes of her just acting out when she was really crying out that no one was listening.”

Madison defused the tensions between her and the other student by simply inviting the girl to sit down and talk. They are now friends.

Bonner has been floored by the maturity she has seen in her daughter and proud that she is trying to help her peers.

“This is an amazing feeling because she is actually seeing her work being fleshed out,” Bonner said. “Before it was just a thought on a piece of paper. She has been planning and her calender is planned out.”

MasterPeace was developed in February 2013 and initially offered through the Christian-rooted Potter’s House Resource Center on 25th Street. Sunday’s event, which will take place on the campus of Salem College beginning at 5 p.m., aims to broaden the program’s reach. Seven adult mentors ranging from ages 19 to 42 will work with about 50 girls.

MasterPeace offers peer discussions and joint community service opportunities for girls ages 10 to 13.
“Community service plays a big role with us,” Madison said. “We have monthly, planned age-appropriate community service projects.”

MasterPeace has already received kudos from those who have been involved. The positive feedback is encouraging for both Madison and Bonner.

“Proud is not even a word that can describe what I feel,” Bonner said. “I am excited for where she’s going and it is a wonderful thing to hear positive things about your child and see them wanting to help people.”

Those interested in participating in Sunday’s program or learning more about the program, may contact Bonner at or 336-391-0407.

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Chanel Davis

Chanel Davis

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