PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Back-to-school means more than a return to the lessons math and science and English.
Districts across the region are also reaching out to teach kids messages about bullying.
Two local performers are helping to deliver the message in a creative way.
He’s a musician. She’s a comedian.
Together they are Josh and Gab and their high-energy show focuses on anti-bullying.
“In some schools it’s can you talk about excluding someone because that’s a big problem. In other schools, cyber-bullying is really serious,” Gab Bonesso said.
Their show is a smashing success. From pre-schoolers to the elderly, it just works.
“Our music and comedy is a universal thing. We’ve done performances for all ages — everything as we earlier said from toddlers now to people who are 80 or 90-years-old,” Josh Verbanets said.
The Pittsburgh pair played 150 shows to nearly 20,000 kids around the area last year.
“We found that we were able to break through by promoting this idea of creativity and expression as an alternative to negative behavior. If there’s one thing that everybody loves its getting together and making a big noise together,” Josh said.
“Once you have a whole crowd laughing, you see that they have something in common,” Gab said.
“It’s the most satisfying thing to see day after day. We do this four days a week, five days a week some times. To see Gab Bonessa winning over an audience of 500 people that are the most difficult demographic to win over — the eighth grader – it’s incredible,” Josh said,
Both admit to being bullied as kids and they know doing shows for middle-schoolers is about as rough a crowd as you can find.
“To perform for eight graders is as serious as if I am doing a showcase to be on the Letterman Show. I feel like these are just as important. I have to deliver everything I have because they’ll eat us alive,” Gab said,
It’s impossible to not give 100 percent at these shows because I’ve never done any kind of performing in 10 years that’s been as rewarding as this,” Josh said.
Watch as Josh and Gab perform “Hurry Up and Get Well” on Pittsburgh Today Live: