(Palm Bay)—More than 150 people celebrated Mayor William Capote’s first Mayor’s Ball over the weekend with the proceeds from the event going to benefit Tiny Girl Big Dream, Inc., an organization that promotes friendship in order to overcome bullying in schools. The 2013 Mayor’s Ball was held on Saturday and raised more than $15,000 in order to supply “friendship benches” to local schools. The friendship bench is an idea created by Acacia Woodley, a recent graduate of Palm Bay Elementary School who decided to turn the negative action of bullying among young people, into a positive promotion of friendship. Acacia’s dream is to place these benches in every school across the United States and promote “a world where kindness, compassion, and humanity are recognized, appreciated and rewarded; a world where acts of violence are replaced by acts of kindness.” Her campaign begins in Palm Bay. “It was an awesome event, I loved it,” Acacia said. “Everyone was amazing and their support was over the top.”

With the overall success of the 2013 Mayor’s Ball, Tiny Girl Big Dream, Inc. will be able to supply approximately 20 schools with friendship benches. Each rainbow colored bench is engraved with encouraging words like “respect”, “compassion”, “laugh” and “listen” among others and costs approximately $700 to create and assemble. So far in Palm Bay there are two schools, Palm Bay Elementary and Turner Elementary, with the friendship benches in place. The Knowledge Exchange also has one placed at its Babcock Street location. Southwest Middle School is next on the list to receive one of the benches. “When I first met Acacia I was so impressed with her,” said Mayor William Capote. “I’m so thankful to all those who came out to the Mayor’s Ball to help us support this worthy mission of infiltrating our schools, and other facilities with positive encouraging thoughts and actions.”

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