What is Wonder?
Wonder by R.J. Palacio is the story of August “Auggie” Pullman, a boy who was born with Treacher Collins Syndrome, characterized by multiple anomalies such as absent cheekbones and ears, diminutive jaw, near deafness and the need for a tracheostomy. Ms. Palacio wrote “Wonder” as a result of an encounter her sons had with a young child with Treacher Collins Syndrome in a Brooklyn ice cream parlor. Her boys’ confused reaction towards this child compelled her to conduct extensive research and write this endearing novel in order to raise awareness about differences and to teach people to be kind – which is a message near and dear to myFace’s heart.
If your students are reading Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, The myFace Wonder Project can serve as a great compliment to the book. By bringing the story of Auggie Pullman to life, students can understand firsthand what it’s like to be bullied because of one’s differences.
What is the myFace Wonder Project?
The goal of the myFace Wonder Project is to teach students of all ages the importance of empathy, inclusivity, and being an Upstander against bullying.
This customizable program comes with either a virtual or in-person assembly (depending on location), thought-provoking classroom materials can be used all year round (including activity sheets, lesson plans, and more!) and interactive teaching strategies that illustrate the importance of accepting differences and the power that comes with choosing to be kind!
Register and Receive:
- The Wonder Kickoff Assembly:
- Available either virtually or in-person (depending on location)
- Customizable for elementary, middle, and high school
- “Choose Kindness” activity sheets, lesson plans, and morning announcements
- Upstander Pledge Cards
- Inspiring stories from members of the myFace community living with facial differences
Sponsor a School
More than ever before, choosing kindness is critical to the wellbeing of our children and the health of our communities. It is up to us as parents, caregivers, and educators to promote empathy and kindness and to teach acceptance for those with differences.
By Sponsoring a School for $350, you will enable the myFace Team to present the Wonder Project assembly at Title I Schools (schools containing a large concentration of low-income students). Our goal is to support schools that want to reinforce and share messages of acceptance and kindness, but do not have the funding to do so.
Your support will have an incredible impact, as myFace is able to reach 350 – 500 students per school!
Meet Our Speakers
The Wonder Project’s school assembly is the perfect way to introduce students to themes of inclusion, anti-bullying and choosing kindness. myFace speakers will engage students by sharing their personal stories of growing up with a craniofacial difference. When the presentation concludes, students have the chance to ask questions and to take the Upstander pledge choosing to be an upstander and not a bystander. The Wonder Project is built for teachers and students to carry these critical themes and activities throughout the week or even month.
Dina Zuckerberg, Director of Family Programs, is the heartbeat of myFace. Through sharing her story of growing up with a cleft lip, hearing loss, and no vision in her left eye, she has inspired upwards of 70,000 students since the myFace Wonder Project started in 2016. When speaking at schools, Dina tells her story and recounts personal experiences of being bullied and excluded, and how she turned those challenges into teachable moments.
Margaret Shair was born with Goldenhar Syndrome and has had more than 30 surgeries. She works as a research assistant studying maternal health and fetal and infant development. She has always viewed people telling her she wouldn’t be able to do something as a challenge. She has been involved with myFace for the past decade, sharing her experiences with medical students and other myFace families to spread awareness and advocate for those with facial differences.
Manny Ventura is a masterful speaker who draws from his life adversities to engage and inspire an audience to bring out the best in themselves and in others. Manny was born with a cleft lip and had many surgeries to help correct it throughout his childhood and adolescence. Manny has faced many challenges, which he now harnesses to empower people of all ages.
Sondra Neuschotz graduated from Emory University with a BA in Psychology. She received her MA in Special Education from Columbia University with a specialization in behavioral disorders. Sondra was born with a cleft lip, and two of her three children were born with a cleft lip and palate as well. Sondra serves on the board of directors of myFace where she is dedicated to spreading the message of kindness and acceptance.
Naomi Levinshtein is a college student at Brooklyn College as well as an advocate for equal representation in media. When she is not studying, she runs a social media page where she shares her love of makeup, experiences of being born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, and encourages people to embrace the beauty that is in all of us. Naomi’s passion is teaching proper self-esteem and encouraging others to be their authentic selves.
Iva M. Ballou was born with a cleft lip and palate and has now dedicated her life to boosting confidence in those with facial differences. In fact, she is the founder of RealSophisticatedJoy, a company that empowers women and girls affected by cleft and craniofacial differences to find confidence so they can live a life filled with joy. She is a gifted cleft confidence coach as well as a transformational speaker who has joined the Wonder Project team to inspire students to choose kindness and be upstanders.
Christine Maier was born with a cleft lip and palate, classified as learning disabled, and has had over 20 surgeries. Often underestimated and told what she can’t achieve, she became an NYPD Sergeant, author, speaker, and the first female director of NYC Emergency Management Watch Command. She’s passionate about helping others turn their differences into superpowers.
Morgan McGahan graduated in 2022 from Georgia State University with a degree in Special Education with a concentration in Language Arts. Born with Aperts Syndrome she has undergone many surgeries, which makes her look different. She is a passionate advocate for the craniofacial community and hopes that by sharing her story, she inspires others to pursue their dreams and reach their fullest potential.
FAQs About The myFace Wonder Project Assembly
The cost for a school-wide assembly begins at $350, which will help myFace to maintain its commitment to patients and critical programs. See cost breakdown below.
Key months for the program include October (Anti-bullying month) and February – April. However, we will always work with your school on a date that
is best for teachers and students.
Yes, in-person assemblies are available in addition to virtual assemblies. In-person assemblies are coordinated on a case-by-case basis, depending on location and availability. Please contact Dina@myface.org for in-person assembly requests.
The presentation can be tailored for all grade levels, but with ideal range of 4th – 7th grade.
Approximately 30 – 45 minutes, which includes Q&A. However, it can be adjusted according to need.
It is not required. However, for those that are reading Wonder, the assembly is a perfect extension of the book and its themes.
There are opportunities to have your assembly funded by a generous donor. Please reach out to Dina@myface.org to learn more.
Zoom is preferred, but Google Classrooms works as well.
Yes, there is a pre-recorded assembly available.
Yes, myFace will provide materials so that teachers and students can incorporate kindness planning and activities all week or all month.
Assembly Cost Structure
- $350 for one school-wide or grade-level assembly
- $500 for up to 3 assemblies
- $750 for a full day of grade-level or classroom assemblies
- $100 pre-recorded assembly to share as needed
- Fundraise through DIY school strategy – the $350 minimum must be achieved
- Opportunity for Title I schools to request an assembly sponsored by friends of myFace
*Please note that on January 1st, 2022, all of the above prices will increase by $25.