MPA sophomore Zara Singh is doing her part to spread the message of social inclusion and fight bullying, serving as a student ambassador for Chummies, a new company started by two local teachers that promotes those values with colorful, interlocking friendship bracelets.

Zara appeared on FOX 32’s “Good Day Chicago” recently to talk about the company’s anti-bullying mission, telling host Jon Kelley that the puzzle piece-shaped bracelets serve as a great reminder to accept other people for who they are.
Zara’s passion for the cause is evident; she says she experienced bullying at her old school. However, she says her MPA classmates are very accepting, which she attributes to the school’s tight-knit feel and diverse student body.
“We’re a close community, so we know each other,” Zara said. “Even before you get to know someone, you start with a mutual respect for everyone. Students come from so many different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds that it feels natural to accept people for who they are.”
School counselor Emily Zumbaugh mentioned multicultural experiences, character education, and student-led programs among several ways MPA aims to foster a feeling of inclusion for all students.
“MPA students consistently demonstrate an attitude of inclusion, acceptance, and an appreciation for diversity,” Ms. Zumbaugh said. “Zara is a great example of a student making a difference on this issue through her leadership.”
Chummies (“Bracelets that come apart, for friends that stick together!”) was founded by suburban middle school teachers Kelly Casaccio and Amy Orlando. Last spring, Zara noticed Casaccio’s colorful bracelet while shopping at a grocery store in La Grange and asked about it. A week later, they met up to discuss the future of Chummies, and Zara became a student ambassador shortly after that.
Today, Chummies bracelets are sold in around 35 stores around the country. Themes like peanut butter & jelly and mac & cheese are reflected in the little designs on the bracelets, which currently come in packs of four. The next step, Zara says, is hopefully handing out bracelets to our Lower School students.
Casaccio and Orlando are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to fund an expansion of the product line. If the project reaches its $5,000 fundraising goal, Zara will be in charge of designing bracelets that will appeal to Middle and Upper School students. So far, tie-dye and glitter bracelets are in the works.