Toley Ranz leads anti-bullying –

The Toley Ranz Foundation 4 Tolerance performed for the second time this month on Thursday 15th September at the Camp Verde Community Library.

Foundation founder, retired educator and award-winning author Anke Otto-Wolf created the character “Toley Ranz” to help children learn about self-empowerment.

“The characters represent the child’s gut feeling of wrong and right,” says Otto-Wolf. “Toley Ranz represents confidence; Children know intuitively when something is wrong, but they don’t have the wisdom or the ability to say ‘stop’ or ‘hold’.”

Otto Wolf’s Toley Ranz book series, The Psst-Psst of Toley Ranz, follows the character “Sammie” as he learns to believe in himself while overcoming the difficulty of being different from his peers.

In the story, Sammie is teased by other children for preferring a purple pencil to a yellow one and contemplates giving up his favorite color to conform.

Toley Ranz whispers, “Psst-psst! Listen to your heart in those moments when you don’t know what to do. You are awesome.”

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As the story progresses, Sammie learns how to recognize his feelings of sadness and anger and communicate them to his mother, who helps him navigate his situation without specifically telling him what to do.

“Are you sure you want to give up what you believe in?” asks Sammy’s mother. “Please think about it.”

After careful consideration, Sammie makes his own decision.

“We talk a lot about raising kids with prosocial skills,” Otto-Wolf said. “And how do you learn that? It’s not school or the kindergarten teacher, it’s home.”

For parents, Otto Wolf provides additional material, including “The Effective 3-Step Parenting Strategy” which outlines steps to help children through difficult times.

With the 3-step strategy, parents can learn to “become an emotional detective” and “be curious, not angry” while learning to take care of themselves.

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“You are the most important person in your life and that of your children; Your self-care comes first, period,” the strategy reads.

roots of bullying

Otto-Wolf said that in her experience and belief, children who become bullies do so because they lack the security and love of a family unit.

“Every child wants to be needed and to belong, period,” she explained. “[Bullies] miss love; they miss family unity. This is how gangs are formed.”

“Children who are more introverted or shy, who don’t want to be seen as aggressive,” says Otto-Wolf. “They are the vulnerable, and they are being attacked.”

Otto-Wolf described how her experiences working with inner-city school children in Virginia have influenced her current work.

“In the inner-city schools — I had sixth graders — and inner-city violence, no food, families broken up, I mean, war zone,” she said. “I had to, I was determined to help them, so I started an after-school program called Ceasefire Kids. We got quite a stir, right down to the governor and the senators. I was honored by the President [Bill] Clinton for it.”

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Otto-Wolf said she is pleased that the Toley Ranz program has been picked up by Camp Verde Community Library because it provides a safe space for children to come together without pressure.

“You can talk freely, it’s wonderful,” she said.

Otto-Wolf said she looks forward to future presentations at Camp Verde and is also working to develop a program with the Cottonwood Public Library.

“I hope it spreads and the next one will be more,” she said. “You have to start something.”

For more information on the Toley Ranz program, visit

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