Office Depot, One Direction launch anti-bullying campaign

The retailer has been selling an exclusive line of One Direction back-to-school supplies and is funneling $1 million of those proceeds to its nonprofit arm for the campaign that kicks off this September.

The Office Depot Foundation unveiled the push at the U.S. premiere in New York of the band's 3D movie, "One Direction: This is Us."

"It's really the concept of taking a partnership to a new level," said Mary Wong, the foundation's president. "From every point and direction, they've been involved in everything with us."

The new campaign will feature presentations in 300 U.S. middle schools by youth crisis counselor Brooks Gibbs. He will speak separately to students, parents and educators on ways to stop bullying.

That comprehensive approach is key, because many programs aimed at students alone find inadequate support from adults who lack training to stop bullying, according to the foundation's research.

The nonprofit chose middle schools for the initiative, because bullying tends to be especially prevalent there and students in early puberty among the most vulnerable to the pressures, Wong said.

Members of One Direction speak out against bullying in a video included in Gibbs' presentation.

"Kids will flip when they see that video, because they adore these guys," said Wong.

Band member Louis Tomlinson backed the school outreach in a news statement Monday.

"We believe it is important for students to live original and be nice to their peers," Tomlinson said. "We truly hope this program helps eliminate bullying in schools."

The Office Depot Foundation also is involved with a separate initiative in middle schools: Dream Up, a 16-week career program that helps children envision their future. Ten winners of an essay contest get a chance to practice their dream jobs in their home state, said Wong.

The Office Depot Foundation last year gave out nearly $2 million in cash and about $10 million in in-kind donations worldwide, mainly in areas near its stores, executives have said., 305-810-5009.