New England Family Launches Misfit University Online to Empower "Misfits", Stand Up Against Bullying, and Celebrate Differences

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Creative Online Learning Resource will Serve as a Catalyst for Conversation and Action for Young People Who Feel Marginalized

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A pile of misfit socks on the laundry room floor was all the inspiration one New England family needed to open the doors of Misfit University, the only online university of its kind to take a unique stand against bullying and encourage young people to celebrate what makes them different. This new resource, launched today, creatively introduces a hands-on educational curriculum that includes an anti-bullying initiative, service-learning projects, cause-related events and spirited fun with the goal of delivering unmatched results in the practice of team-building, positive self-esteem, creativity, and respect. Misfit University ( is free and new curriculum projects are added monthly.

“Misfit University was founded on the principle that we are all magnificent MISFITS and the very talents and experiences that can sometimes divide us, should define us and be nurtured and shared,” said Misfit University co-founder Karen Kiefer. The University focuses its curriculum in four areas: Hope, Inspiration, Love and Gratitude and uses creative concepts to communicate important messages to young people. “It is very common for young people to hide their talents or handicaps for fear of not being accepted,” added Kiefer. “We hope that Misfit University will inspire honest conversation and motivate many, especially young people, to embrace their inner misfit.”

Developing an online university to empower individuals to embrace their inner misfit was the next step in a series of evolutionary acts that originated from a pile of misfit socks on the Kiefer family laundry room floor more than a decade ago. In an effort to make sure these misfit socks felt needed again, this family dressed up their misfit socks in their "Sunday best,” filled them with candy, jingle bells, nuts, recipes and holiday messages and offered them as simple gifts of hope, joy and gratitude to friends and family at Christmastime. Thousands of misfit socks shared, that simple and powerful offering became the impetus for a children's Christmas tradition, delivered through a storybook and a companion "misfit sock." In addition to reading the storybook, The Misfit Sock, ( young children can fill their sock with daily wishes or prayers that they handwrite on special misfit cards. On Christmas Eve, children stuff their sock with wonderful gratitude goodies for Santa, his elves and reindeer. Santa enjoys the goodies, reads all the messages and knows enough to leave the misfit sock behind for next Christmas.

Misfit showcases beautiful illustrations by Belgian artist, Kathy DeWit and an open call to feature “sock-cessful” authors who write books that embrace themes of anti-bullying or empowerment. The University is sponsoring a virtual "Million Misfit Sock March" in October for National “Make a Difference Day” and is also actively recruiting a national Misfit University Student Council, a group of students from across the country that will share their talents in the areas of writing, video production, and visual arts to create new content for the website.

For more information on the launch of Misfit University, contact Olivia LaPionte at Olivia(at)misfituniversity(dot)com, Karen Kiefer @ 774-286-9987 or visit: Twitter @misfitsock or

Misfit University
Founded in 2012, Misfit University's mission is to give young people the power to celebrate what makes them different through learning, inspiration and engagement. Anyone can benefit from the resources at Misfit University online for free. Misfit University is a companion initiative of The Misfit Sock Project, which uses the power of a misfit sock to teach hope, love, inspiration and gratitude through a storybook and children's Christmas tradition: The company is a privately held and is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Karen Kiefer
Misfit University
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