GOOD NEWS Bulletin Board:
The Friend Strong Musical
Bullied 8th Grader felt like "disappearing"
but now hopes to stay strong to help bullied little sister!
Help us show Emma
just how much she matters and that she's FRIEND STRONG!
story for the little ones!
EMMA WANTS TO GIVE A VOICE TO OTHER KIDS WHO HAVE BECOME DEPRESSED AFTER BEING BULLIED. SHE IS BRAVELY SPEAKING OUT TO HELP OTHER KIDS LIKE HER SISTER!
Emma wants bullying victims that are sad and depressed to know, "If you feel that way, you need to tell somebody. You can't keep it in. Keeping it in makes it worse."
Be-A-Friend to Emma
"Sweet... so caring... very, very smart...beautiful spirit,"
is how Emma's mom describes her 14-year-old daughter.
This South Carolina 8th grader's favorite thing to do is READ! (She's going to LOVE your letters!) Emma often reads entire books in one day! She loves to draw and is "very into art." She hangs inspirational writings, poems and quotes all over her bedroom walls, some that she wrote herself!
Her mom, a police dispatcher working night shifts, also works for some elderly clients to clean their homes... Emma loves to go with her mom so that, while her mom works, she can sit and talk with the elderly clients, sharing snacks and laughs and listening to their stories.
A child this tender, who describes herself as "very self-conscious," was devastated when her group of friends, the same ones she had all through elementary school, began to turn on her.
It started in 6th grade, when she walked into the girl's bathroom and overheard her very best friends talking behind her back, saying that she was...
"not a good friend"
"not pretty enough"
Emma was HEARTBROKEN. The bullying behavior by her former friends only got worse. This SOCIAL & VERBAL BULLYING caused her mom to pull her out of school mid-year to be homeschooled all the way through 7th grade. Emma thought she was ready to return this year as an 8th Grader, and her mom agreed.
to return to Emma's page for educators, parents and older student
But back in school, Emma soon felt herself left out and excluded from things, again, by her peers. She says classmates started being mean.
"If you're not part of a preppy or popular group, you're a nobody. Nobody cares about you,"
Emma told Kaitlin Stansell, Reporter and Anchor for Live5News of South Carolina.
"Kids who don't have a voice, don't speak up and get put down."
Emma became so sad and depressed. She had thoughts of hurting herself to make it stop. Emma left school again to get away from the bullies and currently is asking the school district to be homeschooled. Emma says....
"KIDS NEED TO REALIZE THAT
THEY'RE SAYING HURTFUL THINGS THAT COULD END UP WITH SOMEONE HURTING THEMSELVES."
IT TURNS OUT, THAT EMMA IS THE ONE WHO HAS STEPPED UP TO DO SOMETHING BY SPEAKING OUT!!
Emma found her courage when her 6th grade sister started coming home upset almost daily from being bullied at the same middle school. Every day she told Emma stories about rumors being spread about her or one of her friends. This inspired Emma to find her voice and commit to staying strong. Seeing her sister struggle with bullies, too, "motivated me that something needed to be done. Emma is "very nervous" about ever returning to school. She says she needs to "STAY STRONG"!
Be-A-Friend Project Ambassadors,
YOU are EXPERTS at helping your peers to stay strong!! YOU GOT THIS!!
Let Emma know you care and tell her SHE IS A SOMEBODY TO YOU!
Maybe YOUR letter will end up on her wall as inspiration! :)
"I was on my own... I don't stand up for myself... I got to the point where I didn't care anymore. I didn't even want to be here. I didn't want to have to deal with it (bullying) every day because it was an every day thing... I wanted everybody to know that I wasn't OK and something needed to be done."
Emma and her little sister, Ashlyn!
asked by ANCHOR KAITLIN STANSELL of Live5News in Charleston, SC
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SEE CHANGED AT YOUR SCHOOL?
"I want to see the kids who don't have a voice now, I want to see them get a voice. And I want to see the depressed kids who don't talk, and who feel like things need to be done, I want them to just stand up and tell people that they are not okay... I want teachers to do more with the bullying... "
WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO SAY TO OTHER KIDS YOUR AGE THAT MIGHT BE GOING THROUGH THIS?
"Stay strong. Stay positive. I want them to know that if they are depressed, it gets better. Hurting yourself is not the answer. That is not a way that is going to solve it. They need to stick through it and stand up for themselves... they shouldn't be scared to tell their friends or parents that they are depressed... because most of the time, parents will take it seriously. If you feel that way, you need to tell somebody. You can't keep it in. Keeping it in makes it worse.
Mail Letters for Emma to...
See The Wish/Be-A-Friend Project
246 Main Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516
DUE DATE FOR EMMA'S LETTERS: APRIL 20TH!
Or, you can skip the postage and email your letter or drawing
(embedded in the email or a clear picture or scanned letter) to firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll print it out and include it in her "Friend Mail" package!
The Be-A-Friend Project does not give advice, therapy
Our one purpose is to send letters and cards of encouragement and caring from kids to kids.