GOOD NEWS Bulletin Board:
The Friend Strong Musical
Bullied 8th Grader tried to "disappear for good"
but now hopes to stay strong to help bullied little sister!
We finally have a 2nd chance to help a child that did give up.
Let's show Emma how much she matters and make her FRIEND STRONG!
story for the little ones!
Are your kids too young to understand and discuss "Bullycide"?
Dear EDUCATORS, PARENTS and TEEN AMBASSADORS,
Emma was the second child within 7 days at her middle school that attempted suicide due to bullying. The first child was successful.
Statistics on bullying and suicide are unacceptable. A child under 13 dies from suicide in the USA every 3.4 days. For every suicide among young people, there are at least 100 suicide attempts.
EMMA WANTS TO GIVE A VOICE TO OTHER KIDS SUFFERING WITH DEPRESSION AFTER BEING BULLIED. SHE IS BRAVELY SPEAKING OUT.
Emma is our first Project Youth who wants to SPEAK UP about it, but not the first to go through it. She is NOT alone. We are supporting her in bringing her story out of the darkness. Having read over 7K "Friend Mail" letters, we can tell you, kids already know about "bullycide."
Bullying victims as young as 1st grade have been taunted by classmates to "just kill yourself" and "why don't you just die. Nobody wants you alive." These taunts are commonplace in middle and high school bullying.
Emma says, "KIDS NEED TO REALIZE THAT THEY'RE SAYING HURTFUL THINGS THAT COULD END UP WITH SOMEONE HURTING THEMSELVES."
Still, some kids are too young to understand and some of us unprepared to discuss. So, we've created a page (button to the right) that tells Emma's story leaving out the suicide attempt.
It's your decision what to share or read. You know best! Thanks for helping bullied youths to heal!!
"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," are words Emma's mom uses to describe 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.
Emma says that being back in school for 8th grade started great, but soon she 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 survived her attempt to end her life on January 6th. After weeks of hospitalization and therapy, EMMA IS BACK WITH A PURPOSE. She says that she saw kids on line joking about their classmate's suicide. Emma says....
"SUICIDE IS NOT A JOKE... KIDS NEED TO REALIZE THAT
THEY'RE SAYING HURTFUL THINGS THAT COULD END UP WITH SOMEONE HURTING THEMSELVES."
During her recovery, her 6th grade sister started coming home upset almost daily from being bullied at the same middle school. This has 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." She contacted the Live5News with a POWERFUL LETTER hoping to lead to change... (letter below)!!
Emma is "very nervous" about returning to school and battling the district for her right to remain homeschooled. She is already hearing about rumors being spread about her throughout the middle 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 guess I just 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 got pushed to that point... I just wanted everybody to know that I wasn't OK and something needed to be done... I didn't really want to die. "
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 and want to die, it gets better. Dying is not the answer. Dying is not a way that is going to solve it. They are going to cause so many people to hurt... 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 and want to die... 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 email@example.com
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.