LETTERS OF SUPPORT DELIVERED
YAY! WE DELIVERED ON 2/17/19!
Anthony's 1,981 letters of peer support were presented to him in a surprise event led by DR. CERULLO and DANIELA CERULLO of TEACH ANTI-BULLYING of PA as family members cheered! In a very special surprise, our 11th Friend Mail Recipient "ROBERT" presented the bin of letters at the event to Anthony!
Watch this 8 minute video FULL OF LOVE of the Friend Mail presentation for Anthony! (Have tissues nearby!)
As Anthony's mom wrote "Anthony has a huge smile on his face and it warms all our hearts knowing there are so many people out there who work so hard to make ONE child’s day!"
Thank you to our anti-bullying partners at TEACH ANTI-BULLYING for making this presentation possible!!
"I can't live like this anymore, mom" says 14-year-old Philly boy after 9 years as target of bullying!
Anthony has the "BIGGEST HEART," his mom told us, and would never hurt anyone. He has shown great emotional strength in trying to overcome his bullies over the past 9 years, but now the lifelong trauma is becoming too much for him to bear.
HELP US make Anthony FRIEND STRONG!
In most ways, Anthony is like every other kid, and in some ways, he is very unique. This Pennsylvania 14-year-old loves to play the drums, basketball and pool, and he loves Zombie movies! His teachers call him "the facts kid" because Anthony has interesting facts to share every day, especially about his favorite subject, SCIENCE! He's so smart! And he likes to read and take the time to write thoughtful letters, so his mom knows he will appreciate every letter of support he gets.
Anthony likes to be active. He can be impulsive and sometimes it's hard for him to control his thoughts. As far back as Kindergarten, Anthony's peers tagged him as "different" and would not want to play with him. Instead,they made fun of him for his differences. It started on the bus. Kids would push him under the seat and kick him. They would steal his backpack, throw it out the window, and then tell the bus driver that he did it himself. Anthony did not yet have the verbal ability to speak up for himself in Kindergarten, so he would just take the punishment.
Bullies are entertained by causing other's to be hurt, inside and outside.
Physical, social and verbal bullying continued up through fourth grade. His bullies called this handsome, caring and intelligent boy names meant to hurt like ....
"STUPID" "UGLY" "CRAZY"
His bullies told their classmates not to play with him and they listened. Anthony was only 9 when he tried to escape the cruelty by an attempt to end his life.
Aided by a psychiatric diagnosis, Anthony's parents were able to transfer their son out of that school to a specialized school where, for a few years, he caught a break from the bullying and everything was okay... until he was transferred back to his old school in the 7th grade.
His bullies picked up right where they left off greeting him with "the retarded kid is back." Even worse for Anthony, the junior high kids started calling his mother vulgar names because they knew this would upset him the most. Every day at lunch, food was thrown on Anthony. Still, when one of Anthony's bullies tripped and fell on the bus, Anthony's instinct was to reach out and give him a hand, but that boy pushed his help away saying, "I don't want your hands on me."
Now in 9th Grade, the bullying has expanded from school into the cyber world of social media and into the community. The bullies find him at the skatepark and the basketball court in the park, causing him to be afraid to go outside. One had the nerve to knock on his door with an apology and an invitation to come hang out, only to be jumped once he was lured around the corner and out of sight of his house. He limped home, according to his mom, with a black eye and bruised rib. This sabotage happened twice. Both times the police were called, but there was no evidence and the bullies denied it. A few weeks ago, new bus cameras finally caught the bullies throwing batteries at Anthony's head.
Anthony's case caught the attention of the Pennsylvania organization, our anti-bullying friends, TEACH ANTI-BULLYING, and its founder, Dr. Claudio Cerullo. They have been working with Anthony's school to improve his safety and they honored Anthony for his big heart and resilience as a survivor of bullying. They also referred Anthony to us for FRIEND MAIL at this critical time when every few day, he battles not to act on his intense feelings of hopelessness.
Traditionally, we only choose Friend Mail Recipients from the 1st-8th Grades, so Anthony will be our first young high school recipient. We just know the letters and drawings of support from younger kids will make him smile and help heal the bullying he endured from classmates since Kindergarten, while the high school writers might bring hope and strength for his future.
In a panel of youths that includes past Friend Mail Recipient and Super Ambassador, ROBERT, TEACH Anti-Bullying gave Anthony the chance to speak up about what it feels like to be bullied, and he said,
"I'm being me and they hate me because of that, and I asked them (the bullies), why do you have a problem with me being me when I don't have a problem with you being you? .... They just walked away. It's gotten so bad to the point that I can't even go to the park by myself and play basketball because I'm scared that they're gonna be there."
Ambassadors, we've been asked to help make a difference in Anthony's life. Anthony needs to know he is worthy of friends and kindness from his peers! YOU CAN HELP us to overpower his bullies with our army of kindness and tell him to stay strong and that it will get better!
TEACHERS: Play this Youtube Video by our ON-AIR TEEN AMBASSADOR, BRIELLE WITHERS, to teach your YOUNGER STUDENTS all about Anthony! For more mature details, read story on this page, too!
"I asked them (the bullies), why do you have a problem with me being me when I don't have a problem with you being you..."
A screenshot of cyber-bullying against Anthony on Snapchat
Dr. C of TEACH Anti-Bullying with Anthony
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The Be-A-Friend Project does not give advice, therapy or intervention.
Our one purpose is to send letters and cards of encouragement and caring from kids to kids.
PLEASE Mail Letters for Anthony to...
See The Wish/Be-A-Friend Project
246 Main Street
Cold Spring, NY 10516
DUE DATE FOR ANTHONY'S LETTERS IS JANUARY 30TH!
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 his "Friend Mail" package!
449 LANE GATE ROAD, COLD SPRING, NY 10516
Co-President Jennifer Cell: 845-742-7112
The organization’s formal legal name is BE A FRIEND PROJECT, INC.
It is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization / Federal Tax ID # 84-2802576.
Any donation to the Be A Friend Project, Inc. is tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law, thank you!