Imagine how it feels to dread going to school because of the taunts, cruel teasing, insults, and even physical attacks from classmates.
To be intimidated and ostracized.
To feel friendless. Vulnerable. To sit all alone at lunchtime, day after day . . .
Bullied kids are more likely to find reasons to stay home from school, about 160,000 a day according to the National Education Association.
They’re more likely to drop out of school.
More likely to have trouble learning.
More likely to be depressed.
And more likely to commit suicide!
According to the Centers for Disease Control suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people.
This should be a wake-up call for all of us.
Bullying won’t go away on its own. It takes people willing to step up and do what they can to put an end to bullying. And Natalie Hampton is a young woman who stepped up in a big way.
Her classmates bullied her for two long years. Targeted by her tormentors, she endured the embarrassment of having to eat lunch alone every single day. Eventually she changed schools and decided that she wanted to create something that would address bullying in a positive way. Natalie says, “It was my job to stand up and do something about all the kids who feel like this every day.”
Her free app, called Sit With Us, is an easy way for kids to find a lunch table where they can sit if they have nowhere to go. Students can post “open lunches,” sort of an invitation to other kids to sit with them. It’s a simple way to reach out to others, spread kindness, and make new friends.
In Boca Raton, Florida a group of high schoolers formed a club called We Dine Together. It’s an effective way of combating the ostracizing effects of bullying by making sure that no one eats alone. But this club does much more than that. It is about breaking down social isolation, learning to become leaders, and building relationships by accepting others.
If you are a victim of bullying . . . have a child who’s being bulled. . . or want to do your part to put a stop to bullying, here are resources to help.
Our choices matter.
Our actions matter.
And our voices matter.
Together we can spread hope and beauty and transform our world.
10,000 Butterflies is dedicated to planting hope and growing change. Every one of us has the power to create positive change — in our own lives and in the lives of others. Together we can solve problems and build stronger communities. 10,000 Butterflies is a place to connect with others making good things happen, to find resources, to be inspired and to celebrate what connects us instead of what divides us.
Please join us.
Bonnie Pond is the founder of the 10,000 Butterflies Project and author of The Power of Three: How to be Happy and Get What You Want in Life (Without Doing Anything Illegal, Immoral, or Unethical) and Unlock Your Creativity: 30 Days to a More Creative YOU!