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Inspired Fundraising

Shine Bullying Prevention

Posted: 5/14/2014

Madison Cantwell knows what it’s like to be bullied. And she’s determined to prevent it from happening to anyone else. After winning the title of Miss Heart of the Ozarks International, Madison has visited schools, created a Facebook page, and gotten her community involved in Unity Day. She even created a pageant, Little Miss and Miss Belle, to benefit PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center – and raised over $1,000! The students Madison speaks to are truly touched by her efforts, her listening ear, and her story.

“I personally suffered through bullying for about 6 years or so, and it is without a doubt the most haunting experience I have ever been through. Not only did I go through this myself, I also witnessed my best friend face the same tribulation. I have been surrounded by verbal, physical, and cyber bullying for most of my school years. Even when it wasn't happening to me or a close friend, it was most definitely still present. Bullying breaks my heart, and it has left the deepest scars in me. Throughout my bullying prevention adventures, I have heard so many stories and had so many children and adults confide in me. I've had children tell me that I have given them the courage to tell their teacher about what's happening to them at school. I've had teens tell me I've given them hope even during a time that seems so dark, nearing the point of suicidal thoughts. I even had one parent come to me in tears after I spoke at an event, thanking me for speaking out because so many people in this world are afraid to do so; his son attempted suicide because of bullying last December, and he called his son over to come and talk with me a while, and it was one of the most beautiful things to be able to be a positive ray of light for someone who is struggling to that extent. After everything I've been through, I feel that is is my duty to make sure that no one else ever has to endure the same terrible things. Every life I change, every smile I bring to a victim's face, every attitude towards bullying that I change makes my broken heart and those deep scars so very worth the pain.

“I’ve spoken at several different schools in Northwest Arkansas about bullying, read bullying prevention stories (including The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin) to children at the library, spoken at various events in Northwest Arkansas, encouraged my friends and family to wear orange on Unity Day, and hosted my own fundraising pageant (Little Miss and Miss Belle 2014) to benefit PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. I hand out PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center’s bookmarks wherever I can, and I’ve started my own Facebook page, SHINE Bullying Prevention. Through these endeavors, I have raised $1,000 for PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which I will be withdrawing from the online fundraising site soon in order to place my donation. The young woman who won my bullying prevention pageant is a victim of bullying herself, and she and I are planning events together for the near future. We just recently spoke to about 280 elementary school students and then to the 5th and 6th graders of a local school. Miss Belle was moved to tears as she talked about her experiences with bullying. The response the children had to our message absolutely blew me away. We really got through to them, and that will never stop filling me with amazement and providing me with hope for a bully-free future.”

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Be a Friend, Bring a Friend, Make a Friend

Posted: 1/24/2014

For her 11th birthday party, Anistyn thought big…and kind! Anistyn held a Be a Friend, Bring a Friend, Make a Friend party, to which she invited everyone in her middle school for music, dancing, and food – all created by kids and teens! Anistyn remembers her mom telling her that for every one mean person, there are ten more that are nice. So Anistyn made the theme of her party: “When we stand together, no one stands alone.” About a new friend who has a disability, Anistyn writes, “No one was laughing at Estelle or making fun of her when she got on stage and sang along. We had fun helping her and being nice to her. This was one of my favorite parts of the entire night because I realized how fun it is to be friends with people who are different.” To top it all off, Anistyn gave up her birthday presents this year in order to donate to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. She and her friends raised over $1,300 to help kids who have been bullied! Read more.

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Tri-City United Schools Inspire Basketball Fans

Posted: 1/22/2014

Tri-City United High School’s Gay Straight Alliance wanted to raise awareness of bullying at their school in a way that would get their classmates fired up about the issue. Knowing that their school’s basketball team was popular on and off the court, these students decided to link bullying prevention and basketball in one big awareness-raising event. Before the game, the GSA sold white t-shirts for the “White Out” games and donated the proceeds to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. At the game, fans signed a banner to pledge their support of bullying prevention. After half time, players ran through another banner to signify busting out of bullying. Whether their team won or lost, these students had great success in raising awareness of bullying in their community. Read more.

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Trevin Hunte Supports Pacer

Posted: 9/23/2013

Trevin Hunte from NBC’s The Voice (Season 3, Team Ceelo) is speaking out about bullying prevention on behalf of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “I personally know because I have experienced bullying,” he says. “That is why I support bullying campaigns every chance I can, because I don’t want kids to feel like they are alone, because they are not the only ones who have gone through it.”

Trevin says, “I am fortunate to be able to combine two of my passions, my music and to give to PACER with my Pledgemusic fundraiser campaign www.pledgemusic.com/trevinhunte. With the campaign, I am raising money for my music project, while a percentage of the pledges goes to Pacer.”

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Kyle Kleiboeker - Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself

Posted: 8/21/2013

Growing up in a small town, I always knew I was unique. Instead of playing T-Ball, I wanted to be in dance class. Instead of playing at Recess, I was designing costumes for my future “Sold Out World Tour.” I can vividly remember at 7 years old performing for just about anyone who would watch me. It wasn't until 2nd Grade when I was “The New Kid” at school that I realized Bullying existed. I danced in my school talent show and from that moment on my life would never be the same. I performed in a purple sequin jacket with matching purple biker shorts. The guys teased me because ‘dancing was for girls’ and the girls teased me because ‘boys play Soccer.’ After this performance, the kids teased me so badly that I remember not even wanting to attend school.... and all for just being myself and doing what made me happy. Through the constant support of my family I faced adversity in small town middle America, and kept performing while holding on to the hope that one day… things would get better.

Bullying stops us from being who we want to be and prevents us from expressing ourselves freely. Bullying can hurt children and have damaging effects on the rest of their lives. Now, as a successful grown adult looking back… I know that these kids bullied me because they were scared of me. At such a young age I had the courage and conviction to be exactly who I was. I possessed strong traits that they couldn't comprehend and the only way they knew to deal with their fears was to lash out and bully me.

Throughout “Summer Camp” airing on Television I have received thousands of messages from youth and even adults across America. Whether it was a young kid hoping to make it big on Broadway, a teen being harassed at school or a young gay person struggling to fit in… They all had recurring themes. They all want to feel good about themselves- they all want to be loved. After each episode aired I would sit with a cup of coffee spending countless hours responding to each and every one. While driving in my car one day I heard Macklemore’s new song “Same Love” for the first time. The message of this song was so genuine and refreshing to hear coming from the sometimes disappointing music industry. I was so inspired with his words that I teamed up with Mayme Marshall to create a music project aiming to spread more awareness and encouragement to love. We found songs that we both related to that had strong messages. We decided to call this project “Who You Are.”

To any child or person out there that feels like they can’t be who they are, there is a world of possibilities out there waiting for you. I am now living out the dreams that I created when I was 7 years old and one day you too will be celebrated for the special unique qualities that make you, you. Accept no one's definition of your life; define yourself. Push the boundaries of love and acceptance- spread tolerance and equality for ALL people.

Show your support for bullying prevention, all proceeds donated to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, by wearing a special t-shirt designed by Kyle. Check it out here.

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