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Cool to be Weird

Posted: 9/19/2014

I am a Seattle-based musician and music teacher that specializes in teaching kids to find their identity through their voice, songwriting, and performance. Like many, I was also a victim of bullying as a teen, when I was made to feel different and weird. This song—inspired by Dr. Seuss’ “The Sneetches”— is about embracing our differences, and celebrating our uniqueness.

I remember my father reading Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches and Other Stories to me as I lay on the floor and colored one night for reading time. Reading was always a nightly event. It started when my mother would leave to work the night shift and would go until my brother and I would fall asleep in our crayons.

I thought it would be appropriate to return to this old book from my past once more. I remember I was washing dishes when I thought “wait all these Sneetches are running around trying to fit in, trying to be acceptable, but it’s cool to be different, it’s cool to be weird.” With soapy hands and wet pages I wrote the entire chorus while finishing the dishes:

“You got to be comfortable in your own skin, don’t you let them win, because it’s cool not to fit in, so go a little crazy and don’t you fear, because it’s cool to be weird.”

As a one on one guitar and songwriting teacher to teens and young girls I feel this is an important message for our youth. In the video you will see a number of my students and people of Seattle making a statement that it’s okay to be yourself, it’s cool to be weird!

By: Tai Shan

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A Story that Needs to be Told

Posted: 9/15/2014

As a child and student, I suffered the experience of being bullied by other kids. They would call me names, push me around, point out parts of my character that was different than others and make fun of these things with their friends. The verbal abuse from them was constant and painful. I became afraid to do anything. I shied away from taking part in Drama, Dancing at school events, participating in sports, and making friends. It has had an effect on my life as an adult as I feel socially awkward when meeting new people and I have a hard time fumbling for the right words. Yet, the kids weren’t the only part of the bullying process. Adults were nearly as bad, intimidating me with their size, demanding that I do things for their entertainment (Fighting, saying unnecessary phrases to people, or taunting people with racial remarks), and the verbal onslaught from adults was just as bad. It’s one thing to be taunted by a student body, but to continue to be taunted when you leave the school? No child should have to face this. No one should be reminded of how stupid they are or how different they may be or how far they will not go in life.

Now, I am watching my own children go through the schools and life. It breaks my heart when I hear that people still behave the way they did when I was a child and I am proud of those people who are fighting to end this ignorance. Despite our differences, should we not all be good people? Shouldn’t we try to aid the fallen? Shouldn’t our spirits be helpful and kind?

My challenge to those who read this… Let people know that they are important. Help them when they are down, even if you don’t get along with them, even if you have to bite your lip and grind through it. Keep things positive with the people you meet and… if you have children, try to never say anything negative to them about their character or how they look. Love each other.

By: Tim

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For the bullied - you are never alone

Posted: 8/29/2014

I stand alone in a world of exclusion while reality tells me this is no illusion.
Tiny baubles of water form in my eyes and ask myself what have I done to deserve their despise.
They call me names and laugh in my face and tell each other I'm a total disgrace.
Their words hurt and cut to my soul, they make me feel like an under-bridge troll.
I try to be strong and look up to the sky; hoping that someone will hear and understand my cry.

Alone, for no one hears my screams. Alone; with only my hopes and my dreams.
I withdraw into myself - into a world of darkness and despair, a world without color, happiness or prayer.
I'm lost in a deserted darkened orb; my only friend - myself, completely absorbed.
I'm looking for someone to show me the light that will make my life again shiny and bright,
I'm looking for someone to help me chase all my fears, someone to wipe away my endless tears..
Deeper and deeper I slip into depression my mind becoming the bully's possession.
Help me, help me I cry in vain while the bullies continue their hideous game.

And then a light appears in my head - a light of happiness and for once, not dread.
It speaks to me with a voice of silk telling me to release my feelings of guilt.
It tells me I'm like a raindrop falling from a warm spring sky -a kaleidoscope of colors and that I shouldn't worry about the sting of others.
It whispers the beauty I bring to the world should never be lost, forgotten or spoiled. It tells me this beauty lives and thrives in my heart and my soul and should always be cherished and
never fishbowled. And so my eyes begin to open and I finally see that the bullies are no better than me.
Their hate and their envy, are clouds that cover their minds, now my only wish is to remove their blinds.

By: Marty

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My story

Posted: 8/29/2014

Ever since I was 5 years old and started school I was called fat, freak, teachers pet, right through to intermediate. In intermediate I was called ugly wasted space, worthless, FAT, and got beaten up a few times. When I started high school, I was sick of life, I was called emo, attention seeker and the same things in primary, on my second year of high school, my life changed, I had type one diabetes, I was diagnosed with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety, my uncle passed away and I was suicidal. I was addicted to self harm and cutting, I only ever wore black nail polish, my hair was black and I still was an attention seeker, I was told "you should go kill yourself, you're worthless, pathetic, hopeless and mental!" that went on for 2 more years I reached out for help and I left school I went to school and was bullied for 12 years.

By: Kirsten

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Little Bird

Posted: 8/20/2014

You are not ugly
You're a little bird
I know one day you will see
The measure of your worth

Those who crumpled and crushed you
Were acting cowardly
They concealed from view
Their own inadequacy

You are not ugly
Rosebuds are pretty
You are a little tiger
You are silk and amber

You're a caterpillar
You'll know what this means
When a pair of silken wings
Shows you the world from above

I'm sitting in your future
Outside your chrysalis
Keep well and study
Knowledge will set you free

I hope you'll remember
All that you've just heard
Apply to the letter
Every single word

Repeat after me
'I am not ugly
The other kids have lied to me
Because of their own misery'

That is common currency
In human psychology
In time you will see
Despair can breed brutality

There is much beauty
Outside your chrysalis
Hold your head above the mirk
Water nymph
Come forth and become me

By: Nili Roberts

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Stand Up, Speak Out!

Posted: 8/20/2014

Project AHEAD (Asian Health Education and Development) is an eight-week summer internship at the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center for college students interested in health care. Each year, Project AHEAD interns develop a community health project (CHP) that addresses a health issue in the Asian American community. Project AHEAD 2014 selected bullying, a phenomenon impacting youth across the nation, as its CHP topic. Bullying is an under-recognized problem in the Asian American community. It can lead to serious social and health consequences, including substance abuse, mental health issues, and decreased academic achievement. The purpose of Project AHEAD 2014’s anti-bullying video, “Stand Up, Speak Out,” is to increase awareness and knowledge of bullying and available resources in the community.

By: Project AHEAD

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My Mary Cate

Posted: 8/12/2014

Mary Cate Lynch may only be two years old, but she’s already making a huge impact on the world around her. Born with a rare craniofacial condition called Apert Syndrome, Mary Cate looks different from many other kids. After enduring unkind words directed at Mary Cate at a park, her mom, Kerry, decided she had to do something. Now, Kerry and Mary Cate visit young students in their community to educate them about differences, disabilities, and being kind. Kerry encourages other parents to use Mary Cate’s story to teach their children that disabilities aren’t scary, that differences are ok, and that Mary Cate enjoys the same things they do – coloring, candy, and play time.


Read more about Mary Cate.

By: Kerry

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From Being Teased To Spreading Kindness

Posted: 7/18/2014

When I was in preschool I remember getting teased on a regular basis by one specific girl. In her mind there was nothing wrong with pinching me over and over, making my arms red, and yelling at me. It was all fun and games for her and a nightmare for me. All I ever wanted was to make others happy and be friends with everyone. She made it impossible to come to school and not worry about whether I would be pinched or not. I would come home crying trying to figure out what it was that I had done to deserve getting pinched every day. Why did this girl not like me? Was I such a bad kid? What confused me even more was being pinched by someone who on some days would act like my friend, wanting to play together. Did she really think that she would gain a friendship by being mean? Years later since seeing this girl, I ran into her at a day camp and she continued pinching, each time telling an adult that she wasn’t pinching me.

Back in elementary school I got teased more. I wore glasses, usually had my hair in a braid, and was quiet, all of which meant that I was a target for teasing. Certain girls hated me and would tell me how they hated me. I would come home crying, not wanting to have to deal with them again. I wanted to be friends with people not a target for name-calling. I remember coming home after school one day and my mother calling up the parents of the girls who were making me cry and feel hurt. Interestingly, the parents denied their child ever doing anything to me and said that I had made up the whole story to my parents. When my mother got off the phone that night, I recall saying over and over “Mommy they DID tease me, they hurt my feelings!” and my mother would completely understand and know that I wouldn’t make up a story that was so hurtful to me.

As an adult looking back on these experiences, I can’t help but still wonder how people could be so hurtful to others and not see anything wrong with it. What do they really get out of hurting others and making others so upset? Why can’t everyone show kindness towards others? When I was 11 my grandpa passed away and left each of his grandchildren a letter of wisdom. What stuck with me the most, besides hearing the compassion of my grandpa through his words, was his choice to explain how important kindness is to the world: “Be friendly and polite to everybody. Never wait for people to say hello. You say hello to everybody, your friends, relatives, whoever you know.” This is how I have lived my life: with kindness. Treat people how you would like to be treated; don’t wait for others to show you kindness instead show them kindness.

By: Sophie

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All My Life

Posted: 7/15/2014

Most of my life I've been bullied. Mostly for the way that I look, being overweight as a kid is hard. When your little there aren't any boundaries, you just say what's on your mind. As I got older I lost a lot of weight, but I was still on the not so skinny side. People would still make fun of me and it got harder cause the kids that would say things would act as my friends for about 5 minutes then say something insulting. It made me want to just run and cry, but I had to keep strong. I don't know what makes them want to hurt someone, it's enough knowing what they say be hide your back but hearing someone say it directly at you, makes worse to handle it. My middle school experience was the worst, in 6th grade I was bullied during p.e. for just being there at the wrong time. I was bullied by a girl that was bigger then me, she thought since she had girls backing her up and that she knew she was bigger then me, made her feel that she could toss me around. At one point it went to far, they had pulled down my shorts in front of everyone. My friends really didn't back me up, which made me think if I even had any friends. I thought they didn't want to help because they were afraid they would become another victim. But as I progressed it got better for me, I always stand up for people who are bullied even if I don't, know them. I'm about to enter my 2nd year of high school and I feel safe, for once in my life. I don't get judged and I don't let people say nasty things to me, I stand up because I've become a fighter not just for myself but for others.

By: Sophia

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Roar Against Bullying

Posted: 7/15/2014

Roar Against Bullying

By: The students of Sheridan Middle School

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