In recent years, a series of bullying-related suicides in the United States have garnered significant attention from media, government officials, and youth development professionals alike. But adults aren’t the only ones who are taking notice and standing up for change.
Earlier this year, teens from Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta formed a coalition to address the issue focusing on bullying and suicide prevention.
One of the driving faces in this teen-led initiative – Sir Dalvin Holloman – understands bullying firsthand. In fact, just a few months ago, he was cornered by a group of 10 young men in his neighborhood. The suspected gang members beat him down and left him bruised and scarred, but it was not enough to break his spirit.
The teen turned a possible tragedy into an opportunity to stop bullying and encourage others to speak up.
“I want to use it as a launching pad to continue to stay focused and to continue my outreach. If those kids that jumped me had a Boys and Girls Club in their lives, would they have been in that situation?” Sir Dalvin posed. “Probably not.”
According to BullyingStatistics.org, a recent SAFE survey reports that teens in grades sixth through 10th grade are the most likely to be involved in activities related to bullying. About 30 percent of students in the United States are involved in bullying on a regular basis either as a victim, bully or both. These statistics show how prevalent bullying in the United States has become.
The Carver Boys & Girls Club, Sir Dalvin’s Club, has a low incidence of bullying, in part due to the Club’s dedication to keep the anti-bullying message alive.
“Sir Dalvin takes time to talk, write, and act out his passions with the goal of no child feeling bullied or less than others,” said Missy Dugan, President of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta. “We’ve made a huge push to support teen-led initiatives like this at our Clubs that let kids have a voice, drive change themselves, and see that they can make an impact on the world around them.”
Recognizing this passion, Auburn University recently awarded Sir Dalvin with the Anti-Bullying Hero Award. He, along with Boys & Girls Club teen DeQuadray White, led a forum on cyber bullying at their recent Anti-Bullying Summit in Peachtree City, Georgia. Fellow Club members Pherow Drain, Kristian Mitchell and Leslie Pavez led similar discussions at Mercer University in Macon.
During the session, teens facilitated a discussion and served as expert guides to teachers, community leaders, and law enforcement officials on how to address and prevent cyber bullying – a growing trend among youth.
“We will do everything in our power to fight back against bullying,” said Dugan. “And we’ll lean on our teens to speak up, promote compassion and respect, and lead the way.”
There are many ways you can get involved in our movement. Take a Club tour, volunteer, donate or mentor. Click to learn more about opportunities at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta.GET INVOLVED