Arizona Youth Put a Dent in Bullying

By Sharon Bayliss, Contributing Writer

These Arizona teens stand up to bullies in a big way.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 1 in every 3 students in the U.S. has been a victim of bullying, and 70% of students have witnessed bullying. However, the youth in Buckeye, Arizona who founded the BEE BRAVE program believe that we can do better.


In May of 2014, these youth launched the BEE BRAVE initiative, a movement that encourages students to stand up for themselves and others. To fund their programs, they held their first Car Smash Event and attracted the support of local officials such as the fire department, police, city government, schools, and churches. They chose a car smash because they felt like it would be a great way to call attention to the issue and demonstrate the damage done by bullying. The youth wrote words on the car such as “sad” and “worthless” to show how bullying made them feel, then everyone took a turn giving the car a big smash.

79 people attended their first event, and they were asked to return again in the fall. For their next Car Smash Event in November of 2014, they wanted to go even bigger. They turned to Start a Snowball  and requested a grant to assist with costs of the event, such as insurance. Their goal was to increase attendance to 160.

In November, they not only smashed a car, they obliterated their goal. Instead of 160 participants, they attracted 3,000. Crowds of people took the BEE BRAVE pledge–agreeing not to bully and to stand up for others who are being bullied.

Thanks to the Start a Snowball grant and the courageous youth in the BEE BRAVE program, thousands of people have pledged to help prevent bullying and make their community a safer place.

Click to learn more about Bullying and what you can do about it.

“Start a Snowball” in your own community by applying for a grant this summer.

 

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