Girl Scout Brooke Sahli wants you to take a stand against bullying!
For many anti-bullying advocates, the passion to stop bullying comes from having experienced bullying firsthand.
That’s especially true for young women. Nationally, one-third of girls ages 12–18 say that they have been bullied at school.
However, Brooke came face to face with the seriousness of bullying in different way: In the eighth grade, a close friend of hers took his own life because he was being bullied. This was a wake-up call to Brooke, who says that it hurts her to think anyone would consider harming themselves because they felt like they were being teased or harassed.
“I want to help spread the anti-bullying word and give people a chance to know what they can do or where they can go to get help,” says Brooke.
“People don’t understand how their words or actions can make someone feel threatened, ugly or different,” she points out.
“I think if kids can recognize what teasing and gossip can do to people, maybe they can start showing compassion and empathy to others.”
So, in typical Girl Scout fashion, Brooke decided to turn her passion and drive into action and real-world change.
As a long-time Girl Scout, Brooke knew that her Gold Award project could be the perfect opportunity to make a big impact.
Her idea? A bullying prevention fair that could reach hundreds people in her community—including kids, teens and parents.
Her goal is to give people who are being bullied resources that will help them know where they can go for help.
But Brooke wants to take it one step further: she knows that many people don’t even recognize that they are part of the problem. So she’s also planning to reach out to people who are bulling others, “so they can see how bullying hurts people and where they can go to get help if they need it.”
Teaming Up to Make a Difference
In order to have the biggest possible impact, Brooke is teaming up with a wide range of youth development and public safety organizations to host her bully-prevention fair in the Spring of 2015.
The fair will include many different booths where people like police, crisis clinic staff and school counselors can talk with attendees and provide resources.
Brooke is also coordinating a variety of speakers—including those who were bullied and can talk about their personal journey—to share ways that others can both recognize and help stop bullying.
On top of the person-to-person interactions, Brooke is also putting together printed and online resources to make her project reach even further. For example, she’s working with the director and producer of The Bully Project to gather the resources she needs to put into a booklet she will distribute at the event.
How YOU Can Help #StopBullying
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which means it’s a great time to think about how you can become a leader to #StopBullying in your community.
You can take inspiration from Brooke to create a big project (check out this post for some ideas), or start with the small steps, like these suggestions from the bullying prevention website StopBullying.Gov:
Speak Up: If you feel uncomfortable with the comments or actions of someone … tell someone! If you’re a girl or a teen, letting a trusted adult know what’s going on is better than letting the problem continue.
Raise Awareness: Write a blog, letter to the editor of your local newspaper, or tweet about bullying.
Be a Friend First: You can be more than a bystander to bullying by reaching out and being nice to someone who is being bullied. Being friendly can go a long way toward making them feel like they are not alone.
Even though bullying is complicated issue, Brooke is determined that actions—both big and small—can make a difference. “This has made a big impact on my life, and now I see bullying all over,” she says. “I really believe this problem can be stopped.”
The Go Gold series features some of our amazing Gold Award Girl Scouts. If you know a Girl Scout you’d like to nominate, email email@example.com.