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Remarkable! Blog

Be The Light

Posted Hadleigh Painter on 2/27/2015 |

Remarkable! People

Hadleigh Painter is a 16-year-old Girls on the Run alumna from Charlotte, North Carolina. Hadleigh has put her Girls on the Run spirit to work as an honor student, track star, community volunteer, fashion fan, actor and anti-bullying spokesperson. Her motto—“Be the light. Lead the way with kindness, compassion, understanding and generosity”began, in part, from values she learned as a Girl on the Run.

Hadleigh now tours nationally with the Reality Dance Jam Tour and is their official anti-bullying voice, speaking from the stage at their performances and developing a large social media following. She is also working to found an anti-bullying nonprofit organization in conjunction with haute couture designer Luis Machicao.

We asked Hadleigh to be a guest author, sharing what she says to other teens about bullying.

Every day, more than 160,000 teens skip school because of bullying. The No Bullying site reports that 83 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report being bullied online or in school. These are staggering statistics.

And before you shake your head at me and say, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, we’ve heard that all before,” I ask you to think about the people each of you know personally who have threatened to run away, retaliate or even kill themselves because they just "can’t deal with it" anymore.

I personally know people who cut on themselves, drink or do drugs to numb the pain. I personally know people who have tried to commit suicide—some more than once—because of it. This is not ok. We all need to step up and actually do something.

Be the person who says something nice when everyone else says something mean. Be the person to change the subject, to say stop, to tell someone about the bullying. Be part of the solution. You may end up saving more than one life. Because here’s another staggering statistic: victims of chronic bullying are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school.

But I can, you can, we all can do something about this. We can change things. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) reports that bullying stops within 10 seconds 57 percent of the time if someone intervenes. We must be brave and step up. We must tell someone if we are being bullied or know of someone else who is. Don’t let it slide—even if someone says it doesn’t really matter or bother them. I speak from personal experience when I say it does hurt. It does matter. No one wants to be made fun of or treated like they’re nothing. No one deserves to be humiliated or pushed or harmed.

We all matter. We are all important. We all have value. Together, we can make a positive change. We can be the ones who are brave enough to speak up, to stand up and effect change.

Be The Light. Be a light in our generation. Be a light in the world. Lead with acts of kindness, compassion, understanding and generosity. Stand together with me against bullying. Together, we can do this.

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