SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Leading the way in preventing bullying among teens in our nation by saying YES (Youth Establishing Strength).
“I don’t want anyone to have to deal with what I have had to deal with,” said Jacob Gardener.
17 year old Jacob Gardener was one of 400 students from all around New England attending The National Youth Campaign to End Bullying Conference at the Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday. Gardener who is a junior at a Connecticut high school was a victim of bullying. He is using his experiences to help others become more accepting.
“It’s about affirming people and saying yes to who they are and not saying no you can’t act that way or you can’t look that way or you can’t be that way. Its yes you can be who you are,” said Gardener.
The goal of the conference was to help the teens learn from each other and understand how to end bullying.
“They are the ones who can stand out and step up in an everyday situation and change the environment for themselves and everyone else and they can do it,” said Rochell Calhoun, Dean of Student Affairs, Skidmore College.
The event was sponsored by The National Conference of Community Justice. It’s a group dedicated to creating a prejudice free generation and ending bullying. Bullying affects more than 13 million teens each year. It’s something Gardener is dedicated to stopping no matter how long it takes.
“It makes it worth it to see the smile on someone’s face because they know they’re not alone out there and they know that one day they might be able to go to school and say I am who I am take me for who I am,” said Gardener.
For more information check out: www.youthsayyes.org.