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I used to always walk to the corner store alone to get groceries for my mom. As I grew older, I began to ask myself, would I send my own child down the street to the store alone?
It wasn’t the crime or drugs, it was a neighborhood bully who always took my candy and insulted me. I didn’t tell my mom about this, but I think somehow she knew.
“straight to the store...be careful” her voice echoed over and over in my head.
So, on what turned out to be a very important day for me, I got my groceries (and a little candy for myself) and there he was, right in my way, blocking me from getting home. He snatched my candy. I said nothing. I couldn’t. I was too afraid of what might happen.
This day was important, though. The voice in my head changed. It was like a switch went off and I knew exactly what I had to do. I turned around and started to run toward the bully, to cut him off.
I ran up to him, jumped up and declared,
“you want me to think that no one cares about me. You want me to give up and just let you push me around. But today, I’m here to tell you that I deserve respect, just like everyone else. “ I held my head high, fearlessly standing on this little vegetable crate. “It’s you who’s afraid. I don’t just speak for myself, but for every kid you’ve ever pushed around. This stops today. I’m not afraid anymore.”
He was shocked as I grabbed the candy from his hand.
Since that moment of change, I have been a public advocate for the bullied, the abused, the voiceless. I am motivated by the power that I found that day, the power to defend my own dignity and to give others who are victims the courage to stand up for themselves.
So today, I look at the state of the world and see all the people who don’t have a voice, who don’t have the courage to stand up for themselves and I can say without a doubt, this is who I will serve the rest of my life.
Going forward, I am seeking a program that will provide the knowledge and network to pursue this mission. Teaching others to be assertive, defending self worth and giving a voice to the voiceless. Together we can solve social issues, those that create bullying in the first place and empower a new generation that supports each other to be strong, confident individuals who embody and promote self worth.
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