Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri: Mentors and mentees
Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,
I think it's great what you are doing but kids at my school and teachers and principals aren't really interested anymore about bullying. It's like it happens to everyone and so what?
I have been bullied since I was like in 6th grade. It was like everyday because I got braces. Well, everyone had braces but I was the one that these girls who were popular thought it was funny to make faces at me, poke me all the time, and laugh.
It was worse in the seventh grade when, I guess, the same girls posted pictures of me with me smiling and my braces showing. So I started getting sick all the time and didn't go to school very much so I got bad grades. I also tried drinking and smoking pot. But it was dank.
When I told my parents, they told me to "straighten up my act and then you won't be bullied." I told my teacher one day because I was crying out in the hall and having anxiety so bad that I thought I was going to die. My teacher was really nice and she said she would watch out for me but she couldn't really do that.
So I gave up and then this girl that was sort-of the only friend I had from church said she noticed I was bullied and why didn't I stand up for myself. I didn't answer. So she started standing up for me in high school and now she's my friend.
I wanted to tell you that because I look up to her like a Mentor. Thanks.
Just a Mentee
What a brilliant solution to help you not be a victim anymore! You really overcame big challenges without becoming an addict, a self-harmer, or committing suicide. These are all things that happen quite often to those that are bullied like you were.
In fact 28 percent of students ages12-18 are bullied badly enough to stop 160,000 students from attending school each year. This is reflected in reports by the National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S. Department of Education.
You were blamed for being bullied when adults needed to let you know that it isn't your fault. You didn't deserve to be bullied, humiliated, ostracized, and shamed. You are of great worth in the eyes of God.
Your new friend became your Mentor and you allowed yourself to become the Mentee. She stood up for you instead of standing by.
As you continue to heal, you and your friend could start a Mentor-Mentoring program at your school by:
Having your program authorized and supported by teachers, parents and administrators.
Holding monthly meetings with volunteers, preferably those who have gone from being a victim-survivor-leader ... our foundation's Triangle-of-Triumph.
Creating an active mission to let students know they matter, they belong, and they are valued.
Letting bullied students know that bullying is unfortunate but it can be stopped.
Helping the Mentees know their voice counts and they can't ignore bullying and expect it to stop on its own.
Helping other victims find hope and worth will cause you to become a strong, compassionate, and giving Servant Leader.
Rhonda and Dr. Cheri
Rhonda Orr is the president and founder of the Prescott-based Rhonda's STOP BULLYING Foundation for Girls.
Dr. Cheri L. McDonald, PhD, LMFT, is a crime-victim specialist. Send your anonymous questions to Rhonda@rhondastopbullying.org or by mail to The Daily Courier 1958 Commerce Center Circle, Prescott, AZ 86301.