“I don’t believe in luck, I believe in hope.” -Alex Libby
What is teen activism? Alex Libby, Emily-Anne Rigal, Dave and Matt Cavedon, and Lee Hirsch. These people are all teen activists, and they make a difference in our world. The goal of teen activism is to change this world and make it better. Without teen activists this world wouldn't be where it is. Some motivation, hope and faith, communication, and support is all needed for teen activism to be successful. Activists like Alex Libby, Emily-Anne Rigal, Dave and Matt Cavedon, and Lee Hirsch, are all people who help our world to get better today.
To start, everyone who fights for something has a reason. All activists, including teen ones, have motivations. These motivations that these activists have are very different. Some people may be motivated by family members or friends, while others may see something on the News or in a magazine. Due to this, teen activists are usually inspired and devoted. For example, Emily-Anne Rigal fights to stop bullying, and she never gives up. She is devoted because after being bullied so bad she had to transfer schools, she didn’t stop fighting. Instead Emily-Anne decided to keep on fighting and paired with other companies, along with her own, to fight bullies. Much like Emily-Anne, Alex Libby is devoted. Alex Libby has overseen his fears, and he stars the main role in a documentary, Bully. This shows how devoted he is because he's working for hours everyday to help a cause and conquer his fear. What Alex Libby does takes lots of time and effort.
Meanwhile, teen activists around the world face many problems and obstacles before meeting their goals. These obstacles can vary from having one's work be undone by people who aren't stopping bad things, up to the costs of being a target of many people. Lee Hirsch, a teen activist, helps with bullying. So many people have seen his documentary against bullying, starring Alex Libby. Challenges that Alex Libby used to face are things like the constant strangling or punching from his bullies. Even Lee Hirsch stated that he had been thinking about making Bully for quite a while, but was too scared to try.
Another thing that teen activists must be successful in before they can fix their problems is communication. Without communication people won't learn about the cause one may need them too, and the problems that person is fighting for is only going to escalate.
For instance, Matt Cavedon, a teen activist that helps to build play structures for disabled children, gets his word around by working with his dad, holding meetings, helping others, and being on the news himself. This is important because it helps to teach people about how people are being bullied, and due to this making the problem surprisingly better for disabled children. Although most activists spread their causes like this, others may write books, go door to door, or even get permission from stores to hang their flyers on busy store property. While Matt Cavedon spreads the word in these methods, Alex Libby, a anti bullying activist, spreads the word by a documentary he was featured in. Daily, Alex Libby would be punched, strangled, or threatened many times by bullies. His way of spreading word; being the star of documentary Bully. After this, online media started spreading Alex Libby’s story. Once his story was told his bullies backed down, he found himself getting hugged by random people in the halls of his school. Alex Libby even wears a shirt that says “I stand for silent.” “Most of the kids on that bus, I knew from elementary school, and we were good friends then,” he stated in the documentary, Bully. “But then in middle school, everything changes, and it's all about popularity and who dresses the best and who's the most athletic and who has the best hair. I was not the kid with the best hair.” After Alex Libby shared his feelings and memories on the documentary, people seemed to realize how bad bullying is today.
On the other hand, every teen activist needs support. It may not seem so important, but they really do need it. For a teen activist to make a really important change in the world that others may not see the need to change, they need support from friends, locals, or even random people around the world. For example, Emily-Anne Rigal, a young activist speaking out against all different types of bullying, is supported by work peers and charities. She is also very supported by her old school peers, news companies, and even citizens from around the world. Although Emily-Anne may not be supported by people like bullies and those who are friends of bullies, Emily-Anne has so many other people to help around the world. People around the world look up to varying activists, and unfortunately some don’t. Despite those who may target or hate upon some teen activists, most people look up to teen activists and try to help to make changes for the better of our planet. And it’s not only Emily-Anne that needs support. Activists around the world need support. For example, Dan Cavedon and his son Matt have helped others through the police, in which Dan works for. And not only that, they've helped kids with disabilities! Matt and Dan are supported by friends and family members, along with peers, citizens, and work peers.
The importance of teen activist is significant, and because of the teen activists in our world, places around the world are becoming better and improved. The meaning of teen activism is to make important changes that others may not notice need changing on our planet. Therefore, teen activists, alike much other activists, need support, motivations, ways of communication, and they need to hold hope and faith. Without the hope, faith, and belief that teen activists hold onto, our world might very well not be the one humans live on now.
In the hall, tears stream from her face. Her head throbs and she inches her back against the dirty wall. Her legs drag, lifelessly, towards the wall. She feels like a speck of dirt in a flowerpot full of gold. Her head dangles from her neck, depressed. She had told her homeroom teacher, but he didn’t believe her. She wasn’t in the mood for going to another teacher. Not to be shot down again, at least. Her back moved up the wall. She felt cornered. Stuck. There was no way out for her. She was being bullied, and all she could do was wait because the one person she had gone to had shot her down. What was she going to do next? What if it never ended? Another tear slips from her red and itchy eyes, onto her bruised purple cheek that her old friend had punched. She never knew someone like her would be bullied by someone like that.
One would be surprised, many kids are bullied. Whether it’s through a computer or in person, 20% of students in a high school interview said that they had had thoughts of committing suicide due to bullying in the last month, and that's only the ones that thought about suicide and confessed to it.
Studies from The Center for Disease Control, in 2015, claimed that “Students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems than students who only bully or are only bullied.” And, Gini $ Pozzoli state that, “Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches,” In 2013.
These statements both show that bullying can have affects on people that bullies, victims, and even others like teachers may not see. A common problem is the teachers. Many teachers or adults hear of bullying or see it, but put it aside. Teens around the world go to teachers because of bullying. Consistently these adults say that it's not bullying, that the student is overreacting, or that the antagonist is just joking around. It sounds surprising to many, that teachers of all people, would shoot down possible victims of bullying. Those teachers who may not shoot down the students may not even be asked because students begin to fear they will be shut down. This can cause students to begin to react badly.
For example, while the teacher seemingly, innocently, shoots down the bullying, the teen involved gets upset. A study that took place in 2011 showed that every year an average of 160,000 people skip a day of school because of bullying. Many more people transferred schools because of bullying. That same year another study took place in a high school. This showed that a shockingly large number of kids think about committing suicide each month. A sickly 20% of high school students have these thoughts each month.
According to Britannica, a popular research website, “Victimization rates are also substantially higher among gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth and among youth who are overweight or disabled.” This is so unfortunate because bullies are targeting people who aren’t like them. But it’s not only them. “...Bullying extends beyond young people and the schoolyards. Adults also experience bullying, especially in the workplace.” Claims Brittanica.
Another common problem, advocation. Students and adults don’t advocate. They keep their bullying experiences to themselves, they fear sharing their memories because they are scared of being hurt. And awfully, many kids commit suicide because of bullying, thinking death is better than what is happening to them at school, home, or anywhere else. They feel trapped, and like there is no way out, so instead of fighting they give up, try to find peace by killing themselves. This depressing reality comes from kids not advocating, not standing up, and adults or other friends not listening.
Teachers and parents around the world might not be listening, but many others are. Luckily, the victim's friends may help out, or a different trusted adult. On the upside, on average, 50% of bullying decreases when anti-bully programs step in. Maybe it’s saying something. Maybe, just maybe, humans are on the trail to a better planet without bullying…
The fresh breeze marches across schoolchildren’s faces. Recess time. Everyone loves recess time. Meanwhile, Matt Cavedon is stuck, grounded to a wheelchair, being bullied for his differences. Officer Dan Cavedon, Matt’s father, is out fighting bullying himself at the moment in the police department, but Matt is left alone. He is unable to play on the playground the other children are dancing upon. Then, Matt gets an idea. What if he could play on the playground like all the other kids…
When Bullying increased, it became a much bigger problem. Today bullying is a larger problem than in the past, and now the police have been involved. To the surprise of many, bullying is spreading more rapidly than ever before. Researchers and anti bully corporations are trying to figure something out; why is it that bullies tend to be friends with other bullies? So far, researchers have found that either bullies are just choosing to be friends with others, or more likely, influencing their friends.
Officer Dan Cavedon, the father to Matt Cavedon, fights against bullying with his son. Not only does Dan help Matt to stand up to his own bullies, he helps others stand up to bullying, learn how to defend themselves, learn about how to prevent bullying, and helps parents with helping their children.
Matt Cavedon, who is only fourteen and can not walk due to a disability, is grounded to a wheelchair yet fighting harder than ever. He shows us anyone can stand up to bullies. Since Matt is unable to do many things due to his disability, and one is which he can’t play on play structures. Every person in this world has probably had those memories of swinging on the swing sets at their school, or playing an innocent game of swim fishy swim, and maybe even some lava monster on the playground. Imagine one couldn't do any of those things, and they were stuck to a wheelchair. Life would be harder, one may be picked on, hurt.
Matt lived this dystopia. Unfortunately, he even experienced the bullying. He’s only fourteen years old, yet he’s working hard to make things better.
At his age now Matt has been designing and building play structures made for disabled children, so people like him don’t have to live the bad school life he did. While Matt’s dad tells parents how to stand up to bullying, and specifically cyber bullying at that, Matt fights on his own time.
Meanwhile officer Dan Cavedon is, too, fighting. He tells parents about how they should keep electronics in busier rooms so that they can watch their children. He tells adults to sit down and talk with kids about bullying, make sure they know what's going on. If it wasn't for this Matt may have not told his father of his own bullying, and the great activists that humans have now in the Cavedon family might not be out helping us.
Truthfully, many know bullying is bad, but not many people think that police get involved. Officer Dan Cavedon and Matt Cavedon fight against bullying today. It’s not only them, it’s others around the world. Remember, victims of bullying are not alone.