Category Archives: Inspired

Help stop bullying Pt. 1-The time to talk is now!

Photos from "Stop Bullying Now! One Mile Fun Walk"
Photos courtesy of: Mental Health America of NE Florida

According to Gayle Eckerd, CEO of River Point Behavioral Health, “Bullying among our children and adolescents has become an epidemic and something needs to be done now.”

To stop an epidemic, there is often a source where a treatment can be implemented and then spread out from there. But, with bullying, each and every case is different because it is not only dealing with the victim of bullying but also the person or persons behind the act of bullying. It is also looking at what is causing this person to act out in this way and we also must ask a few questions; Why is this becoming such a growing problem? What is bullying? Where does the problem of bullying begin? Who is responsible to address these concerns?

The first question to address is the last one. Who is responsible to address these concerns? We all are. This is a concern for everyone to not only realize but to be part of the overall solution. The first thing to recognize is the problem. Look around. Bullying is not something that only happens on the school playground or during playgroups at the park. It is not something that is happening only amongst our young people. This is a problem in homes with siblings, at school within all age groups. Bullying is a problem within the workplace, within our political system, between parents, between parents and their children and the lists go on. What happens is, it isn’t always considered bullying and therefore the issue is getting beyond our grasp and out of control. But, it isn’t beyond help.

Preparing for the walk, everyone can be part of the solution to stop bullying.

In today’s world, anyone who wants to bully someone else can do so in a buffet of places and even without ever showing their face. Once a person becomes aware of the problem bullying has become in our society, it becomes hard to avoid or overlook this issue. The problem is so many people have begun to accept it as a way of life or have learned to overlook it until the problem becomes unavoidable or irreversible. Too many people are getting physically, mentally and emotionally hurt and many are committing suicide over it or living in silence and unspeakable pain on the verge of a meltdown. But, there is help.

Everyone who participates, tells someone else and the word spreads...
that's a good sign!

On Saturday, May 21st, Riverpoint Behavioral Health in Jacksonville, Florida joined forces with Mental Health America of Northeast Florida to organize the “1st Annual Stop Bullying Now! One-Mile Fun Walk” to raise awareness in their community and beyond.

With 200-250 walkers and their tremendous success, this is one of the most powerful ways to make a difference in the battle against bullying. They are reaching out to the younger generation, their friends and families, starting necessary conversations and letting it be known that it is not only okay to talk about bullying but also making it known that bullying against anyone, for any reason, at any age is never okay!

Studies have shown 15-25% of students report being the victim of bullying while 15-20% of students report they engage in bullying. These reported numbers are often low due to victims’ fear of retribution keeping them from coming forward.

Bullying is a form of abuse and can have immediate and long-term effects.

Recently, as seen on the news, reports of suicides have been on the increase due to bullying. Young people who are victims of bullying are more likely to drop out of school, abuse drugs and/or alcohol, have mental health disorders such as depression, eating disorders, self mutilation, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, etc.

Youth who bully are more likely to engage in violence, get involved in gangs, criminal behavior and become abusers as adults. These traits can often effect the next generations as well.

Mental Health America of Northeast Florida has been working to raise awareness of this epidemic of bullying in our country beginning with our local communities. With sponsors like, River Point Behavioral Health who paid for this event, allowing all proceeds to go the Mental Health America of Northeast Florida for their amazing work in not only this event but also working within schools and summer camps, this is an amazing example of what can be done to stop bullying, prevent bullying and everyone can be involved.

Mental Health America of Northeast Florida has found the necessary treatment is to not only treat the victim but also those that feel the need to bully. There is very often a reason behind the bullying but also to get people talking and raise awareness to this growing problem.

Take time to listen. Take time to talk. Talk about bullying.

The more people who get involved and the more help made available, the better the chances for everyone.

In this series of articles, I’ll share different stories from people who have had their lives affected from bullying in one way or another. The only way to effectively stop bullying is to show its hiding places, bring them out into the open and let people know the best thing to do is speak up and get the necessary help when needed. Let people know it is okay to say they need help because they are not alone.

What many people see as harmless fun is very hurtful and has long-term effects to others. This is bullying. This is causing many people a lost childhood, lifelong trauma, physical harm and as we are learning it is more often leading to suicide. This has to stop. It must stop now.

See the signs, read the warnings and act. Don't ignore what is right in front of you.




The first story is something that is horrible and should be unheard of but it is a situation that very much needs to be recognized for what it is.





This is about a young lady that had been bullied by not only one person but multiple people. She was bullied to the point of victimization in both a medical facility and her family environment. She is disabled and required help for much of her daily care.

During what should have been a 5-day admission to a hospital for medical testing for a diagnosis, she was instead bullied, made fun of, called names and left in unsanitary conditions. In the end, due to the lack of care from the medical staff, the correct tests had not been done which led to a long delay of the correct diagnosis. She said, ““It was an awful experience; the mental games were terrifying and I was stuck there because they did not want to discharge me.”

At the hands of her family, where she should have felt the most secure, cared for and loved, she was instead bullied most by her siblings until she was later sent to live with other relatives. There, she was often left alone as a live-in babysitter, neglected for her own daily medical needs and left to fall into the hands of a family friend who raped her.

When she couldn’t take anymore and tried to leave, she was locked in a room, slammed against the wall, unable to use a phone or a bathroom until she eventually crawled out a window and escaped. Yes, escaped. She said, “You hear about human trafficking nowadays, but that was kind of the case, even within my own family.”

At the time, this woman was wheelchair bound. Since getting better care after these experiences, this has changed. She has chosen to remain anonymous for very clear reasons.


The second story is about Lynda in Parkersburg.

Lynda’s has quite a different side of things. At first, in middle school, Lynda was having a lot of troubles at home and this led to troubles at school. During her 8th grade year, Lynda ran away.

This ended up getting her moved to another relative’s home and also to a new school. The kids at the new school didn’t treat her too well, in fact, they were just mean. She was poked, tripped, had her books knocked out of her hands and threatened about showing up places outside of school. So, she decided to just stay quiet and stay to herself.

In the 9th grade, she moved back in with her grandparents and returned to her old school. However, she had taken on a new attitude. She was loud, mean and a bully now. She wasn’t going to be picked on anymore. She took things to a new level you could say. Name calling and harassing was an everyday part of her demeanor and she’s sure she made the daily lives of some of her classmates a living hell.

“So many things that I look back on in shame,” Lynda says, “I cannot believe the intolerance that I showed back then.”

Now Lynda has her own children and would she never want to see them be bullied”, but she says, “I cannot stomach the thought of one of my kids being the bully.”

Lynda is making this known to help stop bullying.

Many people are stepping forward in efforts to help stop bullying. Below are some excellent links to visit for information on how you can speak with children, friends, coworkers or reach out for help.

Please feel free to comment on your experiences with bullying and how it has affected your life as well. Together, we can help in the effort by sharing information, speaking up, getting help and bringing an end to bullying in our own local communities which will prevent more victims and help save lives from the hurt or worse, from the loss of life. Please pass this along and keep an eye out for part 2 of this series.



AHMIR ANTI-BULLYING VIDEO – “Perfect”
Purchase this song on iTunes and 20% of the proceeds will be donated to the Make Laughter Count foundation (an organization that brings comedians & entertainers together to increase awareness about bullying and raising funds for charities)




SEE PART 2 OF THIS TOPIC



Help stop bullying Pt. 2 – Bullying effects everyone




Please see links below and feel free to share comments below.



StopCyberBullying.org

TakeAStand.StopBullying

ItGetsBetterCampaign

StopBullying.gov

PeaceBuilders.com

TheTrevorProject.org

WelcomingSchools.org

Let’s Move.gov

Teach for America

MakeLaughterCount

Inspired or Angered?

Inspiration:

*In 2007, Gary Oppenheimer ended up with leftovers from his garden that his family could not use. In trying to find a way to put his fresh produce to use, he came upon an idea that has since really caught on and is not only helping him use his excess surplus but is also helping others in need to eat and stay healthy and has given gardeners across the nation a way to get involved and help save lives. His idea grew into AmpleHarvest.org. The free online resource enables food pantries to register and be listed in a central nationwide directory, and makes it possible for American gardeners to easily find the local pantries where they can donate extra produce.

*HelpOthers.org is just an amazing source of ways to reach out to anyone. If you have someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time and aren’t sure how to make that connection again, visit this site. If you want to do something nice for someone and aren’t sure what to do, go by this site. They have a lot of good “random acts of kindness ideas.” They also have something called, “Smile Cards”. They are cards you can either print up yourself or they will mail them to you, FREE!! Yep, totally FREE!! How kind is that?? You can donate if you can or want to but other people donate to keep this service going. The idea is though that you will mail out these cute little smiley cards to cheer up someone’s day. And, let me tell you, cards do cheer up someone’s day. Having a daughter that has spent month after month straight in the hospital, cards are great! But, also think about the fact that now-a-days the only thing most people still get in their mail box is bills or junk mail. When is the last time you sat down and wrote a nice little note to someone and stuck a stamp on it? Yeh, stamps? Texts and emails are nice but a note or letter in the mail? Wow! But, drop by this site, there are a lot of great ideas and even stories on there.

*Out of personal experience and having lived in the “world of cancer” for so long now I can tell you that being around cancer patients and kids fighting cancer, I am surrounded by inspiration. I find it very difficult to complain about a headache or a bad day since I have been introduced to people that daily fight for their lives while being inflicted with so much pain and sickness. Do you know what I noticed right away on the oncology floor that I would have never imagined to have seen? I noticed a lot of smiles, lots of smiles. I am not sure if they were always there, if people were just always smiling and I didn’t notice it or if it was the fact that the people fighting hardest for their lives found more of reason to smile through each day they were living. I think it is the second point. I think they found more of a reason to smile. I will never forget when I noticed those smiles. Ever. They inspired me to notice that each day is different and each day is a gift. They inspired me to realize even more that none of us are promised the next day, the next hour or even our next minute. Life is a gift.

*In a previous article on my blog, “21 Days Makes a Habit”  I spoke about the Pay It Forward Foundation.  . The idea of “Pay it Forward” was brought out very clearly after a movie was released in 2000 based on the novel. In the movie, an 11 year old boy, Trevor is doing a project for his science class. Trevor calls his plan “pay it forward”, which can be described as a charitable pyramid scheme, based on good deeds rather than profit. “Paying it forward” means the recipient of a favor does a favor for a third party rather than paying the favor back. His plan not only caught on but it caught on BIG! This 11 year old inspired a movement and people really felt so eager to do something for others. They not only did something but they did so with a happy heart and in many cases, their heart had been closed or had been just going from day to day not really feeling much of anything.

*Do you think the above people are still doing what they started doing in the links mentioned above? I mean once someone gets inspired to get involved like Gary Oppenheimer with his garden helping others or people that go by helpothers.org once, do you think they will go by a second time. Well, the people that started that site were inspired enough to start it and the people that donate to keep the cards free obviously have been inspired enough to get involved to help with that part of the service as well. I know we have been so inspired by our daughter’s fight for life and others’ fight for life as well as how different organizations such as BeTheMatch.org, Florida Blood Services, and so many others that we wanted to do our part to further help educating others on the need for marrow donors and blood product donation as well as helping families going through transplant so we started our own foundation, the Katia Solomon Foundation back in 2003. Inspiration tends to continue on a daily basis because it not only touches your life, it touches your heart. It has somehow changed your life and maybe given you purpose.

So, what else moves people to get up and do something? There are a lot of times people get angry over something that happens in a community and a community gets together to make a statement. It can be a tragic accident with a drunk driver, a missing person that a community gets together to help find and sometimes the news turns out with a very happy ending or the reverse of that story the person is found murdered after a long search. When communities come together to help each other, it is great and even better when the news covers the story. When a community stands up against a tragedy together, it often brings the community together.

However, so many things have become arguable. Things that most would think are beyond argument. I mean one can always find a path to an argument if you choose to go looking but these days it seems nearly anyone is ready for an argument, ready to take sides on things that there should be at least a clear understanding on certain parts of the story.

I mean has it really come to the point that everything is an argument and that is what motivates people to speak up? Get involved?

Anger:

Here are a few examples.

*Oil in the gulf… is bad. The problem has to get fixed. We need accountable, competent people fixing the problem until there is no more oil coming out of the oil well. A lot of people have lost their jobs and a lot of damage is being done to wildlife and beaches. This damage is going to last for a very long time. Everything needs to be done to assure these issues do not happen again.






*Immigration Reform is something that will always be a work in progress as our country is in a constant change and each year more people will migrate here from different countries all over the world. As our country is constantly changing and more people are coming and going, laws need to be updated and relooked at on a normal basis. Our country’s safety is always a top priority.






*Education is the foundation to a good future. Every child in every town across America deserves a good education. This should be a top priority across our Nation.






*If you think your child is sick, you take them to the doctor. That is what any good parent does, right? Not if you don’t have health insurance. Well, of course you should be able to take you child to the doctor or go to the doctor if you are ill. Of course you should be able to go to the doctor for regular screenings that can catch cancer early, diagnose the beginning of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or many other diseases that when left untreated can end up causing significant health problems and run up enormous health cost or cause death. Health reform was set out to correct this issue.














Personally I don’t see where there is even an issue with any of the above things mentioned. I don’t see how someone can jump on any of those statements and say how there is a disagreement as those stand. I can see how there is something a person can jump on IF they already have a set view and don’t want to look at the plain, easy-to-see picture as it stands. There is always a way someone can drag it from the “left” to the “right” and not see it in the way of humanity and simply as what is just the basic right thing to do. That is very often overlooked until things get just too far out of hand or something so tragic happens that the cloudiness over our eyes that has been put there by our own views and the views of what we watch, read or listen to is finally washed away by tears of tragedy and sadness. It doesn’t need to come to that to see how we can be a part of doing what is right even though we may feel differently about some things. Just because we may see things in a different view doesn’t mean we should overlook basic human rights, common sense and being part of the growth of our nation and not a hindrance on our growth.




My response to the above issue:

*When a company is responsible for the death of any of its employees, damage to natural habitat, loss of jobs and the ways of lives that have gone on for generation after generation, they should claim that responsibility. It should be done in a legal way according to a way that is laid out and agreed upon. Too often these types of incidents become something more like a “witch hunt”. At this point it doesn’t matter what side you’re on or even if you aren’t keeping up with BP and the leaking oil in the gulf, you are on the wrong side. Someone is totally against you and you don’t know what you are talking about. The fact is this was the first time this has happened and yes, it should NEVER have happened. It has taken a long time for someone to even come close to finding an answer and there is still oil leaking in the gulf at this moment…leaking, leaking, leaking. Not like a dripping faucet either. More like barrels just being dumped! But, the point is, nobody has the answers. I think a lot of people want to do a lot of firing and even more people want to find a problem. Even more wish this had never happened. This is the optimal time for political parties and campaigns to point fingers of blame at each other. It will go on for years. But pointing fingers and placing blame on each other doesn’t make it right and it certainly doesn’t reverse time, fix the leak or clean up the gulf now does it?  While I am typing this, there is hope of a new solution fixing the problem…let’s pray this works.






*Immigration Reform is another one of those issues that either people really have an opinion on or some people just don’t touch the topic due to its heated debates. This country was built with immigrants. There is hardly anyone in the United States that didn’t have family who at some point in time migrated from another part of the world. At different times, there were different standards of how immigration was done, how land was claimed, or what rights a person had as an immigrant. If you have read my past articles, “Will History Repeat Itself?”  and “What Divides Our Nation“, you will see how far our country has come and also have to ask yourself what is going on now? For a country that has been built on diversity, freedom and so many have fought for human rights even fighting for the human rights of others in countries around the world, why is it that the immigration issue is now becoming something that would even come close to taking away anyone’s human rights. Not sure what I mean? Read “Arizona is just the beginning… watch out!”  Yes, Immigration Reform is a necessity and it is something that needs to be done now and continuously monitored. It is a federal issue and it is something that both democrat and republicans need to work together on. You see, everyone came to this country seeking freedom and a better life, right? This country. The UNITED States of America.

*Education is something that everyone should see is a top priority. I think that part everyone would say, “Of course, absolutely.” The education system in our country has moved down the list when compared to other countries and there is absolutely no reason for that. When George W. Bush became president, he signed the No Child Left Behind ActIt was signed to increase funding, accountability of schools and teachers and close the gaps between minorities and children in impoverished areas. It measured students annually through standardized tests. The numbers that came back were shared and showing improvements for the first few years. The gaps were closing and the funding appeared to be working for the teachers’ incentives. Schools that were doing a poor job needed to earn a better grade to get more money. There were problems with the NCLB act. The tests were on math and English. So, to score a higher grade, teachers were “teaching to the test”, basically preparing their students for the test and not teaching on other subjects or preparing them for even their next school grade. There is also the idea that ALL students can take the same test and the school can be judged by the outcome or the teacher can be judged by the outcome. Although a teacher does teach in the classroom, more often, that has less to do with what students take away from a class. Although our students go to school each day, they are taking less education away from school and more outside influence. I feel there could be 10 standardized tests on education a year and it really wouldn’t give much information at all about what students are learning in schools. There is certainly not anything standardized about the public school system in America.

I don’t believe in stating a problem without a solution so here is at least the beginning of a solution because to give anymore would be another blog. What is missing from our public schools and even most private schools today is the communication between the student and their parents, the communication between the parents and the teachers and the communication between the parent, teacher and the student together. If a teacher knows that the parent and the student are communicating (and that is saying you do communicate with your child) and then the teacher knows they can communicate with you if there is an issue at school, it opens up a whole new avenue of tools for the teacher to use to help your child with their education. Teachers have less available to them now than ever before when it comes to dealing with their students. They are teaching less due to funding, testing and class size. They are held back and paid very little but are expected to turn out something amazing after approximately 35-45 a day, 5 days a week with your student. How often do we as parents get involved with our students after school, ask what they are doing, read something they have written, talk to them about their friends, their goals, etc. Teachers can’t do all the teaching. Our children are our responsibility. Teachers are there to help us teach our children. We should know what they are doing and communicate with their teachers. A teacher should have a phone number they can feel free to contact you and know you are there to work with and take part in your student’s education ALL the way through their school years.



*To me, the last one is just a simple fact of humanity. If someone is sick, they go to the doctor or the hospital to get better. That shouldn’t have anything to do with whether they are rich or poor, have a certain type of health insurance or another or have no health insurance. It shouldn’t have anything to do whether they have recently lost their job or do not have a job. It is their health. They are not going to the doctor to get a 6 pack of beer, a tattoo or play poker. It is not a day at Disney or a free vacation. It is the doctor’s office and it is either that they are sick or someone they take care of is sick. It’s pretty simple to me. I am not even going to go into the politics of all the things our country’s citizens will pay money on but taking care of people when they are sick is something that I don’t consider should be one of these things that should cause a roaring debate for over a year in this country. When we are each born, we aren’t promised to be born into a family that has it all!! We aren’t promised to be born into a country that has it all!! During our life we aren’t promised there won’t be any obstacles or tragedies to come our way. Anything can happen to any of us at any time. That I can promise you. A family member can come down with a terminal or debilitating illness and either with insurance or without insurance bills add up. A car accident can suddenly put one of your family members into a coma for a long time and they can come out with irreversible brain damage. Again, even though you may have the best of insurance you can lose everything due to medical bills. What if the person that is diagnosed with the medical condition or involved in the accident is the one the medical insurance is under? What if you have insurance and then lose that insurance? You are then with the millions of others without medical insurance. So many people are willing to stand against EVERYONE without insurance saying they don’t want their money going to pay for people without insurance but yet these people fighting against those without medical insurance don’t know the stories of these individuals without insurance. They think they do. They think they are all people that have never worked a day in their lives, don’t plan to and just live off the system, thanks to the tax payers!


Meanwhile, plenty of the people at those rallies didn’t have health insurance. Many people right next to those people at their jobs making plenty of money to be able to buy their own insurance didn’t have health insurance. Why? A lot of people don’t think they need it. While people at low paying jobs who are thought not to have insurance do have insurance because their company offers it and the employees understand the importance. You see, you can’t judge a person unless you not only know the person but you know the circumstances. So it is best just not to judge. My belief is that insurance is a right. Insurance should be available to everyone. Every company should be able to afford to offer health insurance to their employees and the employees should be able to afford to buy it. If health insurance was seen as a human right and a basic necessity, it wouldn’t be something our representatives could argue over for a year holding up a bill getting signed into law. It wouldn’t be something people fought over while people were getting sicker and dying. That tends to get overlooked or it is looked at and not cared about as though, these sick and dying ones are different than the ones that hold their insurance cards in their hands. They have a card that says they can live, for now.




So, you see I get motivated by both inspiration and anger but anger doesn’t make me go and do something that isn’t going to solve anything. Anger doesn’t make me do something that is going to hold back another person from moving forward in their life. Anger isn’t going to get me to do anything that will hold someone back from getting what they need to live a full and happy life. No.

I have been inspired to do everything in my power to see that I leave this world better than I found it.

I have been inspired to help someone who is down.

I have been inspired to think of a solution instead of dwelling on the problem.

I have been inspired to look past the differences and see the likenesses.

I have been inspired to not only dream but to soar with the possibilities.

I have been inspired to not only see what can be done now but to inspire others that will go on long after my time is over.

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose”. Robert Byrne