Good morning Baltimore.

Came across this blog today and have since felt the overwhelming need to share with you all. Please, don’t stand in silence any longer. Talk about the emptiness.

HANNAH BRENCHER

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I take two white pills every night before I crawl into the sheets. They are a reminder to me, more than anything, that November happened.

November happened.

And so did December. January. February. A collection of months I wished, for so long, I could scrape off the calendar. I thought I knew darkness before those months. In a lot of ways, I didn’t know anything until those months came crashing on top of me. Sometimes you think you are fine until everything around you falls apart. And then you see the truth: everything was not fine. You were dying inside. You were clinging to other people to complete you. You were desperately in need of rewiring.

I think thereare times in our lives when we need an upgrade. Or a software update. And then there are times when we need all the little things inside of us to…

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Where in the United States is Bullying Most Evident?

Written by Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

blog 14 pic 1I came across a very interesting statistic while doing some research on bullying recently. The article, originally written in 2011 by author Michael Miller, informs us of the 5 states where bullying occurs the most often in the U.S.

For clarification purposes, we should first give a formal definition of the term “bullying.” Bullying is defined as the “physical, verbal, or psychological attacks or intimidation against a person who cannot properly defend himself or herself. It includes two key components: 1. Repeated harmful acts. 2. Imbalance of power.”

Before reading on and hearing what states the act of bullying occurs most often, I would challenge you to think on your own for a moment and consider your most educated guess. Do you think it is relative to the north or the south? The east or the west? Could it be your very own home state?

One thing that we are all sure of is that bullying occurs in every state in the U.S. With that said, here is the list of 5 most frequent in our country:

  1. California
  2. New York
  3. Illinois
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Washington

It is important to point out that this data is recorded based on percentage of bullying incidents per state in relation to the total population, not necessarily the total number of examples overall (otherwise, states like Texas and Florida would crack the top 5).

You may asking yourself “does data that was collected in 2011 still apply today in 2015?” The image below is a much more up-to-date infographic which depicts, among other things, the worst states to live in for bullying K-12 in the U.S. (you’ll notice a consistent trend – look at the top right).

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Raising awareness, while at the same time publicly expressing displeasure with the way particular state(s) are handling their bullying issues, is a great way to go about change. Nobody wants to say that they live in a state on the list of the top 5 worst of anything, so hopefully we can continue to make strides as a society as we head into the future.

http://www.cohoes.org/DASA/DASA.cfm


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Derek Jeter – The Latest Athlete to Take a Stand Against Bullying

ST LOUIS - OCTOBER 25:  Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reacts while speaking at a press conference announcing him as the recepient of the Hank Aaron Award before the start of Game Four of the 2006 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS – OCTOBER 25: Derek Jeter of the New York Yankees reacts while speaking at a press conference announcing him as the recipient of the Hank Aaron Award before the start of Game Four of the 2006 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 25, 2006 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Whether you are a fan of professional baseball or not, you’ve probably heard the name “Derek Jeter” before. Jeter was the face of Major League Baseball for 20 seasons beginning in 1995 and recently ending in 2014, all with the New York Yankees.

Unlike so many other athletes who have publicly taken a stand against bullying, Jeter never experienced bullying of any sort (direct bullying or cyberbullying) growing up or at any other point in his life. Regardless, his feelings on the issue cannot be taken lightly.

Shortly after becoming a professional ballplayer in 1996, Jeter founded the Turn 2 Foundation, a charitable organization established to promote healthy lifestyles among youth. Helping children overcome drug and alcohol addictions while rewarding academically achieving students are just a few of the contributions that have been made over the last two decades.

Needless to say, the world we live in today in 2015 is a much different place than it was in 1996. The way humans interact with each other, particularly through the use of cell phones and social media, has really changed the way we live our lives.

On Thursday morning (June 18), Jeter announced that he has become an investor in Stop!t, who aims to put an end to any form of bullying or harassment through the use of electronic devices. Their mission statement is as follows:

“STOPit is a simple, fast and powerful solution to report inappropriate behaviors, deter unethical or illegal activity, and mitigate financial and reputation risks to schools and corporations.”

In a statement shortly after the announcement, Jeter said: “The Turn 2 Foundation is dedicated to helping young people reach their full potential, and bullying is an obstacle that stands in the way of that for too many. By working with Stop!t, we hope to empower both bystanders and victims to put an end to bullying. This is a critical step in creating a clear path to academic and personal success for all students, and sends a message that bullying in any form is unacceptable.”

It’s truly refreshing to see some of the most iconic and recognizable names in our society taking a stand and making a difference when it comes to bullying/cyberbullying. The future is looking bright as long as we continue to raise awareness.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Bullying in School: Public Vs. Private

Written by Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

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For years now, we have known about the dangers of bullying for teenagers all around the world. Unfortunately, we have learned that bullying and cyberbullying are a part of the daily life for many students growing up in our school systems.

What we as a society tend to overlook is the bullying in public schools versus the bullying in private schools. For the most part, everything that we hear in the media (television, social media, etc.) is based on public school systems… but what about private schools?

To answer this question, a long five-year (2010-2014) survey was conducted. Roughly 185,000 students from both public and private schools participated in the study to help raise awareness on social trends. Here is what they found:

  • Anti-bullying policy was enforced more at private than public schools.

According to the survey results, bullying was taken a lot more seriously in private schools than public schools, with 45% of public school students reporting anti-bullying policies compared to 59% of private school students reporting the same. The most logical answer for this is typically private schools are smaller with more funding, whereas public schools are larger and have less freedom to implement new policies as they please. 

  • Private school students are more “accepting” of their peers than public school students.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics,  “homosexual and bisexual teens are more likely to report bullying, along with students having disabilities.” 47% of private school and only 36% of public school students who are viewed as “different” report being accepted in their environment. It’s fair to say that demographics plays a role in these trends, as public school students are much more diverse (52% white, 24% Hispanic, 16% black, 8% other) than private school students (72% white, 10% Hispanic, 9% black, 9% other).

  • Peer pressure is the same, no matter where you go to school.

Surprisingly, 50% of students in both public and private schools claimed peer pressure was a problem in their environment. One observation that can be made based on these results is that peer pressure in public schools has more to do with making friends and “fitting in” while peer pressure in private schools has more to do with competitive academics.

  • Social scene trends are more apparent in public schools.

Public schools tend to be more cliquey (52% of students say) than private school students (only 38%).  This may be because private schools generally have smaller class sizes and fewer social groups compared to the larger class sizes and more social circles that fill a public school.

So what does this all mean?

The biggest takeaway you should have after reading this is that bullying is evident in every school, no matter public or private, although there are different factors to consider for each.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange

Understanding the Long-lasting Effects of Bullying

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Over the last 10-15 years, society has started to realize some of the serious consequences that bullying can have on a person’s life. We know that victims face greater challenges than the typical individual in the short-term (for example, graduating high school), but what about the long-term?

About a week ago, Discovery News wrote a piece on a study done by the journal Lancet. They concluded, among other things, that “children who have been bullied are more likely to have mental health struggles later in life than children who are mistreated by adults.”

The study of 5,446 children surprisingly suggested that maltreatment by adults led to no more adverse effects suffered later in life than kids who hadn’t been maltreated. On the other hand, children who were bullied were far more likely to have mental health issues later in life compared to those who had not.

Taking a closer look, the study revealed some surprising information about children who were bullied alone:

“Children who were bullied by peers only were more likely than children who were maltreated only to have mental health problems … with differences in anxiety … depression … and self-harm,” the study said.

One valid argument against such findings is that children spend more time around bullies than they do abusive parents.

The study was wrapped up with this important note:

“Being bullied by peers in childhood had generally worse long-term adverse effects on young adults’ mental health. These effects were not explained by poly-victimization. The findings have important implications for public health planning and service development for dealing with peer bullying.”

Although the truth is disturbing, it’s refreshing to see people take the initiative to educate themselves while raising awareness for others in the process.  With continued studies and research on bullying, we can be confident that the world will be a better place for our youth as we move towards the future.


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag #StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Good Luck Scheron!

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We love seeing different communities support the platform of anti bullying on all levels!

Support Scheron Courson, Mrs.St. Louis Plus America in her journey for the crown who is competing in honor of her daughter!


Dear Potential Supports,
Hi my name is Scheron Courson (Mrs.St. Louis Plus America). I am a working mother of three great children and currently graduating Saturday from Fontbonne University. Outside of school and work I am currently active in my community talking to other parents to help them notice warning signs if there child is being bullied. My daughter was a victim of being bully last year  and also was shot and almost lost her life because of bullying, and I hope if I win the Miss Missouri Plus America Pageant May 30 that will open up a lot of doors for me to advocate to youth and their parents to understand the life you save may very well be your own and don’t just look away reach out and help.
-Scheron
To learn more about Scheron and her journey, visit Miss Missouri Plus Pageant

The Inconvenient Truth About Cyberbullying

 Written By: Ryan Smith, Megan Meier Foundation Intern

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Unfortunately, children going up in today’s society have more to worry about than those of generations past. One of the biggest concerns for our youth is the issue of cyberbullying, and bullying in general.

According to bullyingstatistics.org, nearly 50% of all teens will be victims of cyberbullying at some point in their lives. Of that 50%, only 1 in 10 teens will inform a parent or another responsible adult of what is going on.

Do these numbers come as a shock to the general public? For many yes, however, as we stand here in 2015, we are much more aware of the dangers of bullying/cyberbullying than we were 10+ years ago.

With that said, Tech Times decided to conduct a study to dig a little deeper into the issue of cyberbullying in today’s world from the teens first-hand experience.

The study found that while teenagers are aware of the risks and dangers cyberbullying can bring, they do not feel as though they will be personally be affected. Essentially, they have the “it won’t happen to me” attitude, a way of thinking we are all too familiar with in our youth.

 “Our findings suggest that whilst young people are aware of the potential risks associated with cyberbullying, they believe that they are less likely to experience cyberbullying than their peers,” says study researcher Lucy Betts of Nottingham Trent University. “This unrealistic perception of invulnerability appears to lead many to think it is something that happens to other people.”

The study goes on to say that teenagers felt less threatened than their peers (particularly those in other friend groups), students who were younger than them, and complete strangers when it came to cyberbullying.

Similar studies also concluded that cyberbullying severely affected student academics and that cyberbullying had no correlation to the neighborhood you live in or how wealthy your parents, guardian, or friends are.

The bottom line: cyberbullying can and does happen to anyone, regardless of what their age, gender, race, or socioeconomic status may be.

If you wish to learn more about the cyberbullying study, please check out the July-August issue of the Journal of Criminal Justice.

 


With your help, we can make a difference. Help end the fight against bullying. Join the conversation using the hashtag

#StopBullying and #BeTheChange.

Give STL Day is taking over!

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GIVE STL

Today is the day we’ve been waiting for! As you may have heard by now, the Megan Meier Foundation is taking part in the second annual Give STL Day. The 24-hour online giving event (which began at 12:00 AM this morning) is a whole day dedicated to helping local nonprofits continue to make a difference in the lives of those in their respective communities.

By donating today, you are becoming a vital part of building the Megan Meier Foundation’s Resource Center, where we will be able to continue to serve the growing need in our community and support the youth through times of vulnerability as they deal with the harsh aftermath of bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide.

We want you to know how appreciated we are of each and every donation we will receive today and how much of an impact you are having on the St. Louis community! We only have 24 hours so lets make it count!

For more information on Give STL Day, please visit our website.

Join us for the biggest fundraising event in St. Louis!

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The second annual Give STL Day will take place on Tuesday, May 5. The 24-hour online giving event is a whole day dedicated to helping local nonprofits continue to make a difference in the lives of those in their respective communities.

Last year, more than $1.1 million in 13,000 individual gifts for 528 local organizations was raised, according to the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation (who sponsors the event). This year, roughly 790 local nonprofits have registered to take part in the festivities.

Here at the Megan Meier Foundation, we are thrilled to be part of such an incredible event where we have the opportunity to share our mission to Promote Awareness, Education, and Positive Change in Response to the Issues Surrounding Bullying, Cyberbullying, and Suicide, and impact those in the Greater St. Louis area.

Aside from promoting awareness for the Megan Meier Foundation, we are participating in Give STL Day with the hopes of raising some, if not all, of our fundraising goals for a new Resource Center, which we plan to open to the public by Megan Meier Day on October 17, 2015.

The ‘Megan Meier Foundation’s Resource Center’ has been in the works for the past year or so. We decided that we have enough need and demand that an investment in expanding our office will be beneficial on many levels; primarily to fit the need and growth of the individuals who are coming to the Megan Meier Foundation for resources and direction in times of vulnerability and struggle. The Megan Meier Foundation’s Resource Center will consist of multiple rooms including a small staff office, group activity area that will double as a conference room, therapeutic art room, computer lab, and counselors office; all of which you can find descriptions of on our website.

In the long term, the Resource Center is going to allow us to accommodate our growth as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Right now with our 700 square foot office space, 3 full-time employees, 1 part-time employee, and 4+ interns we carry throughout the year, we not only face issues on space for our staff, but also don’t have the space to bring in our team leaders for workshop education training, expand our focus groups, or hold board meetings. By being able to expand out current office space, we will be able to better manage and expand our programming, which will allow us to open other chapters across the country.

As a team, we have estimated that the expenses to finish the Resource Center will cost roughly $13,000. In addition to office materials needed, we have also included the cost of flooring, ceiling, wall coverings/paint, etc. in our set goal price.

To participate, visit our Give STL Day page on May 5 (starting at 12:00 AM CDT) and select the St. Charles County, where you will see a link to the Megan Meier Foundation’s page.  You may also visit our official website (www.MeganMeierFoundation.org) to learn more about Give STL Day, our team, and our plans for the future.

The Megan Meier Foundation would like to kindly thank you for taking the time to learn more about our big day coming up. We are hoping that our participation in Give STL Day will open the doors to our new Resource Center in October and in turn, reward our great community for their generosity by making a difference each and every day.

Remember to save the date and mark your calendars for this day of giving!

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We want to be clear that every donation makes a difference, no matter how big or small that may be. The Megan Meier Foundation is grateful and genuinely thankful for all of our supporters not only in the Greater St. Louis area, but those affiliated with us around the country as well.

Powerful Suicide Video Goes Viral Through Social Media

What would you do if you were aware of an individual who was contemplating suicide? Would you know what to say? How to react? Would you call the police or a help hotline?

This is a situation that most of us would never even consider as we go about our daily lives. However, things can dramatically change in a matter of seconds, many times randomly by chance.

It’s important to consider such a possibility because you could literally hold someone’s fate in your hands. In the video below, two young men called a cab service and installed a camera in the back window when they entered the vehicle.

During the drive, each man would open up to the driver about how poorly not only their day was going, but their life as a whole. Getting laid off/fired from their job was the focal point of each conversation, with one man then discussing how it has negatively impacted the relationship with his girlfriend and the other with his kids.

Both men ask the driver to pull over at a bridge because they feel as though they have nothing to live for anymore and want to just end it all. The drivers – who are complete strangers – are noticeably sickened by such a possibility and do everything in their power to prevent such a tragedy from happening.

Thankfully, of course, the suicide was never truly going to take place but the feelings and emotion were real. The drivers had no idea that this was just an experiment and one of the men refused to even tell him because he was so visibly shaken in the moment.

What a video like this does is shows us how caring and compassionate most of the people (even strangers) in the world truly are.  If someone you’ve only known for a few minutes would care so much about your well-being, imagine how your friends, family and other loved ones would react if they knew.

It’s unfortunate that the majority of news we are exposed to in today’s society is negative but more exposure to uplifting examples such as this can help us think differently about the world we live in.

There is one death by suicide in the world every forty seconds. By simply educating ourselves and raising awareness for others, we can make a difference.

WE BELIEVE THAT THROUGH EMPOWERING OUR SOCIETY WE CAN WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE AND CREATE A SAFER AND KINDER WORLD

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