DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - Elena Brown was always aware that some of her friends and schoolmates were victims of bullying, so instead of standing by and avoiding confrontation, the Dobbs Ferry High School sophomore said she has made anti-bullying a personal crusade.
"I originally got involved because of my mom, who is an advocate for Stomp Out Bullying," Brown said. "She would share stories of kids who were severely bullied and I realized something had to be done. At the same time, I learned that bullying takes many forms, such as physical, emotional, cyber, or even isolation. When I saw kids at my school being bullied, I felt compelled to take action."
Determined to make things better for her at-risk peers, Brown has served as a Teen Ambassador for the national STOMP Out Bullying organization for the past two years and has been instrumental in bringing Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention to Dobbs Ferry High School.
In recognition of Brown's commitment and activism on this national issue, she has been invited to participate in a panel discussion on bullying at the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. Thursday.
"The more people involved, the more awareness is created and that helps change how bullying is perceived," Brown said of her coming trip..
The conference is a preamble to National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month in October. Brown will represent the STOMP Out Bullying organization joining Washington D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
In addition to spearheading Blue Shirt Day World Day of Bullying Prevention activities at school, Brown recently appeared in Public Service Announcements to combat bulling for FOX Sports Supports, which also features various sports celebrities. The PSAs are airing nationally on the network, as well as the STOMP Out Bullying website.
"I want to help others understand that bullying comes in all forms, but always at a high price.” In 2012, Brown was honored with a Community Service Award from the Dobbs Ferry PTSA for her anti-bullying work.
Bullying was the main topic of the District’s annual Superintendent’s Conference Day, held right before the opening of school. All Dobbs Ferry faculty and staff viewed the 2011 film “BULLY.”
"The most important thing is to stand up against bullying and get involved to help others," Brown said. "Most kids are not bullies, but are bystanders and fearful to stand up to a bully. But the more kids who stand up, the less it occurs. Sticking up for a friend and informing an adult of the problem can be helpful. Also, you can befriend people who are being bullied so they don't feel isolated."
And Brown will continue to help educate her self and others in the nation's capitol where other leaders go to make a difference.
To learn more about helping your child or teen handle bullying or if your child is a bully, log on at the Stomp Out Bullying website.