While I was writing my memoir, a fellow writer told me that I was going to become an advocate. She was right. Since my book came out, I have become very passionate about speaking out against bullying and sharing my experience with the world. My book is a testimony of the bad effects bullying has on a child, and the effects are the same for an adult. I am proof a person can rise from that bullying to help others. I believe God helped me write my book so I can help others.
Saturday, I gave a talk at McCord Memorial Library in North East, PA. Twenty-four people attended. So far that is the biggest audience I have had for my talks. Most of those who came were older people. One lady whom I had met through Facebook brought her teenage son who was facing bullying. I spoke from the heart and received a big applause at the end. Many told me how inspirational my talk was, some shared experiences with bullying, and many told me I am an excellent advocate for those who have been bullied. It was great, but I realized something. I need to find a way to speak to younger adults and children of all ages.
I’m working with a lady from my church speak to the youth group. I need to also find ways to speak at schools. I have a customer who works at a local school who hopes to have me speak there, but I haven’t heard anything from her yet. If you have suggestions on how I can bring my messages to schools and parents of children, please leave a comment.
A common question I have been getting from my readers is “How do you become an advocate?”
There are different kinds of advocates. My friend Alexander Kovarovic gave me some advice on this topic. This is what he told me: Advocates are people who want to step up to make the world a better place for a certain reason like suicide prevention, bullying, domestic violence and more. This can be as simple as people sharing things on social media, going to events etc. Advocates are also people work on creating laws, people who run nonprofits and people who run charity events. To become an advocate, it’s good to start by volunteering for a nonprofit.
For me I became part of a nonprofit organization called National Internet Safety and Cyberbullying Taskforce (which is now called The One Life Project). First, I wrote blog posts for them and then I helped them set up events and interview volunteers. Then my book came out and I began to set up speaking and book signing events. Then being an advocate fell into place. I found myself able to stand up in front of people and speak from the heart without even planning my speech.
I think the biggest part of becoming an advocate is to find a topic you may have lived through and rise above or something you passionately want to change and speak out about it. Find a nonprofit that deals with your topic and volunteer. Learn as much as you can about your cause and how you can help others. Be willing to speak at events in front of crowds of people. If you have experience with your topic then share your story. Your story can help many.
I believe my talks and my book is helping many. I received a email from a reader who said by reading my book she learned more about bullying and the affects it has on people. I hope that many more are learning from my book too.
By speaking out against bullying I am growing stronger each day and I stand proudly in the light of recovery.