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August 2011 Archives
August 29th, 2011 - John
Post Date:August 29, 2011 | PermaLink
In every functional work place, everyone has his or her role. Within the Megan Meier Foundation, Tina is our spokeswoman. Her ability to tell HER story with the composure and elegance that she does is beyond any words I could tie together. My role is very behind the scenes and I love it. I often tell Tina, "My job is to make it so that you can go help people and not have to worry about all the other stuff". But for this one day, I will come out from the comfort of the shadows and share a little bit about my view on life.
When I sit at my desk, all I have to do is look to my right to see a collage of Megan. This young girl was simply beautiful in every way possible, what a life she could have lived! I see her sister Allison in those same pictures. Allison and Tina have become my family, I cherish them more than I could express. Yet behind their beautiful smiles I know they still miss their sister/daughter so much, a pain I can't relieve. A loss so unnecessary, a gap so large.
I am so very proud of everything this foundation has accomplished. While I admit to enjoying the comforts of my office, when I do join Tina in the field, it warms my heart to see those young men and women who have suffered the hardships associated with bullying come forward with a new outlook on life, a new hope. I wonder how many of them suffered like Megan, I wonder how many lives are saved by hearing this story, and seeing the pain suicide causes. We have done so much, reached so many, but the reality is the need for awareness and education regarding the impact of bullying and cyberbullying is still so massive.
This foundation began as one familyís response to a heart breaking tragedy. Since it's inception in 2007, so many amazing people have joined us in this battle against bullying and cyberbullying. Yet I know, speaking for myself, my interest was largely motivated as a result of Megan's death. I felt so moved to join a cause in response to a life taken so very unjustly.
My challenge to each of you is this, don't wait for another beautiful life to be lost before you step up and make a difference. Yes, so many causes are out there that make a valid claim to our time, talent and treasure, but this is SO simple. It's that good old golden rule being put into practice, thatís it. While it may be simple, lives are very much at stake. All I have to do is look to my right to gain a reminder of that fact. Don't make another tragedy your motivation to stop bullying around you. Talk to your children, TODAY. Talk to your friends, TODAY. Make a difference, TODAY.
August, 22nd, 2011 - Nikki
Post Date:August 22, 2011 | PermaLink
When Tina asked me to join the blog team for the Megan Meier Foundation, I jumped at the opportunity. Bullying has always been a sore subject for me, and I was thrilled to finally help such a fantastic cause. As a mother to 3 girls, Iíve had a constant worry as to what I would do if they are bullied and this was my opportunity to start molding their lives as loving and compassionate human beings by public example. I think I was on cloud nine for the first few weeks, looking forward to sharing my experiences, ideas and opinions through this blog to not only inspire those experiencing the bullying first hand, but to families and friends who can offer support to those struggling in school and life. I started to think of all the inspiring things I could write in my first blog post. As the date approached for my first entry, all of a sudden I found myself anxious about sharing the experiences that I had pushed to the back of my memories. It was at that moment I realized I had only shared a few stories with my mom, but had never said anything about what I went through to my family and most importantly, my husband. I knew I couldnít move forward and be an inspiration without addressing my own hindrances first. I know the issues I had over the years werenít as bad as some, but they truly shaped me as a woman, mother and Christian. So much so, that I sat in fear in front of my computer, knowing that I would finally delve into feelings I couldnít share with my best friend and partner. I was filled with an unbelievable sense of anxiety that people who used to make fun of me would read this blog and pass even more judgment against me. It is as if the bullying still had control over my thoughts and perceptions of what people would think. I donít think the people that play the role as bullies truly understand the permanent impact they have on someoneís life. Quite frankly, Iím not even sure they would remember saying half the things they said to me. However, their impact was huge. For years I would wish that I had changed into such a beautiful person, that people from my old parish wouldnít even recognize me. I finally accepted that I had become pretty, not in a complete metamorphosis, but with years of growing into my own body and self. Their actions would cause me to spend years trying to hide my inability not to smile and laugh and almost anything because people thought I was too goofy. More importantly, that my self-esteem has been an ongoing issue and Iíve always struggled to truly accept myself as beautiful because I was called ugly and retarded on more than one occasion. Had the bullying ultimately damaged my self- image so much so, that I made poor decisions as a teenager in order to be liked? I still, at almost 29, wonder why people acted like they hated me so much when I did nothing to cause someone not to like me. Sure, I was tall, had big glasses, freckles and curly hair, but what I canít figure out is, what makes that person an unimportant individual, unworthy of friends? As many as 20 years after the fact, I still have so many questions unanswered, all because a few people decided to make me feel worthless. Do they still think about me? I doubt it. They probably donít even have the answer to why I, the nerd, was asked out in front of the entire 5th grade class as a joke and laughed at for days afterward. Donít get me wrong, Iím not bitter anymore, but it is just proof that the bullying stays with you forever, even if just by curiosity as to why it happened. Without the internet, cell phones and texting, the bullying I experienced ended with the close of my education, but has stayed with me all my life. Now our world is even more harsh, judgmental and unforgiving. We need to stand up to bullying and cyber bullying in order to give our youth the opportunity to become the beautiful people they are without the added distress of unwarranted hatred.
August 15th, 2011-Chiara
Post Date:August 15, 2011 | PermaLink
I am 13 year-old Chiara Jewel Ogle, as the 2011 World's Miss Junior Teen Missouri! I have decided to dedicate my reign to Megan Meier because I feel bullying needs to stop amongst us all. I know how horrible it has become because I too have been bullied from my weight, to my eye glasses, and also have been told I am ugly so how can I win a pageant. I will tell you that the saying "sticks and stones may break our bones but words can never hurt me" is far from the truth. I feel broken bones can be healed but words don't heal because those words stick with you causing more pain than ever and even a sorry sometimes can't fix the pain you caused. Fact is, if you are jealous, mad, or just thinking you are being funny, it does not give you the right to say something hurtful to someone. In the movie Bambi, Thumper says, "If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say it at all." This is something we should all remember. I will tell you one reason why I feel I won a pageant and that is because I am beautiful inside and I would never hurt someone to feel important. I feel we all shine in our own way and I try hard to make my crown sparkle by encouraging others to feel the same. Instead of picking someone apart take time to see what shines in each and every person. Take the energy you are wasting on bullying someone and apply it to helping make a difference and being a difference. No one deserves to bully anyone and I have even experienced it by a teacher who would say things in class to me to make others laugh or do things to pick on me. It got so bad I didn't even want to go to school and my mom went to the Principal who didn't offer much help but she didn't stop there. She went on to whoever would listen to the situation until she could have the problem addressed. I myself was devastated that our teachers are who we look up to and this teacher was someone I looked down on because she was teaching others it was ok to make fun of someone when I knew it wasn't. I didn't want to disrespect my teacher so I didn't say anything, in other words, I didn't "Stand Up to Bullying." When it was coming from my teacher how do I "Stand Up" without getting in trouble? I turned to my mom who tried to help me but even when you try to get help others turn their heads or roll it off their shoulders not wanting to realize there is an issue. So that is why I want to dedicate my reign to this because I want everyone to know Megan's story and that words do hurt and can lead to someone just like you to becoming an Angel of God all because of the ridicule of someone else. Do you want to be responsible for hurting someone? Or do you want to join me in MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR MEGAN & THE OTHERS KILLED BY BULLYING?
If you want to help make a difference and be the difference then we must work together to help everyone, not look down on anyone, not make fun of someone because they are different than you, and be willing to stop our friends, family, or strangers from taking part in hurting someone with words. This includes texting, speaking, and social networks. With school beginning to start in session again, I would like for each of you to try your best to get your friends on board with you. Try to get to know someone who may seem different from you or who you wouldn't normally talk to. I think you will find that some people you don't think you like will be someone you end up liking a lot. God created us all equal but each of us different and gave us hearts to love with. Love is one of the greatest things we were given and if we all love then we will have a better place to live and our world will find peace and happiness it deserves. Please try hard this year in school to make a difference in the lives of others, be a leader not a follower, and stand up for the good of others, never be scared to tell someone when there is a problem you can't handle, and most importantly, never be afraid to become a friend to someone who you haven't given time to before. Everyone's lives are different and if we take the time to offer our love we may just be the saving grace in the life of someone else.
Please join me along with others in this fight against bullying in all forms and join me in opening up discussion of what we go through on a day to day basis at school. So together we can find ways to join and unite as one by coming up with methods to help fight this in our schools, becoming friends that are there for those of us who experience bullying and may feel like we have nowhere to turn, and most importantly by encouraging others to make a difference for Megan.
In closing, I would like to say that I am not the 2011 World's Miss Jr. Teen Missouri because I want to feel like I am more important or better than anyone. I am the 2011 World's Miss Jr. Teen Missouri because I want to make a difference and be a role model to encourage others to be the difference and take the time to love one another instead of hurt one another! I want to spread a message for Megan and be her voice, I want Megan to live on in each and every one of us through the difference we make.
Making a difference for Megan,
Chiara (CJ) Ogle
August 8, 2011 - Leora
Post Date:August 08, 2011 | PermaLink
Teaching Humanity to Prevent Bullying Before it Begins
By: Leora Friedman
I am 18 years old, a sophomore at Princeton University, and the co-founder of Music is Medicine (www.musicismed.org), a nonprofit organization that uses music to uplift and fundraise for pediatric patients. I work with children facing serious diseases. But diseases arenít the only dangers that can harm our children. Diseases plague them physically, while bullying plagues them emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically, as well. Iíve been passionate about anti-bullying for years. But now, Iím finally ready to do something about it.
Kindness. Compassion. Empathy. These are all values embedded in us by our society yet so often abused and forgotten. How can we ever hope for world peace if our children brutally bruise one another, creating emotional scars to last a lifetime and massacring individuality? Children and teenagers are belittled by their peers and are told that who they are isnít good enough. Are these the values we want to promote? Is this the society we want to create?
When I imagine the perfect world, I think of things like acceptance and understanding. What better place to start that in our schools? More than anything, I want a world where our children can be free to be themselves and to break out of their shells and be loved and accepted for who they are. Rather than being ridiculed, they should be embraced for the beautiful differences that make them unique.
Iím currently assembling an international team of young change-makers, mostly teenagers and college students, passionate about fighting bullying and ready to take action. Rather than intervening in bullying when it occurs, we have a greater goal Ė we want to stop bullying before it even begins. Our goal is to create a culture in which students donít mock differences but appreciate them. Where individuality is embraced, and peer pressure isnít a dominating force, where children understand diversity and aim to be tolerant, and where they perceive the pain their words and actions can inflict onto others and stop themselves because they care. Thatís our vision. We plan to create a preventative program for elementary-school students to instill positive values and cultivate them into caring, empathetic adults. As one of our team members, Allison Wu, explained, bullying is also the root of problems like domestic abuse, violence, crime, discrimination, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and depression, among other things. By combating bullying in schools, weíll indirectly combat an array of other problems.
In our schools, we teach math, science, English, and geography. We teach everything but the most important lesson Ė how to respect and appreciate one another. Through our program, we hope to ignite a revolution in the field of education. Through a curriculum for elementary school students, the program will present multiple stages with interactive, group activities that build off of one another, such as diversity, tolerance, empathy, appreciation of differences, anti-peer pressure, and self-confidence.
Maybe world peace is a lofty goal. But what about school peace? Or at least an improvement or attempt on the part of adults to stop bullying before it begins and before it tears apart a young girlís pride or a young boyís confidence. When I close my eyes, I see a world where every child is celebrated because he or she is different and unique. And through in-school programming, we can approach that reality sooner than we think.
August 1, 2011 - Tina Meier
Post Date:August 01, 2011 | PermaLink
I want to welcome each of you to the first week of our new blog! I hope that you will visit every week. We have such a strong community of supporters who will be contributing to the blog, such as parents, teens, educators, counselors and social workers, all with one goal, bring bullying and cyberbullying to a stop.
As my team and I continue to work diligently to promote our mission statement in communities across the country, I am reminded as I look at the calendar each day that it will be soon close to five years since we lost Megan. In some ways, it seems like yesterday, in others, it seems like I have lived two lifetimes since that day.
As I reflect on these five years, I am so proud of what this foundation, named in honor of Megan has accomplished. I am so thankful for the communities that have hosted me in the name of change, in the name of putting bullying and cyberbullying to rest. I am beyond grateful for the incredible men and women who have donated time, talent and treasure to make this mission possible. As proud and thankful as I am, much work is still ahead.
Daily, our foundation hears from young people who are tormented by peers. We hear so much hostility, such a sense of competition being displayed at such a young age. As a result, even in middle schools, we find ourselves doing damage control within the lives and psyches of these children. Bottom line is the age where bullying and cyberbullying is making an impact is getting younger and younger.
In response to this change in our culture, we have to make serious change in the way and time we begin to address bullying and cyberbullying with our children. Both programs, such as those offered by the Megan Meier Foundation, as well as the education that takes place within the home must begin catering to elementary ages. We must change our mindset to one of prevention as opposed to one of intervention. Currently, in so many cases, we find ourselves intervening after lives have already suffered at the hands of unkind and unjust words and actions. My challenge to each of you, as well as myself, is to make a commitment to our children sooner, rather than later in regards to the impact of their words and actions. Each child is different, the age that they will be able to comprehend a message such as this will vary. The fact remains that each of us holds an obligation as an educator. All be it, most of us won't stand in front of a classroom, but within our own homes, we must stand ready to educate. The message can be simple, words and actions can and will hurt and the results can be devastating.
I, myself, am so excited to hear from our bloggers in the weeks to come! Each of these men and women are different ages, from different walks of life and has a different perspective on this global problem. As always, I wish to thank you for your ongoing support of the Megan Meier Foundation. If we can ever be of service to you or your community, please contact our office at 636-777-7823 or email@example.com.