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KIMT NEWS 3 – As a new school year gets underway parents teachers and students are reminded of the importance of recognizing and preventing bullying.
The word “bullying” is one we are hearing a lot about these days, it’s something you’ll more than likely find in one form or another in pretty much any school you set foot in, but there are ways everyone can help fight the issue.
23-year-old Zach Lewison is on a mission to change the way we think about bullying.
“Whether you’re someone who gets bullied or you are the bully or someone who sees it happen at the end of the day, middle school and high school is a time of really trying to find out who you are.”
And his personal story will tell you why.
Lewison said, “Growing up a little red-head kid and being legally blind and about 4 feet tall at the time just didn’t really set me up for success and stuff in middle school and high school years and I got picked on a lot. As and a kid who didn’t know who I was, I kinda egged it on and brought a lot of it on myself.”
Fast forward a few years and now he’s the CEO of a new non-profit organization called “Voices United Against Bullying.”
Instead of simply telling young people bullying is bad, they want to switch the focus.
Lewison said, “It’s going to be the students who make the change. Policing it can only keep it from happening in front of them and so they have to be the change and our goal is to create that paradigm shift and to get one or two people in that school to go in there and say, ‘You know what? I’m for this.’ And let them start that attitude change and let that be contagious and spread throughout the whole school.”
It’s a different spin on some other already effective national anti-bullying campaigns like Rock in Prevention, Project Footsteps, and countless speakers who tour the country spreading the message.
“Our goal is to let people now that they have value and they have worth, there’s a reason for them being around.”
Those larger-scale efforts are something Zach would like to see continue. For now, he’s trying to get this program off the ground to help make even the smallest difference.
He said, “Voices United is not going to be the fix all solution. We just want to do our part.”