By Razia Sultana
In early 2013, award-winning Canadian poet, Shane Koyczan, released an animated video that became an inspiration for people worldwide. The video, entitled “To This Day,” received over ten million views and became a symbol of hope for both the “bullied and the beautiful.”
“To This Day” is a poem that relates Koyczan’s own experiences with bullying during his youth to those struggling against similar obstacles today. It aims to demonstrate that words can hurt more than sticks and stones. This video also promotes the idea of forgiveness and encourages perseverance.
In response to the video’s unique message, sophomores Eileen Cruz, Faraha Mamun, and Jennifer Nwenyi created an anti-bullying campaign called The LIFE project – Love Intensity Friendship Everyday. Through their campaign, these students hope to educate the student body on the realities of bullying and how it can negatively affect a person’s self-confidence.
“We hope this video will open their eyes. We want to have people speak about their experiences in a way that resonates with those willing to hear them,” said Nwenyi ’16.
A second aim of this campaign is unite the Tech community.
Mamun ’16 said, “This project, for me, means I’ll get to help the school. To me, it’s a chance to show people a little bit about myself – how I would help others and how I have helped myself.”
In addition to being an anti-bullying campaign, this project will be a movement celebrating life.
“The LIFE Project was an idea born from the need for change in the world; it isn’t just anti-bullying. It’s the idea of developing a support system in schools and allowing kids to understand that they aren’t alone,” stated Cruz.
As a mentor and friend of these students, Senior Class President Chantay Young ’14 shares that the LIFE project has become a year-long Student Government event and will be executed by the Council for Student Activities (CSA).
“We plan to host a series of workshops and talk sessions in conjunction with guidance counselors and possibly the school psychologist,” said Young ’14. “We will also show movies to help students understand the repercussions and resolutions that can come from bullying and dealing with life’s problems, in general.”
Cruz ’16 and Nwenyi ’16 shared that the LIFE project will hold a Spoken Word poetry event —“LIFE” Edition. This event aims to bring students closer to form a circle of trust and friendship.
Young ’14 also shared a lesson she has learned from her own bullying experience.
“[When it comes to bullying] I’ve learned that both parties need a reevaluation of attitudes in terms of understanding the situation of the other. Both parties will gain more insight in becoming more empathetic and more self-confident,” said Young ’14.