Last year, as many as you know, I decided to share my story. I never expected the impact that one post would have on my life, the impact on others as well. Instantly I received hundreds of emails stating how the people writing them had speech impediments or struggles and they felt hopeless until they saw a girl who had hidden her differences from the world could come out and reassure them they were not alone. I read EACH and EVERY email, sometimes they brought me to tears. A U.K. based International Pageantry magazine published my story and several more pageant queens saw and emailed me.
One of these emails sent me a link to a book that Kelly Lovell was creating “The Power of YOUth” she was looking for inspirational stories about youth for her book. So I thought why not and submitted my story, never thinking what that one mouse click could do. A few months later I was notified I was selected to be one of the 200 Inspirational stories in the book, I was ecstatic!! Kelly Lovell, a Queen’s Young Leader award winner, then offered me a chance to do a podcast which I did!
Now a year or so after I first shared my story I can not believe where it has gotten me. I have spoken at so many events and shared my story with thousands of people. I am now seeing a difference being made. This week (August 14-28th) I am honed to be the first Change Leader of the week, more people are seeing my story because I shared it. I have spoken to parents who are facing depression and/or fear because their daughter or son has been diagnosed with speech impediments. I tell kids my story and they realize they have bullied and come up and tell me that they will stop bullying or be a
bystander. I have heard from schools I have presented at that there has been less bullying in the halls. “Be Someone’s Hero; Not a Bystander started when I won my first title, and now has gone international, something I never thought was possible by little me who didn’t even sound normal.
I may have gone through hell and back but I came out a better person and I have found my purpose!
Over the past few months I have been making an Inspirational Queens Video, featuring 12 inspirational Pageant Queens and Ambassadors from around the globe. Along with the Video (which is featured below) I have created a Inspirational Queens Calendar, where each queen is featured for a month along side an inspirational quote. I am selling these calendars for $15.99+shipping, if you would like to order one please leave your email in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org, to place your order. All funds made will go to Live Out Loud Charity.
I had been given an amazing opportunity. As all of my followers know I have suffered from speech impediments and intense bullying in my lifetime. And this is why I compete in pageantry, to create awareness for such issues. So I had an amazing opportunity presented to me in September, to be a worldwide title holder with Live Out Loud Charity (LOLC), or at least to apply to be one. So I did, I wrote an essay about my struggles and my dream of living in a world where no matter what struggles you may face, everyone is an equal. And soon after my phone interview with LOLC founder Sherrie, I received a congratulatory email stating that I have been awarded the national title of Miss Worldwide Teen Canada. One of the reasons I was interested in going to LOLC was because they focus on spreading awareness to Anti-bullying though community participation and fashion. Holding this title gives me the opportunity to continue spreading awareness and hope to all those, who like me, have been told they can’t do something. With LOLC I can share my story with an international crowd. And that international crowd is already making itself known, I will be (on November 18th) be appearing on International Talk radio with YouEffect talking about my story, I will also be in the upcoming YouEffect publication with other “inspirational” youth’s stories. If you follow me on Facebook, and I encourage you too, you will know that I am already working on my first LOLC awareness event/fundraiser. I have made a video (that will be released on November 13th), this video shows 12 girls and ladies, including myself, sharing their story’s with bullying, I am very excited for you ALL to see it.
Though I have only been with LOLC for little over a month, I always feel welcomed and at home. The other LOLC title holders welcomed me with open arms and took the time (on Snapchat and Facebook chat) to understand my speech, which I continue to struggle with. One Worldwide titleholder made my day by saying “you have a speech impediment,
I never would have guessed”. For one of the first times in my life during an interview the director, Sherrie, said nothing about my speech (which means more than you may think). I did not have to explain that I did not have an accent, it’s a speech impediment, nor did I have to argue that I WAS born in Canada, and I do not have a foreign accent. My new LOLC family has already changed my life. For me taking the time to understand me means the world, I only shared my story publicly a year ago, and now so much is happening because of it. Thank you to everyone, to my new LOLC family, to my community, and to my actual family, I look forward to this years as Miss Worldwide Teen Canada!
After being bullied for most of my life I decided to take a stand against it. I had begun to volunteer in the VSS Resource room and quickly realized that they were constantly being bullied. I began to stand up for the students in that class and while doing so I felt more inclined to stand up for myself as well. In my grade 11 year it was suggested to me that I would make a good candidate for pageantry. While looking into the requirements I was struck by the term “Platform” and what this meant. To me it has meant the ability to have an audience and therefore the potential to change lives. Immediately I knew that my platform would be anti bullying and inclusion for all, and so my pageant journey began. Fortunately I have had a wonderful opportunity for the past two years and have been able to share my story with thousands of people around the world via the internet and also through speaking engagements. It has been an incredible experience to be telling my story and become emotional while speaking and to look up and see that people in the audience have been so moved they are also in tears. I was not prepared for the overwhelming positive response I have gotten from sharing my story. I have had people write to me saying that my struggles have inspired them to go on, and that they now can see an end to their own pain. This in return gives me the desire to continue spreading the message that everyone needs to be someone’s hero and not a bystander. If you see someone being bullied and are afraid to do something then get someone who will. If you see someone that’s different then you say hello. Everyone needs the same thing and that’s to be included and to have a friend. Don’t be nasty to people that may be weaker just because you can, what that says about you is way worse then what you may think it says about the weaker person. It takes way more courage and strength to lift someone up then it does to push someone down.
I will always continue to tell my story in the hope of helping anyone who is being bullied and excluded, and I am so grateful for the opportunities that pageantry has given me to do this. I have become more confident in myself and no longer let others define who I am. I have met other like minded people that have causes and platforms that they work at by telling their stories and trying to make changes in their communities and in the world. These are the people I choose to have in my life, not bullies.
Last year at Ronald McDonald House BC I met a wonderful little girl who is so inspirational. Her name? Samantha, my name twin. Samantha was at that time and is still presently fighting cancer. In March Sam was admitted to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice House. On March 13 a a fundraiser dinner was held to raise money for Sam and her family, so of course I attended. The theme was Sam’s favorite theme “SUPERHEROS”. It was great to see the community come out to help out a local family. We originally raised $7,615 but a local couple brought over a cheque for $385 to make it an even $8,000 for the family, which is just so amazing.
Before this event my family and I organized the Canadian Pacific Railway (where my Dad works)
staff to help out so I am happy to say CPR staff raised $2,500. When we asked CPR if they could donate to the family they weren’t able to, but they sent off $1,000 to Ronald McDonald House and $1,500 to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice in Sammy’s name, which is great!! Then we also had a couple of CPR employees auction off items, which raised another $400, then we also received another 225$ so all together CPR raised 5625$ which is truly amazing.
If you would like to help out this family you can donate, and read there full story HERE.
I was born with a severe speech impediment; no one could understand what I was saying. My parents were told that I may never speak like everyone else, and may never be understood by most people. On my first day of school I was looked at oddly when I struggled to speak and be understood. I had to learn some Sign Language and carry a large picture book around with me so when someone spoke to me I could open my book and point at the picture that was the answer to a question. For those answers I couldn’t just point at the picture for, I would say the answer while signing and hope that somehow they would understand me. I’m sure you can imagine I was teased and called names because of this. People thought that just because I could not talk normally that I could not HEAR or UNDERSTAND them, but they were wrong and still to this day the words they would call me haunt me. Because of my speech I had to learn the alphabet by sight not sound I had to learn how words were spelled because I could not sound them out. I had to work twice as hard in school, so therefore I was always behind. As my speech improved I thought the bullying would stop but was I ever wrong I would go to school and there would be notes written on the bathroom stall about me. There would be whole games about not playing with me. I spent almost every recess and lunch sitting alone praying for the bell to ring. Then in high school it got even worse. I would go to school and someone would have broken my lock on my locker, and there would be obscene words written on my locker. I would walk down the halls and hear whispers say “that’s that retarded girl who can’t talk”. This is part of the reason I am so involved it the “spread the Word to end the word” campaign, because I know what it feel like to have the “R” word used to describe you. The sad thing is that eventually I started to believe them and think I was a worthless loser who would never do anything with my life. In grade 9 it reached the worst level of bullying and I would phone home begging to go home and beg my mom to let me skip school. Fortunately thanks to one French Teacher and a group of grade 11 girls I was able to move my locker so I was right beside the older girls who befriended me and between my mom talking to the principle and the French teacher the bullying eased off . This teacher is one of the only reasons I stayed in school. Now I still to this day have a speech impediment and I always will, but I now accept it as a part of me. It has gotten much, much better and people often think I sound like I am from New York. Due to all of the bullying I endured and because I’ve had to fight all my life I started working with my platform of Anti-Bullying and Inclusion for all.
The inclusion portion of my platform started to form at the start of grade 10. I was in a class with my school’s Resource Room (class for Students with various special needs) I witnessed one girl being bullied and I knew I had to do something, because I knew how awful it was to be bullied for being different. So I went up and started walking with the girl who was being bullied. Soon after that she invited me to come eat in the Resource room. I have to admit my first reaction was stereotypical and I was scared and was going to say no, but I knew what it was like to have no one to eat with you so I went. That day changed my life. I walked into the Resource Room and all the kids looked at me and they looked scared. They didn’t know what I was going to do or say, and they were afraid of me. The moment I sat down the talking started and I noticed they were no different then everyone else. I began going into the resource room almost daily and I still do, now I am even starting my education to work with different people with special needs. I know all to well the frustration and the anger they and everyone who has ever been bullied faces. To this day I continue to be bullied and insulted but I now tell myself that it is not me who has the issue, its the bully. I want to put the end on this note, one out of three children will be bullied. For every person who reads this who either has or plans on having three children one of them will/are getting bullied, if you have two children chances are one of them is getting bullied. But the good news is WE can change it, you may not be able to change the Bully, there will always be bullies but we have the power to stand up for those who are being bullied, “Be Someone’s Hero Not A Bystander”. I also want to help educate people to use “person first” Language, which is saying the person before the special needs for example “a Person with Special needs” not “A Special needs person”. We shouldn’t be defined by our faults but rather by our attempts to reach our full potential!
TeenFest Canada is a one day exhibit festival that gives tweens and teens across Canada the opportunity to connect with other youth, their community and community leaders. My day started with welcoming the teens and the youth into the festival. I even got asked a few times to sign autographs which was really cool. At TeenFest they had filled the Tournament Capital Center’s race track with several vendor booths, games and performers. Teens were able to get hair and makeup done and they could also have a gem glued to their tooth. We watched some great performances from Telus and a karate school, and then I spoke about my story, and how I have been bullied and about my platform (anti-bullying and inclusion for all) I will post my FULL story tomorrow so you can all read it then. After my speech I was overwhelmed with a really positive response including people crying. Knowing that people were so supportive as well as inspired by something that I have lived with my whole life was so humbling.
Afterwards I went out and got my hair, nails and makeup
done by one of the venders, and they did an amazing job. I also was able to try out “drunk goggles” which simulate if you have been drinking. Then I had to walk an obstacle course. I knocked over almost every cone and all other obstacles. (Please don’t EVER drink and drive) I walked around and tried every game that was there, and I some how managed to break the rope pulling record.
It was an amazing day and I want to thank the people from Teen Fest Canada for letting me come out and share my story with everyone.
People should not judge other people minimally before they get to know them. How dare someone call another person a name before they know anything about him or her? Maybe that person didn’t acknowledge you because they can’t speak English, or maybe they can’t speak at all, maybe they can’t hear either. I hate it when someone calls a person with special needs a name or makes fun of them right in front of them, seriously do they think they can’t understand, that they can’t hear? My god who is the person that doesn’t understand? What are you so afraid of that you have to resort to name calling.
Kids are dying because they get bullied, which includes being ignored being teased being called names and being laughed at. I detest it one person is the loud mouth within a group of his or her friends and all the friends think that they aren’t doing anything wrong, because they aren’t doing anything, they don’t say anything themselves, some may laugh, but they think this is OKAY. Wake up! Your acceptance of this behaviour has made you an enabler of a bully. Say something to you blow hard friend, tell him to stop, be a hero, at least walk away and get someone that will intervene. You can tell yourself a hundred times over that it wasn’t you, you didn’t say anything. But Guess what, it was you, right beside your friend. News flash, you need new friends.
This song by Bars and Melody shows how you never know what is going on in someones life.
My platform is anti bullying and equality for all. My motto for this platform is “be someone’s hero, not a bystander”. What this means is that you will never stop the bullies but the bystanders can be taught that they don’t have to enable the bully, and that they can stand up for the victim or get help for them. Another part of my platform that goes hand in hand with anti bullying is equality for all. What this means is that all people need to be treated equally and that race, religion or IQ should not be acceptable reasons to treat someone badly and that when this is done it is a form of bullying.
I want everyone with a disability to be able to know that they can do whatever they put their mind to, and that they have as much human worth as anyone else. When I was little I had a sever speech impediment and because of this I was bullied. I was called terrible names and made fun of constantly. As my speech improved I thought the bullying would stop but it didn’t. When I started high school it got really bad, but thanks to a teacher and my mom and a group of girls that befriended me I was able to get through this really horrible time in my life. People need to know that words do hurt. I have learned that it’s not me that’s the problem it’s the bullies. It’s what’s wrong with their lives and what’s going on with them that makes them want to bully. I can’t change them I can only help their victims and stand up to them. Many kids with special needs are bullied and excluded by the mainstream. I befriended a girl with special needs when I was in grade 9 and through that friendship I started volunteering in the schools resource room. I learned that although we might all learn differently that we all just want to be included and treated equally. I love to meet people and interact with everyone. As Miss Teen Galaxy Canada I would have the best opportunity to not only speak about my platform but to also show others how to interact with people with special needs, young kids, the elderly and people who are sick. I know what people feel like when they aren’t included and when they are bullied. I would love to travel to different provinces and speak at schools on this subject and to talk about ways to change things to reduce bullying and to treat everyone as an equal. I would promote the use of Kids Help Phone and Erase Bullying which is a program that is done through the schools where kids anonymously report bullying and then the bully is turned into the school principle. I believe ending bullying starts with changing the kids from bystanders to hero’s and equality for all.
Below is Taylor Swift’s award winning music video “Mean” this helped me to survive being bullied!