sparkleNo one has the right to define who you are. No one should be treated unfair. Everyone should have opportunities to be who they want to be without being discriminated.

Treat others the way you want to be treated. You never know what someone could be going through that day.

Always be kind and positive to one another. The only way to sparkle is to stop bullying and it all starts with you.

National Bullying Prevention Month

National Bullying Prevention Month

blog“People that feel alone or feel they are outcasts, kids that feel bullied or lost, remember that you have a voice and that you should use that voice to survive and persevere” – Christina Alguilera

October is National Bullying Prevention Month so it only seemed fitting for my first blog as the new GOTRAC intern to be talking about the amazing things we are doing to prevent bullying ! It’s very important that we educate today’s youth about what bullying is because sometimes kids don’t even realize that they are bullying one another. There are many amazing campaigns out there which are taking the initiative to educate young girls about the dangers of bullying. Many begin by explaining that there are three types of bullying: physical, emotional, and verbal. They also include tips that help girls identify when bullying is happening and they provide ideas/suggestions for what to do when girls witness bullying.

One amazing campaign that is currently going on is Secret’s Mean Stinks campaign. They’ve created a huge campaign to teach girls about the issue of bullying. They’ve also started an activity that is currently sweeping the nation. The idea is to have people make a pinky promise to take a stand against bullying. Young girls are encouraged to make a pinky promise to take a stand against bullying and then to paint their pinky nails blue to seal the deal. Locally, our girls are participating in the pinky promise against bullying. Attached is a picture of the girls from Archer Elementary making their pinky promise to take a stand against bullying!

Another amazing thing that has come out of Secret’s Mean Stinks concept is their new Chain of Nice Campaign. Secret is challenging their fans and supporters to create a 15 second long Instagram video in which they tag a friend (or few) and share something nice about them and inspiring them to spread the nice by doing the same thing on their own Instagram account. I will be participating in the Chain of Nice campaign so be on the look out for the link to my video! 🙂

– Rebekah M. <3

Week 7 Lessons: Bullying and Choosing Friends

The month of March is flying by, which means we’re getting that much closer to our 5k on April 11! Are your girls getting excited and feeling pumped about running with their friends in a few more weeks? I know we are!

As we near the end of the program curriculum, we will be discussing with the girls the topics of bullying, choosing friends, the power of community and a good support system, to name a few. Start talking with your children about a few of these topics, specifically bullying since we will be discussing that next week, and the way to handle bullies and how to recognize what true bullying is and how to respond. Today, the term “bully” can be loosely tossed around and has such a negative and detrimental connotation, so it’s imperative we teach the girls what is really means.

Cheers to a great weekend and up-and-coming week!

The Regret of Non-Confrontation

Some of the most important relationships a girl has growing up are the relationships with her friends. The time spent with them is often the foundation of a bond that lasts for many years. They would defend their friends with everything they had if they thought someone was hurting them. Fear of damaging, or potentially breaking this bond, makes it difficult to confront a friend that is doing something you don’t agree with. I faced this dilemma when I realized one of my friends was a bully.

I didn’t see it at first, but over time I started noticing her bully behavior. I would see and hear her tormenting other girls by verbally harassing them.  I was bothered by her actions, but I wasn’t sure what I should do about it. If I confronted her, I might lose her friendship and become the focus of her bullying. If I said nothing, I was no better than she was because I was allowing this to happen to other girls.

I said very little to her about her behavior. I chose not to join in on her bullying, but I didn’t stand up to her, either. Over time, I started spending less and less time with her. By the time we were out of school our friendship was over. Looking back, I wish I would have addressed it better than I did. I now know that her bullying was due to her own pain and self-esteem issues. I could have talked to her as a true friend does and worked through it with her. Confronting her may have ended the friendship sooner, but it also could have led to her getting the help she needed to work through her issues. Making that tough choice could have made our friendship stronger, and we would probably still be friends today.

Sometimes you have to take a risk, setting aside your own fears to help someone you care about. Saying nothing lead to the very result I feared would happen if I confronted my friend. It’s very hard to tell the ones we care about we think they are doing something wrong. They may not be ready to hear what we are saying and then react horribly.  We still should confront them because it’s the right thing to do. If we allow them to continue their wrong actions, we are just as guilty as they are. If we lose them as friends, it’s an unfortunate but necessary consequence to upholding the integrity of doing what’s right.

Amy Childs is originally from Tampa. She moved to Gainesville in high school, graduating from Buchholz. She received a degree in Exercise Science from the University of South Florida in 2001 and is currently in the MBA Healthcare Management program at Saint Leo University. Being the Wellness Coordinator for Alachua County Government employees and mom to 3 kids keeps her very busy and constantly entertained. She enjoys being active and exercising every day, especially joining her boys in the weight room. Fun fact: Amy loves sandwiches and enjoys creating unique ones.

Combat Bullying: A How-To for Parents

Adolescence is a beautiful and ugly experience all rolled into one awkward package.

Not all preteens and teens are bullied in their youth; however, for those who are, adolescence can be a nightmare.

As a bullied youth, I can attest to the importance of knowing the warning signs of bullying and opening the lines of communication with your children.  Just beginning the conversation about bullying can make a world of difference. But before you can begin the conversation , it is important  that you understand bullying and it’s many different forms.

Bullying Defined:  

Bullying is not just name-calling. It can result in physical injury, social and emotional distress, and even death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


The Effects of Bullying

Bullied youth have an increased risk for the following health effects:  depression, anxiety, sleeps difficulties, and poor school adjustment.


Here are some helpful tips from stopbullying.gov that will help you talk to your kids about bullying and identify avenues to prevent bullying (the following text is from stopbullying.gov)


How to talk to your kids about bullying

  • Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.

  • Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.

  • Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.

  • Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.


Help Kids Understand Bullying

Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. They can talk about bullying if it happens to them or others. Kids need to know ways to safely stand up to bullying and how to get help.

  • Encourage kids to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. The adult can give comfort, support, and advice, even if they can’t solve the problem directly. Encourage the child to report bullying if it happens.

  • Talk about how to stand up to kids who bully. Give tips, like using humor and saying “stop” directly and confidently. Talk about what to do if those actions don’t work, like walking away

  • Talk about strategies for staying safe, such as staying near adults or groups of other kids.

  • Urge them to help kids who are bullied by showing kindness or getting help.

  • Watch the short webisodes and discuss them with kids.


For More Information About Bullying visit:

CDC Violence Prevention

Stop Bullying Government Site


For those of you with younger children let Big Bird help you explain bullying.

Emely Elugardo grew up at the beach but has been a Gainesville resident since 2007. She attended the University of Florida both for undergrad and graduate school, earning Public Relations and Public Health degrees. Emely values nutrition, is a proud vegetarian, and used to work at the Levy County Health Department as a Health Education Consultant/Health Educator. She currently works at the Gilchrist County Health Department as a Planner. Emely loves being active and spending time outside but her favorite way to spend a weekend is at home with friends and family. Fun Fact: Emely is a beach bum & misses the smell of the ocean.