A Palm Beach County student at Atlantic High School is getting recognized for her efforts to combat bullying. But what started as an award ceremony took on new meaning, coming just days after a Miami teen took her own life while streaming it live on Facebook.
When Jesula Jeannot “JJ” walked into her Atlantic High School classroom, it was a reception she didn’t expect. ‘Be Strong’, a non-profit organization that gives teens resources for dealing with depression and bullying, surprised JJ for her achievements in helping her classmates tackle tough situations. JJ told the class, “I didn’t have anybody, I but I knew I had a voice, and now I found people who believe in me, who saw potential in me even when I didn’t.” The honor comes just days after a Miami teenager committed suicide while live on Facebook. ‘Be Strong’ is determined to make sure no one follows that example. “You’ve got hearts that are broken and they are looking ‘where do I go, what do I do next?’ So it’s a time we believe to provide the resources to those children who are on that brink, who are feeling that same way, said Be Strong President Ashleigh Cromer. JJ adds, “when I see that video it makes me realize I need to work even harder because there is a lot of things to do there is a lot of depression and anxiety we may not know about, behind a smile, behind a laugh.” Be Strong says one of its biggest resources for students is its app. Students can download it for free and once they register, they have access to a crisis chat line, they can get in touch with someone right away, who can help them if they are having thoughts of being in trouble, uneasy, depressed, they can get help immediately. JJ’s passion and motivation comes from a deep place, moving to America after the devastating Haiti earthquake. She says when she came here, she didn’t know the language or the culture. She says, “so what do I do when I come to a country where people tell me that’s where all my dreams are going to come true and I was waiting to come to that land of promise and I got bullied. People making fun of the way I dress, my sexual orientation, people making fun of the way I speak- so it was pretty tough.” Now she says she knows her success lies in helping others overcome their own obstacles. She says, “I’ve been there, I’ve walked there I can sense it because I know where they came from.” Be Strong currently has 76 student representatives from 26 states and has an office in South Florida.
Original Online WPTV Channel 5 News Story: http://www.wptv.com/news/region-s-palm-beach-county/delray-beach/atlantic-high-school-student-recognized-for-efforts-to-combat-bullying