While the start of school is exciting for most students, for those who are bullied, it brings fear and pain.

One national organization Be Strong, based in South Florida, is trying to help those kids through lessons from their peers. ‘Be Strong’ is creating a series of videos that will be available on its app, to help students get through some of their toughest times.

Local students who are bullying victims themselves are taking part in the project. Students like 11-year-old Aayushi Ranjan from Boca Raton. She says she felt bullied by her best friend. “She started saying things around the school and making lies so it just really felt strange and hurtful,” said Ranjan through tears.

Bo Williams is a 13-year-old from Miami taking part in the videos. While he was not bullied himself, he says his friends were, and he always tried to stick up for them. “They might say, ‘they look ugly’ or ‘they look stupid, they have a stupid voice,’ stuff like that and it’s just not right to say that,” said Williams.

Joshua Apparicio, a 12-year-old from California who is part of the ‘Be Strong’ program, came to Florida to take part in the videos. He spent years being homeless and was bullied at the same time. “I was hurt in unimaginable ways. I was hurt mentally, physically, emotionally,” said Apparicio. “It really hurt my heart to know that people like this still exist in this world.”

“Their voices and their stories are the most powerful to create change. So a student who is watching these videos in their classroom or at home, they can connect and say, ‘ya know what? That’s like me,’ ” says Be Strong Executive Director Ashleigh Cromer. Now, through a series of videos, these students can help their classmates overcome the same heartbreak they did, and come out stronger. “It makes me really happy knowing that I’m helping somebody else kind of step away from the problem and not getting as hurt by it. So don’t let it break you,” says Ranjan.

Be Strong will be releasing 35 3-to-6-minute videos on its app, covering all different bullying topics. The goal is for schools, churches, and other youth groups to use the videos with students. They’ll be available this fall. For more information, visit https://bestrong.global/

Original Online WPTV Channel 5 News Story:  http://www.wptv.com/news/region-c-palm-beach-county/west-palm-beach/anti-bullying-group-be-strong-uses-local-victims-to-reach-other-students-going-through-tough-times

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