Meet Student State Representative Joe, Be Strong’s February 2023 Student of the Month!
“I want to see a change for kids and all people to feel like they matter, are part of the community, and are accepted no matter what.”
Though he’s young, this Be Strong Student State Representative from New York has both the intellect and compassion of someone well beyond his age. At just nine years old, he’s taking on sixth grade eager to help others and make a difference.
Through student groups and clubs, sports, and connecting with peers, Joe spreads Be Strong’s mission of kindness and resilience with every connection he makes.
“I’ve picked up many skills from Be Strong,” Joe said. “Everybody I’ve told about it, they seem to get better. My friends used to tease each other sometimes, but now they are nicer to each other. They feel better. And when I help people, it also helps me.”
As a high-achieving student involved in a myriad of extracurriculars, Joe leans on those around him for support as he manages the anxieties all too common among kids in today’s rigorous world.
“I support the mental health of me and those around me by taking care of my own mental health first,” Joe said. “When I take care of myself mentally and physically, I am able to be kind to others and spread awareness and support for others who may not be feeling that great.”
Joe’s own struggles with bullying and mental health inspire him to help others and spread awareness through the Be Strong platform. He’s spoken in numerous schools about bullying, mental health, and suicide, and met with Congressman Anthony D’Esposito, working to spread Be Strong’s peer-to-peer programs to schools across New York.
“Anxiety gets me down all the time,” Joe said. “Even as young as pre-K, everybody called me names and made fun of my personal issues. People didn’t include me.” Though he’s experienced bullying for much of his life, Joe remains determined to break these cycles of cruelty and spread kindness instead.
“I think it’s important to stand up to mean people or bullies or help them to also understand why it’s important not to judge or be mean,” Joe said.
Joe has a heart for inclusion, which shines through his work in the community. From Be Strong to creating new groups and clubs, he makes a major impact. His kindness and selfless volunteerism have been featured in a number of New York publications. But even seemingly small, everyday interactions remain meaningful for Joe.
“Reaching out and including others is the biggest and easiest thing to do,” Joe said. “Being kind, taking care of others and staying active is important. When I see someone at lunch or at an activity who isn’t sitting with anyone, I’ll go sit with them and be a friend if they don’t have any.”
Joe’s got big plans for the future — his knack for history and science have inspired dreams of a career in engineering, and his passion for helping others has sparked his interest in philanthropy. But when it comes to the present, Joe’s mission and message are simple:
“Just keep being kind and listen,” Joe said. “People just need each other. We can do anything if we are kind.”
To learn more about Be Strong’s free programs, email email@example.com. To nominate a student to lead change with Be Strong’s innovative student volunteer program, visit nominate.bestrong.global today.