"It all means so much that ya'll are here to support me." ~ Emma
COURAGEOUS TEXAS TEEN FIGHTS TO RE-GAIN CONFIDENCE,
WEIGHT AND JOY AFTER SEVERE BULLYING "RUINED"
THE THINGS SHE LOVED THE MOST!
EMMA WAS SURPRISED WITH HER 850+ LETTERS & GIFTS OF "FRIEND MAIL" ON MARCH 14TH AT HOME IN TEXAS! WATCH THE SURPRISE DELIVERY:
See who sent videos of support, including our Ambassadors, TWO former Recipients and "Young Sheldon" star - our friend, Iain Armitage! Best of all? Courageous Emma's words of advice for other kids struggling with a problem like bullying.
- EMMA'S STORY -
15-year-old Emma - a baker and an athlete - is the kind of girl that holds her own bake sales to raise money to help fund volleyball club dues for girls who can't afford it. Her generous initiative began even after having to leave school and her school's volleyball team as a consequence of ongoing cyber, physical, verbal and social bullying.
Her mom says Emma is "amazing, so sweet, kind and compassionate, thoughtful and wonderful." She thinks her daughter's sweet nature may have been why she was taken advantage of and targeted by a bully.
The torment first began in middle school by one classmate who verbally harassed and cyber-bullied Emma, and she continued her attacks into the 9th Grade. For example, the bully would text upsetting pornography to Emma, and she also circulated an edited picture of Emma next to a blob fish on Instagram. Emma's mom, Charity, told ABC News25 that the bullying behavior was not called out: "She was going to cuss at you. She was going to be ugly, and that was just accepted."
Emma spoke up to administration at the high school, but they decided cyber-bullying was outside their realm of responsibility and took no action. Feeling emboldened, the bully escalated her cruel attacks - including harassing Emma in the locker room. There was also a fake social media account created under Emma's name asking freshman boys for nude pictures.
Throughout 9th Grade, Emma would come home crying. She begged her parents not to have to go back to school. She quickly went from 108 to to 92 pounds, and was diagnosed by a doctor with "situational anxiety" due to the bullying.
THIS YOUTUBE INTRODUCTION OF EMMA by our On-Air Super Teen Ambassador, Brielle Withers, is a good choice for young students to learn her story:
For Emma, the pandemic came as a blessing in the spring because school was temporarily shut down. There was "a sense of relief. We could breathe. Emma put back on some weight. My child was coming back," her mom told the Reporter.
But summer put Emma back into the reach of her bully when they both attended the conditioning camp to train for the volleyball team. Again, Emma faced constant physical, verbal, social and cyber-bullying. All the girls at the camp were skilled volleyball players and this bully would purposely aim the ball at Emma's head, and laugh when it hit her hard and hurt her.
Emma tried to block the bully on social media but the girl would quickly create fake accounts to reach her target. By the team's second scrimmage game, Emma came home saying she wasn't going to make it through the season and that she just wanted to kill herself. Like most bullied kids, she was desperate for a way to stop the constant hurt. Emma's parents acted quickly; they pulled her completely out of the District in August of 2020. They also pulled out Emma's brother, a senior who had just made the cut as the only male on the high school's Cheerleading Squad and was on track for a scholarship. Leaving school meant Emma had to walk away from her hard-earned place on the volleyball team, but it was a sacrifice made to get away from the trauma of ongoing cruelty.
Emma told Reporter Cierra Shipley of ABC News25: "To get my spot back on the team, to be able to play, because volleyball is really the only thing I looked forward to at school, and then it just got ruined."
Emma is still homeschooled, currently several months into 10th Grade, and hopes for the day when things might get back to normal. Her mom says they're making headway with the District, after much back and forth. The District has requested an outside investigation due to the range of possible issues involving Emma's bullying.
Emma's emotions are "still up and down." She works at a local gym and has dedicated herself to working-out and getting healthy - even sculpting six-pack abs!! WOW!! Emma practices her volleyball skills as a member of a club team and, even though she can no longer join community service efforts through the FCCLA (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) where she was a member while at school, her generous heart motivates her to continue helping others by baking delicious treats and selling them to raise money for volleyball club teammates who can't afford their dues. Emma's career goal is to open her own bakery or a gym - or both - as an entrepreneur, and we have no doubt she will succeed!
Watch ABC News25 Central Texas 12-17-20
"Family Speaks Out About Bullying After Little Help From District"
AMBASSADORS, don't you just love this girl?? Let's show Emma how awesome, amazing and strong she is!! Let's show her she is not alone and that SHE MATTERS. Her strength - and commitment to healing from 2 years of verbal, cyber and physical assaults - is an inspiration.
Kindergarten through 8th Graders: There's nothing better than an army of "little brothers and sisters" bringing strength, pride and friendship to an older student by letting her know she's a role model and an inspiration. Emma's confidence will soar when she hears what you think and/or enjoys your drawings about all the cool and kind things she does!! You will give her smiles!!
CONGRATS TO ALL AMBASSADORS K-12... WE'RE GROWING! Emma marks the Be A Friend Project's expansion into including older high school teens as Friend Mail Recipients. Emma is our 1st Recipient in 10th Grade or above! Our On-Air Teen Ambassador Brielle Wither's Youtubes remain the best option to introduce a new Recipient's story to younger students in elementary grades as we always leave out the most mature details in the video stories.
THE DUE DATE FOR EMMA'S LETTERS IS PAST!
Emma's Friend Mail was delivered on March 14, 2021.
Friend Mail must arrive in our NY office for review by the Due Date to be included in the surprise delivery!
Send physical "PAPER" letters to:
Be A Friend Project
449 Lane Gate Road
Cold Spring, NY 10516
Email letters, videos, scans & Google Drive links, send to: