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Bring in 2024 with "Hope" as January's Friend Mail Recipient!

Updated: Apr 28

Peer Support Delivered!

❤️ UPDATE:


With the help of the Topfield Equestrian Center in Cold Spring, the BAFP was able to organize an in-person surprise delivery of Friend Mail and peer support for Hope on February 26th, 2024. Hope thought she was just getting a tour of Topfield with a few members of her family. But several BAFP staff, friends and peer UPSTANDERS (including 2022 Friend Mail Recipient, Charlotte!) were waiting to surprise her with 1,129 handwritten letters of support. We even debuted a brief personal video from the star, Iain Armitage, of Hope’s favorite TV show, “Young Sheldon.” The kids in the group got to hand brush some of the mini-horses at Topfield, and take them for a stroll around its arena. Finally, while enjoying some celebratory cake, Hope, and all who were assembled, paid it forward, by writing more letters to our next recipient, Zachery, who also lives in NY State.


Enjoy this heartwarming, video compilation of Hope's surprise delivery and her gracious words of thanks:




 

~ HOPE'S STORY ~

Caring 7th Grader, who only wants to be friends with everyone, speaks up for all - even her bullies.


"Hope" is December - January 2024 Recipient

12-year-old Hope from New York State is "caring, sweet, forgiving" says her mom, and "genuinely innocent." In fact, we first met Hope when she came to our booth at an event, asking to write a Friend Mail letter for a bullied child. As we talked, Hope revealed her own heartbreaking story of being bullied since 3rd grade, which she bravely shared is usually aimed at her (fyi, beautiful) appearance. As Hope settled in to write her letter, we had the opportunity to talk with her mom about the Friend Mail program.


Hope loves to draw and paint to create gifts for loved ones and to help cope with strong emotions. She will also turn to music to soothe herself, or express feelings - like when she made up songs to perform with her cousins dedicated to their beloved grandfather after his death. Learning disabilities have not deterred Hope from a love of reading, and a favorite pastime of writing and illustrating her own stories. She enjoys 'middle grade' and 'young adult' novels, having read all the Baby-Sitters Club books, and comic books, too. She's been known to read 3 books in just 2 days - wow! The 7th Grader also collects "cool" rocks. She participates in the 4-H Club, is very fond of guinea pigs - and wants a rabbit of her own. 🐰 She's also joined a local softball team!


The 12-year-old shows others how much she cares in so many little ways. When her mom burnt her lip on hot soup, Hope was quick to bring her an ice pack. When her grandmother got sick, Hope created a "mailbox" with positive affirmations to read for whenever she felt sad. Even when a peer that is bullying her gets hurt, Hope reaches out to make sure they are okay. She stands up for others at school... whether they have been kind to her or not.


Hope is a model of caring - and fun! 💕


Bullies have often taken advantage of Hope's innocent and forgiving nature, using cruelty and humiliation to entertain themselves ... like the time she gave her locker combination to a student she thought was her friend, only to find her lock turned upside down and impossible to open.


The bullying started in 3rd grade with exclusion with kids not letting Hope play with them. We all know kids need to be taught that differences are a good thing that makes each of them unique. Unfortunately, Hope was excluded for her differences, for things like being pulled-out of class for special lessons and having early growth spurts that sized her larger than the others. Yet, all Hope ever wanted was to be friends with everyone. Hope would ask "Mommy... she said something bad about me and I don't even know her - why?"


In middle school, the bullying got worse. Students elbowed Hope in school hallways. She admitted to us that she briefly tried to cope by bullying back, but soon changed her mind and behavior as she could not bear to create that hurt she knew too well. Hope wears hoodies to school most days, even on hot days, to hide a bump on her back that bullies target, calling her names. A peer created a fake account in Hope's name pretending to say bad things about the one good friend Hope had left in an attempt to ruin their friendship. Despite enduring years of this bullying that includes all types: social, verbal, physical and cyber, Hope remains an 'Upstander' for others, even those who are purposely mean to her.

 

Watch a YOUTUBE INTRODUCTION OF HOPE'S STORY by our On-Air Teen Ambassador, Brielle Diaz Withers!



 

AMBASSADORS, LET'S SHOW HOPE JUST HOW MANY FRIENDS SHE HAS WHO APPRECIATE HER DIFFERENCES AND KINDNESS TO OTHERS. JOIN WITH THE BAFP TO STAND UP FOR HOPE THE WAY SHE DOES FOR EVERYONE ELSE!


Her mom says Hope's comparing herself to her peers has taken its toll on her daughter's self-worth. She wishes for her to know that everyone is unique and being different is cool. "It doesn't matter how tough life can get," her mom believes, "You can still find something positive and come out the other side, and have a good, kind, caring life." Brava, mom!

EVERY LETTER IS A GIFT!

THE MORE SUPPORT, THE GREATER THE IMPACT!

"CHANGE ONE LIFE AND YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD. IT'S IN YOUR HANDS!"


DUE DATE FOR HOPE'S "FRIEND MAIL" IS FEBRUARY 9TH!

Friend Mail must arrive in our NY office for review by the Due Date to be included in the main surprise delivery!


Mail "PHYSICAL" letters to:

Be A Friend Project

P.O. Box 30

Beacon, NY 12508


Email letters, videos, scans & Google Drive links, send to:

-OR-


Hope's Story Dec-Jan 2024
.pdf
Download PDF • 1.06MB




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