Thanks for checking in! WE DELIVERED!
Sydney received 1,438 letters of peer support on 11/24/19!
Please consider writing our CURRENT Friend Mail Recipient!
SYDNEY'S HEARTWARMING SURPRISE DELIVERY VIDEO:
PICTURES OF SYDNEY'S LETTERS - AND LETTER REVIEWERS:
SYDNEY'S surprise didn't end with our delivery!
In fact, her Friend Mail delivery almost didn't even happen! UPS lost our package filled with 1,438 letters of heartfelt support, mis-delivering it to a gigantic Amazon warehouse an hour from SYDNEY'S home. What happened next led to our first "UNSUNG HERO OF THE YEAR" AWARD in 2019 going to Amazon's Relay Operation Center (ROC) in Tempe, Arizona:
The full Friend-Strong Story can be viewed on this Youtube video:
From Recipient to Ambassadors, lucky us!
When Sydney's mom wrote she will do "whatever I can to extend their reach" about the Be A Friend Project, WOW, did she ever come through big time! Sydney and her mom, Stephanie. put the resources of "It Could Be Your Kid" (an anti-bullying non-profit founded by Stephanie following Sydney's ordeal with bullies) to work gathering Friend Mail for our Recipients at two of their anti-bullying events! Sydney even made a beautiful bracelet for Recipient "Rachael" and helped inspire letters of support from other kids attending ICBYK events! The family's support and enthusiasm is our greatest validation that our mission MATTERS to victims of bullying!!
~ SYDNEY'S STORY ~
THIS YOUTUBE INTRODUCTION OF SYDNEY is a good choice for young students!
~ By On-Air Teen Super Ambassador, Brielle Withers:
10-year-old victim of bullying in Chicago suburb shines light on devastating, "undercover" kind of peer cruelty... SOCIAL or COVERT BULLYING.
The four kinds of bullying are Physical, Verbal, Social and Cyber. The most difficult for adults to spot and stop is Social. Also called "covert bullying," it is meant to purposely humiliate the victim and harm his or her social reputation. It can also be carried out behind the victim's back by spreading rumors and making menacing or ridiculing facial expressions. Like all emotional abuse, the wounds and scars are inside where children must identify and express them in order to get help, a task beyond the years of most elementary school students. Sydney's mom, who holds a Masters in Education, knew something was wrong when her 8-year-old daughter came home from the first day of 3rd grade looking sad, but wouldn't talk about it.
On the 2nd day of 3rd Grade, Sydney called her mom to pick her up. She was crying hysterically and her mom knew this was more than nerves for her usually "EFFERVESCENT, BUBBLY, BRIGHT, SINGING & DANCING GIRL."
Finally, Sydney was able to express that she was being bullied. For several weeks, Sydney was targeted by two girls who stole her things, would not help her in work groups, spread rumors and made sure no one would play with her. The girls made Sydney carry their art bags, fill their water bottles and hold their jackets. Sydney told an NBC Chicago news reporter, “I was afraid if I didn’t hold their stuff something was going to happen to me, so I just did what they told me to do."
"Don't send me to school. I don't want to go. Please homeschool me,"
Sydney pleaded to her mom.
Despite being continually assured by the school administration of her daughter's peace and safety, the social bullying did not end until her mom hired a civil rights attorney and removed Sydney from school for a week. After these extreme measures, the administration moved Sydney to new classes away from those girls and the bullying stopped. Fourth grade was bully free, but this year, she entered her 5th Grade homeroom shocked to see the same two girls that had bullied her. She felt scared and disappointed to see that promises to keep them away had been broken.
The mom says her daughter once again faced social isolation and emotional abuse. She told a reporter from the "Patch" that the two girls harassed Sydney about why she told on them, and they sought to intimidate her, glaring at her and staring her down.
Already this year, Sydney has missed days of school claiming head aches and stomach aches and being "afraid to go to class." She is not sleeping well and has no appetite.
The school wants to move Sydney again, but her mom feels this time the bullies should be the ones to move, and not uproot their victim again. She discovered there was no paper record on the social bullying of her daughter from 3rd Grade. Sydney had to appear before a judge to advocate for herself at a legal proceeding. Sydney's mom is protesting to reform the way victims and perpetrators of bullying are handled in the district which is bringing lots of news coverage. The mom shields her daughter from cyber-bullying she is receiving from other adults demanding she stop making their community and school look bad and "move your child."
Sydney has been in therapy to help rebuild her confidence, and she says she’s learning to stand up against bullies and stay in school despite her fear.
We asked Sydney's mom what her 10-year-old daughter needs to hear from our Ambassadors, kids and teens across the country, and she said... Sydney would love to hear from LOTS of kids who would LOVE to be her friend. She needs you to tell her that she will get through this and things will get back to normal again!
Normal for Sydney is singing and dancing, especially to her favorite performer Lizzo. She LOVES gymnastics, plays the violin and is in the choir! WOW!