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Zoey (12) is March 2024 Friend Mail Recipient!

Updated: Mar 17


"Very sweet" South Carolina girl beaten by bullies in school bathroom, despite reporting threats.


Zoey's favorite picture enhanced with her online graphics!

Zoey's mom says her 7th Grader is "loving, kind, very sweet and affectionate" and while shy at first, "nobody's a stranger." The South Carolina girl is an "outdoorsy child" who enjoys being out in nature.


Zoey also loves drawing and music of all genres; at the moment she's really into 80's heavy metal like Metallica. The 12-year-old has a lifelong passion for Spiderman and Star Wars! She loves playing with her two dogs, a chihuahua/Jack Russell mix she named "Harley" after her stepdad's motorcycle, and an American Bulldog named Caroline. When she grows up, she hopes to become a Video Game Designer.


 

From BAFP Executive Director, Jennifer Young:

It is with incredible sadness and shock that I update Zoey's story. Just one week since officially announcing Zoey on March 15th, I've learned that Zoey's stepdad Mr. Johnny" Clark Jr. (pictured with the family below) died in an accident on March 9th. Zoey's mom, Bethany, remains hospitalized. We are devastated for this family that has already endured too much.

I am leaving Zoey's story, that follows, as originally written prior to this new heartbreak, but keep this update in mind when writing letters. If anyone would like to expand their support to send along a card for Zoey's mom, Bethany (Mrs. Clark) or the whole family, we will include it with Zoey's Friend Mail delivery.

Thank you for helping Zoey to stay strong from the bullying and to know she is supported and MATTERS. Shine your kindness on this Friend Mail recipient!

 

Loving, "outdoorsy child" - that's Zoey! 💕


Zoey lost her beloved father 5 years ago after his 3-year battle with cancer. Such heartbreaking grief is a lot for any child to handle, but to make it even worse, a few classmates decided to use that difference in their lives to bully Zoey where they could hurt the most. Their taunts began in 5th Grade with "your daddy's dead" and "you don't have a daddy." By the 6th Grade, their verbal attacks included racial slurs and physical threats, such as "Don't let me walk up on you in the hall," and "We will find you in the bathroom."


At only 11-years-old, the stress was "eating through her stomach" according to her mom. Naturally, Zoey didn't want to go to school and she did not "feel good." Warnings to the administration did not keep Zoey safe from those constant threats. In February of 2023, three middle school classmates followed her into the school bathroom, held her down by her hair and took turns beating her while a group of bystanders took video.


Zoey bravely shared about the horrifying attack to local Live 5 News Reporter, Anna Harris: “I got my hair pulled and I got a sore head. And then I got a few bruises, and I chipped my tooth.”


The 3 attackers were at first suspended from school to online learning, but one of them came back only one month later, not only to Zoey's same classroom but also to her work table group.


“Zoey was told to deal with it,” her mom told their local Live 5 News said. “And that, ‘Situations like this happen in life and that you deal with it.’ She’s 11. She doesn’t have the maturity nor the knowledge to be able to deal with that.”



Zoey summoned all her mental strength to finish 6th Grade and tried to return to the school for 7th Grade. However, as a normal consequence of the violent beating, Zoey had developed panic attacks that would hit her at school or out in the community, especially in loud, crowded places. She tried to cope by wearing dark clothes and sweatshirt hoods to "hide" herself from bullies. But after one miserable week back at school, she suffered a major panic attack. Her mom took her out of school and has enrolled her in a private school where she feels safe and is starting to thrive.

 

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



 


AMBASSADORS, ZOEY IS WORKING HARD TO FIND HEALING AFTER BRUTAL, LIFE-CHANGING BULLYING AND SO MUCH HEARTBREAK. HELP US CELEBRATE AND STRENGTHEN HER BY SENDING YOUR FRIEND MAIL! YOUR PEER SUPPORT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. LET ZOEY KNOW SHE INSPIRES YOU, AND THAT SHE MATTERS!


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 ZOEY'S "FRIEND MAIL" IS APRIL 19TH!

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-


Zoey's Story March-April 2024
.pdf
Download PDF • 936KB




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