Tips & Advice
- 20 January 2013
- by Hasib Muhammad
There are seven billion people who call this planet home. What makes us special? We are all the writers of the human experience, but each of us has crafted a different story to tell. Our traditions, customs, and beliefs make us unique, and yet, sometimes, the hardest thing to do is to stand up for what you truly believe in. While our differentiating qualities should define and unite us, they instead divide us.
The white elephant surrounding individuality is the bullying epidemic. It affects far more people than you think. Across the world, youth are being attacked physically and emotionally for not following the status quo, for being different, for being themselves. Sometimes, the victims of bullying do not even know that help is out there, and as a result, the outcomes may be tragic: depression, cutting, suicide.
Enter Alex Horsey.
Alex is a high school senior from Portland, Oregon. He has a passion for fostering differences and empowering young people. He founded Project Believe in Me, Portland’s only youth-founded, youth-led anti-bullying organization. The organization’s mission is twofold: to end bullying and to give youth the resources to make change in their communities. It aims particularly for the LGBTQ community. While words can be hurtful, Alex Horsey tries to use words of kindness to convey a message to everyone he sees.
One way that Project Believe in Me uses words positively is through letters. It has a whole database of letters written by young people for young people, and in this way, a person in need can know that someone else cares. The beauty of this is that of strangers helping strangers. No matter how dire the situation, we are never alone.
When asked about the importance of youth involvement, Alex responded, “I believe that youth have incredible power to create change, and it makes sense for young people to be the ones leading that change when it comes to bullying. However, we have the ability to be the driving force of radical change in any issue--we're not the leaders of tomorrow, we're the change-makers of today.”
What’s next for Project Believe in Me? The organization is currently working on “Songs for Project Believe in Me”, a one-on-one anti-bullying compilation album. For every copy of the 13-track CD sold by its business partner, Hold On Another Day, Project Believe in Me is donating a copy to a youth struggling with bullying.
Alex is making a difference, one letter, one song, one young person at a time.