My name is Jack and I'd like to tell you about the day that changed the course of my life.
One innocent night, I was sitting with some friends when someone said, "Did you hear about those kids who doused a 10-year-old boy's shoes with lighter fluid, and lit them on fire?" And suddenly everyone was sharing similar stories, each one more horrifying than the last. The over-arching question was, of course, why? Why is this happening with such increased regularity? Is bullying a growing epidemic or are we just blind to the problem until tragedy occurs? What is being done to prevent future tragedies? We spent the rest of the night questioning and trying to find some answers.
After I'd arrived home, a bigger question haunted me: Why does this issue resonate and echo so loudly in me? Why do I feel so compelled to do something about it? Well, it was at that moment I faced something that I have rarely spoken about to anyone—that I was viciously and relentlessly bullied until I went to university. And yet now I'm a confident and successful professional in my field, as an actor and director. So, how did I cope? How did I make it through the rest of my life without feeling like damaged goods? Was I just lucky, or were there certain factors that helped?
These questions propelled me into a journey of finding programs and tools to help students deal with bullying. I put aside my career to go on a mission, and spent the next year visiting schools, talking to counsellors, students, teachers, and parents. I spoke to many organizations that addressed this issue and I watched and participated in many workshops and presentations in many schools. Although each had its own merits, nothing really hit home with me as being that effective.
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