Every seven minutes, a child is bullied. National research says 160,000 students miss school every day because of bullying. Tonight's "Someone 2 Know" is included in these statistics. However, instead of being a victim, Katarina Clark is turning her trials into a teaching opportunity for young kids.
We met Katarina Clark at Dance Unlimited, where she spends hours every week perfecting her hobby of dance. It is her passion. Dance brings the 15-year-old joy, solace and confidence; three things that were taken away from her in middle school. Katarina says that is when she was bullied.
"A new girl came along and we became very, very close, very quickly and my other friends didn't like that very much. They'd come up to me in the middle of the hallway and say awful things to me. I even got threatened that I was going to get beaten up a couple times." The threats continued online. "Even taking it to Facebook and calling me awful things there."
So now, the Miss Northern Counties Outstanding Teen, part of the Miss America organization, is turning her bullying struggles into her pageant platform with a campaign she calls SHINE or Saving Hearts by Inspiring, Noticing and Encouraging. She takes her anti-bullying message to elementary schools all over town. "I just want [children] to be aware of what bullying is and how to stop it."
There are three things she encourages students to do if they are being picked on. "If someone is calling you names, don't bully back because that just escalates the situation and makes it 100% worse. Also, tell an adult." Most importantly, she says, believe in yourself and focus on what makes you special, what makes you unique and what makes you shine.
Katarina hopes to reach even more students. If you are a teacher or an administrator who would like to have Katarina speak at your school, you can contact her at the information listed below:
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kristen Remington