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Once bullied, now helping others

Left to right: Mac, Mike and Andy speaking about bullying.

There are lots of presentations on the subject of bullying, but none quite like this.  This presentation’s actors have personal experience with being bullied and the subject brings a lot of strong, hurtful emotions to the surface.  Pain they hope no one else will ever have to face.  That’s why they are trying to get the word out about bullying.  

The idea began when several groups of self-advocates from different county boards of developmental disabilities around northwestern Ohio started talking at the Ohio Self Determination Association/PAR Conference.  They decided to work together and put on a presentation that would allow them to tell their stories first-hand, and also give real action steps and facts about bullying. Mac Gilleland, Mike Metzger, and Andy Wells are part of the Ottawa County Board of DD, self-advocate group called S.A.S.S.Y. (Self-Advocates Sayin’ Something, Yeah!).  Together with Sandusky County Board of DD’s self-advocacy group, they created a presentation called, “You Better Stop Bullying”, which is about anti-bullying and utilizes scenes from the movie, Grease.   

The training highlighted such topics as you are not alone, it’s not up to you to stop the bullying, it happens to a lot of people, no one deserves to be bullied and just because bullying happens it doesn’t make it right. Types of bullying were discussed (verbal, physical, relational and cyberbullying) and they spoke of who is at risk to be bullied and who is more likely to be the bully.  The group shared A Call to Action/Plan of Action and they discussed how it feels to be bullied and how they want to bring awareness to the community. 

Scenarios from the movie Grease were presented which included bullying and audience participation.  They shared tools on how situations could be changed, then reenacted the scenes to show what it would look like if people didn’t contribute to bullying and modeled respectful behavior.

Along with the Grease scenes, came personal stories and time for the audience to share experiences of being bullied or stories of someone they know who had been bullied.  The audience had the opportunity to use the Call to Action/Plan of Action provided by Clermont County Board of DD to role-play various scenarios.  The presentation provided participants with resources such as stopbullying.gov. 

Mac, Mike, and Andy hope that they can continue to work with Sandusky County and spread the word about bullying and its effect on people.  When asked what they would like the public to know, Mac shared that he feels it is very important for everyone to know about resources available to deal with bullying.  He would also like to see a support group for people who are facing bullying.  Mike shared that people should treat others how they want to be treated themselves and that he would love to see stricter rules on bullying.  Andy shared that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, take time to get to know the person.  If he could he would write a letter to his younger self  he would share advice such as don’t take things so harshly,  you are going to accomplish a lot,  stay positive and be yourself!  

If you would like to learn more about upcoming presentations, please contact Amy Cantu at Ottawa County Board of DD at (567) 262-3122.

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