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Kids Using Their Personal Power

Posted on February 22, 2011


Left: Kimber Bishop-Yanke as the Keynote for the 6th Girl Developer's Summit presented by the Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan.

Two Girl Scouts tell their story of using their power at the conference.


Have you ever been bullied? Well, two 7th grade Cadette Girl Scouts from Marshall, MI have the solution to your problem. These girls created an Anti-Bullying Week at their school.


The two girls, Alena Buczynski and Madeline Rayner, chose to explore the topic of bullying for their Journey Diplomat Award, which led into a Silver Award project. They also designed a community vigil in honor of Phoebe Prince, their inspiration for this project. Prince, a 15-year-old freshman from Hadley, Massachusetts, took her life in January after being continuously bullied for months in and out of school.


The Anti-Bullying Week included daily announcements, daily quizzes, daily dress-up days, and a poster contest. Buczynski and Rayner also planned and held a candlelight vigil in downtown Marshall. They made and lit 152 luminaries and included a journal for people to write messages of hope and share kind words for Prince’s family. Girl Scouts who attended received an original fun patch, made especially for this event. Local musicians sang inspirational songs, a pastor shared an emotional prayer, Rayner read an original poem, Buczynski read Prince’s story, and State Senator Mike Nofs made a speech, as well as presented the girls with certificates of honor signed by the governor.


This project has grasped the attention of local newspapers, WWMT Channel 3 News, People Magazine, and, most recently, Nickelodeon. A television crew for Nick News traveled to Marshall on May 19 and filmed a recreation of Anti-Bullying Week, as well as personal interviews with Buczynski and Rayner. A Nick News special on bullying, with host Linda Ellerbee, will premier this fall.


Although this project began as a series of public service announcements for their school, Buczynski and Rayner continued to brainstorm and grow their ideas. What resulted is far more important than just earning a badge or award. They’ve learned to speak with confidence and grace; they’ve learned to organize and plan a project that can impact millions of people; and they’ve learned that through hard work and dedication, they can make their dreams a reality.


See the Nickelodeon special on bullying featuring Maddy and Alena!

Kimber Bishop-Yanke, M.I.M., is the founder of Kids Empowered and the author of this blog.

Kimber trains nationally and internationally on bully-proofing your children. Kimber develops curriculum and leads programs for kids, parents, and professionals on how to build confidence and self-esteem, develop socials skills and emotional intelligence, and dealing with unfriendly friends, mean-spirited behaviors, relational aggression, and bullying. As a volunteer Kimber organizes Kids Against Hunger packagings and is the Chair of Fundraising for Kenya Relief. She has also taken her program to Israel where she teaches her program to Palestinian and Israeli counselors and kids at a camp that brings children together for reconciliation.

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