ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — More than one out of five students in grades nine through 12 say they’ve been bullied at school. The CDC says 14% of those children have seriously considered suicide as a result. And many have actually tried to kill themselves. Now, a new phone app is coming to their defense.
“I was being called horrible, disgusting names by students who were smaller than me, some students who were bigger than me.” Joshua told Ivanhoe.
Getting bullied at age five really hurt Joshua Apparicio, especially because…
“I was homeless at the time as well when I was being bullied and I didn’t really have anyone to go too.” Joshua said.
Joshua’s mother Shirmin Apparicio said, “My first instinct was to make sure the bullying didn’t disrupt his focus on school. I was his only advocate at the time.”
But thanks to a non-profit group called Be Strong, she and Joshua had help.
Ashleigh Cromer, the President of Be Strong spoke to Ivanhoe about Joshua, and said “His perseverance, and his resilience, and his voice, I believe, will be a major player in changing this issue of bullying.”
Today a happy, confident Joshua is President of Be Strong’s Student Leadership Program. He’s spreading the word about the free phone app.
Cromer explained, “There’s an element of the app that has a safe group. We also have a suicide hotline that’s an immediate connection, if a child is in a place of wanting to end their own life they can immediately push that button and be connected with a voice and a person to be able to talk to.”
“I really wish I had it when I was being bullied before.” Joshua stated.
Corporate partners like video game company Electronic Arts are helping to provide valuable communication resources.
“My hope for my son’s future is that he will help a child so that child won’t have to deal with what he dealt with.” Shirmin explained.
“And that is why we do what we do.” Cromer said.
To download the app on your child’s phone go to your app store, type in “Be Strong”, and look for the green and white logo. You can also find out more about Be Strong’s free anti-bullying events at BeStrong.Global.
Contributors to this news report include: Debra Hall Green, Field Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer and Editor; Gabriella Battistiol, News Assistant.