October is National Bullying Prevention Month. When we last checked in with North Carolina Virtual Academy (NCVA) 6th grader Brenden Santos, he had published several books about friendship, kindness, and embracing who you are. This month he just launched his new website: AgainstTheBullying.com, which supports his mission to end bullying.
Brenden met his 6th grade teachers this week and they demonstrated support for his campaign by donning Brenden’s new anti-bullying wristbands that are now available for purchase on his website. (Funds raised will go toward Brenden purchasing wristbands in bulk and then giving them out for free!) Brenden says teachers’ support means so much.
“I feel great,” Brenden said. “My teachers make me feel like I can achieve any goal!”
Each wristband says, “Hi! There’s only one me. Be my friend, not a bully.”
“My goal is to campaign against bullying one wristband at a time,” Brenden said. “I want other students, as well as anyone, to feel empowered against bullying.”
“The wristbands are Brenden’s way of encouraging solidarity with others in hopes of promoting friendship and discouraging bullying,” said Brenden’s mother, Diana Santos.
His website explains that when he turned 10 years old, he made a choice to stand up against bullying.
“I am too young to know so much about kids my age taking their lives because they are being bullied,” Brenden said on his website. “Bullying can take place at school, in the playground or on your computer, smart phone, or tablet. This is why I am here today. To continue my stand against bullying. I want the whole world to proudly wear my wristbands. After all there’s only one me and this means you. Together we can put a stop to bullying.”
Brenden experienced bullying at a brick and mortar school in Raleigh, which eventually led him to enrolling at NCVA.
“Our little guy’s quest for a bully-free world is something that we support a hundred and ten zillion percent,” Diana said. “Watching our son learn, grow and overcome the torment of bullying has been an amazing journey. Watching him channel his experience into creativity and social advocacy has been truly inspiring.”
Diana explains that Brenden’s confidence has been rebuilt with NCVA’s online class environment and classmates.
“He found his voice and began to express himself through writing, a journey that began last winter and has blossomed into a series of self-published books,” Diana said.
Brenden has been sharing his optimism with the world with his three self-published books entitled Brenden Writes: Friendship, Brenden Writes: Don’t Bully Me, and his newest book that was released in March of this year, Brenden Writes: But You Promised Me.
His advice for others getting bullied is to just “ignore it.”
“The bullies will eventually come to see it’s better to be friends than enemies,” Brenden said. “My true wish is for anyone that gets bullied is to remember there is only one you, and there will never be another!”