Cassidy’s story and the effort to stop bullying was just one of five days celebrated by the Yankees during their 10th annual Hope Week – a week dedicated to helping others persevere and excel.
Yankees HOPE Week (Helping Others Persevere & Excel Week) is an annual program run by the New York Yankees that celebrates individuals, families, or organizations worthy of support.
Director of the non-profit Bullyproof America, Alex Chango said, “When a group of people like the New York Yankees all recognize and agree that bullying is a problem that can be fixed, you know it’s an important issue. There are kids like Cassidy all over the world going through exactly the same thing. But you don’t have to be the Yankees to help these kids – you can be a local sports team, a business, or even just one person willing to make a friend.”
Cassidy’s post moved others, such as actor Hugh Jackman, who shared ABC News’ version of it on his verified Facebook account.
“Hi Cassidy …. I’m Hugh,” Jackman wrote. “I want you to know you’re loved, special & smart. You’re strong, funny & beautiful both inside and out. BULLYING IS NOT OK. Please never stop asking for help. You will find it from people and places you never thought possible. I’m your friend.”
Chango echoed Jackman’s opinion, “Every day in America, there are 16,000 kids just like Cassidy who miss school because of bullying. They are kids who love school, but are afraid of getting hurt.”
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
- Health complaints
- Decreased academic achievement—GPA and standardized test scores—and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
- A very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
Chango states, “Our non-profit, Bullyproof America, holds free bullying prevention workshops and classes around the country. By incorporating communication exercises, confidence building, and martial arts, kids learn the skills to feel empowered at home and in school.”
Every Yankees player participates in HOPE Week with the goal of personally connecting with individuals in the settings of their greatest personal accomplishments. It was started in 2009 with the purpose of performing acts of goodwill to provide encouragement to more than just the recipient of the gesture. It takes place every year in the summer.
To learn more about Yankees HOPE Week visit: http://newyork.yankees.mlb.com/nyy/community/hope_index.jsp
To learn more about Alex Chango and Bullyproof America visit: http://BullyProofAmerica.org