“The bully never remembers, the outcast never forgets.”
As you read the words on this page, there’s a student somewhere who’s suffering and alone, their future in question. There’s a bully who’s acting out in a cry for help that’s been unanswered for too long. Change starts with awareness and is achieved through compassion, an intuitive approach to opening hearts, and the courage and clarity to be willing to open yours.
I understand firsthand the reality of being the school outcast. From fifth grade through senior year of high school, I was shunned, abused, and tormented by my classmates simply for being different and refusing to conform to the rules of the cool crowd, as countless other students still are today.
My story, however, has a happy ending. Not only did I survive those lonely years, I would be blessed in my adulthood with the privilege of being able to turn all that pain into purpose. After my memoir Please Stop Laughing At Me… landed on the New York Times bestseller list, I started receiving hundreds of emails from students, parents, educators, and “Adult Survivors of Bullying,”thanking me for helping them and giving them hope.
I would be honored if you would bring me in to speak. I offer a comprehensive program for schools called It’s NOT Just Joking Around!™ (INJJA). The program consists of age-appropriate, live student presentations divided by elementary, middle, and high school, an SEL follow-up curriculum, faculty workshop, and evening parent/family seminar. The reason my program includes students, educators, and parents is because that is the anti-bullying matrix. The most powerful approach to realistic, sustainable change in a school is to reach all three groups on a human level and engage them in a plan of action that each one feels respects their perspective. INJJA does this—one heart at a time.
On the professional development side, my extensive list of offerings includes keynotes, institute days, boot camps and break-out sessions for conferences, conventions and special events. Click here for details. Of course I can design a presentation specifically for your needs as well.
I speak at universities, too. Click here for more info!
It’s easiest if we chat via phone so I can get a better idea of what you’re looking for and we can take it from there.
Why I’m different from other anti-bullying speakers:
I’m a survivor. I’ve been where these hurting kids are now. I know how to reach them and earn their trust, those who bully, those on the receiving end of that behavior and the bystanders. They open up to me because I open up to them during my presentation. The adults observe students, who rarely respond to anyone, suddenly engaging and participating. I’ll often have students approach me after a presentation asking for guidance on how to make amends to a classmate whom they never realized they had treated unfairly.
My presentations are more than interactive: they are immersive. I don’t use PowerPoint nor a podium. I speak directly from the heart making sure to connect meaningfully with each and every kid in that audience, and the same for my faculty and parent talks. I also help educators and parents who were bullied or excluded when they were in school to reconcile the impact of those wounds and use those experiences to deepen their ability to understand kids.
Sometimes I’ll see someone in tears during one of my presentations and I’m both humbled and inspired by their courage. The best speakers are the ones who aren’t afraid to be real, who allow their vulnerability to show and their truth to be heard.
I offer an innovative, intuitive and deeply personal approach to inclusion – the human side that only someone who’s felt alone herself can provide, and the subsequent perspective of survivor, who to this day, still copes with the aftermath of those memories.