Youth Challenge cadets “stand against” bullying in unique video

Story by David Altom, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

anti-bullying3HARLAN, Ky. — The cadets of the Kentucky National Guard’s Appalachian Challenge Academy are “standing up” to bullying in a new video posted on Youtube. Shot on location at the Harlan academy facility, the three minute production features Youth Challenge cadets demonstrating a series of bullying scenarios with the message to “Stand up for others. Stand against bullying.”

“Our cadets are extremely passionate when it comes to the subject of bullying,” said ACA Director Josh Coldiron. “Many of them have fallen victim to this epidemic and all of them have witnessed it at one time or another. When the opportunity came up to do this video, they couldn’t wait to get started.”

Click here to watch the Appalachian Challenge Academy anti-bullying video on Youtube.

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Cadet Michael Jones, from Skate City, Va., was one of the cadets in the video.  “I joined the project because I got tired of seeing bullying and what it does to the victims,” he said. “I’m also trying to make people realize what it does and how it makes people feel about themselves.”

Other cadets expressed similar reasons for being involved in the program:

“I wanted to be in the bullying video because I wanted to help others,” said Cadet Sidney Hall, Harlan, Ky. “I want to play a role in making people aware of bullying and how to prevent it.”

“This project is so important to me because I’m hoping it will help open eyes of some of our cadets,” said Cadet Zeveren Hill, Barbourville, Ky. “Not only is this for this cycle, but for the future.”

“I wanted to be in the video because I feel I could help stop bullying,” said Cadet Kennedy Greene, Knoxville, Tenn.  “I would hate to see my future kids go through it. People have lost their lives because they get belittled and I want to make a change in society.”

“One reason the program is needed is because you need to have people help others that are being mistreated,” said Cadet Jake Smith, Jenkins, Ky. “Bullying awareness is important because it happened to me personally and I know how they feel. Now I talk to others who have this problem and help them out.”

The video was produced with input from Stopbullying.org and the Student Task Force Anti-Bullying Network Decree.

anti-bullying1Putting together the video had an effect on the cadets that the staff didn’t anticipate; the production experience motivated them to create an anti-bullying council set up to explore ways to combat the widespread effects of this problem.

“That was entirely their idea,” said Coldiron.  “They were so excited after doing the video they didn’t want to stop.  We were both surprised and proud at how seriously they are taking up the flag on this issue.  These young people mean business.”

Jointly funded between the federal government and the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and sponsored by the Kentucky National Guard, the Youth ChalleNGe program is designed to help youth, ages 16-18, get a jump start on life. The 22-week curriculum covers extensive academic studies geared toward completing a high school diploma as well as physical fitness, leadership and community awareness projects. The program has been around for nearly 20 years. More than 100,000 cadets have graduated from the program nation-wide.

To find out more about the Appalachian ChalleNGe Academy in Harlan call 1-855-596-4927 or email melinda.f.dillman.nfg@mail.mil

To find out more about the Bluegrass ChalleNGe Academy at Fort Knox call 1-877-599-6884 or email dorothy.m.heffelfinger.nfg@mail.mil

 

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