HERE ARE SOME STORIES...
of lives that were changed as a result of Dr. Jay's programs; stories that inspire the change in others' as well.
Here's a letter from a high school freshman telling us how our anti-bullying program empowered her and “SAVED HER LIFE.” Stories like this are bringing about a CHANGE in our work.
When a letter says “You saved me!”...YOU PAY ATTENTION.
Sydney shared her personal story on a white lined, legal pad using her favorite pink ink pen. “I didn’t know Mr. Banks personally, but what he gave me was a chance to live a life of courage.”
She goes on to tell how a best friend had been talking behind her back and starting rumors. “I can still remember pretending I was sick, so I could stay home from school and not see her.” However, Sydney begins a new paragraph with…“FINALLY, ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! I was not going to let this girl keep me from being happy.” Sydney goes on to explain how the strategy she learned in that brief, 40-minute elementary school assembly six years prior would be the beginning of the end of a bully campaign from a “friend,” and the beginning of confidence that would follow her through her middle and high school years.
Every program is an opportunity to change lives.” If there was ever a question as to the effectiveness of the anti-bullying program, and our not-for-profit mission it was answered by a tender, hand-written letter that ended with, “Thank you so much for saving ME, Mr. Banks!”
(used by permission)
I was STUNNED when she said it but not surprised. It explained WHY she acted the way she did during my program. But what she did AFTERWARDS has become a cornerstone of everything we do.
I was doing my STAMP Out Bullying program at an inner-city middle school in Chicago. As always, I choose five students from the audience to participate on stage (one for the "S", one for the "T", and so on). From the very beginning, the girl holding the "S" started showing off; not following instructions, making faces and laughing at me and not with me, disrupting me at every opportunity. Usually, I would have replaced her but something in my spirit told me to let her stay. Painstakingly, we got through the program. At the end, when I tell everyone in the audience that I love them, I purposely turned to her and said, "And I love you too!"
Later that evening I noticed an incoming email subject line that read, "I'm sorry." I began to read..."I want to apologize for the way I treated you during the program today, but you have to understand; I've been told all my life that white people are prejudiced." As she continued, I was astonished and heartbroken by her story. However, she concluded with, "Thank you for letting me stay on the stage and not embarrassing me." And here's what made my eyes fill with tears..."And by the way, I LOVE YOU TOO!"
This story reminds me and inspires me to remember that no matter where I am or who the audience is, someone needs to be loved...and hear it.
When a school is devastated by a tragedy, sometimes Dr. Jay Banks is called in to provide some perspective and give hope. This was the case with Alex Moore in Jemison, Alabama.
I don’t remember where we met. I don’t remember what we ate (if we ate at all). But I VERY WELL remember Jill & Jim Moore telling the story of their daughter, Alex, a story that ended in a tragic, disturbing suicide.
As Jill recalls; The entire funeral home was packed. Because of how publicly she committed suicide it was all over the news and they had a crew at the cemetery. I appreciate everyone coming, but resented the fact that AFTER she was dead people wanted to show they cared and tell us everything that went on at school.
The Moore’s didn’t want to relive the tragic events leading up to their daughter’s death. They wanted, instead to make sense of her life, to find hope for the countless, hopeless others who continue to struggle. Jill explained, Nobody out of ALL the kids at school that knew what she was going through did one thing to help her. If maybe just one person had stood up for her it might have made a difference. She would have known someone at that school cared.
I would also like to add something for the victim of bullying. Tell someone what's going on (Alex didn't). Keep asking for help till you get it and to know middle school/high school are temporary. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, Jill concluded.
The week that followed our Sunday afternoon meeting included 24 anti-bullying assemblies in 10 schools over just 5 days. I will never forget my experiences that week — it is my hope and prayer that Alex will never be forgotten as well.
You can read more at the “Tears for Alex” Facebook page. Maybe you could share, too.
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motivating individuals to develop
good moral character as a means of creating
a compassionate and responsible society.
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PO Box 101 Thompsons Station, TN 37179