For the sake at others: Abby DeShazer

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Abby DeShazer, Steamboat Springs High School

For the sake of others

Guilt. Sorrow. Mind-blowing pain. Loved ones often feel all of these emotions after they lose someone to suicide. In the years after, many of them are able to redefine their lives and even grow from the tragedy. They become people who want to help others avoid all of that pain.

Abby DeShazer

Age: 15

School: Steamboat Springs High School

Q. Why did you join It Takes Courage?

A. My mom has been doing the presentations for a while, and a friend of mine heard her talking about how I always stick up for someone close to me who has been bullied a lot. My friend said I should join, so I talked to my mom and Heather and said I wanted to do it. My story is a little different than everyone else's, and I think it can help other kids.

Q. What is it like to be part of this grass-roots organization?

A. It's sad to hear some of the stories of people’s experiences, but there are some good stories, too. I think it's important to do this because bullying can be prevented, and we can help stop it. We can help people get a better perspective of what it's like to be bullied and why people do it, which is because they don't feel good about themselves. We can also help prevent suicide by telling kids it's OK to ask for help and tell someone how they feel.

Q. How do you see yourself helping to prevent bullying in your school?

A. I try to stick up for people when other kids are mean to them, which I think gives them the message not to do it.

Q. Do you have a story about being bullied or bullying someone else that you tell to your fellow students? Why do you tell it, and what is the lesson of the story?

A. There is a person close to me who I always stick up for a lot, but the way I used to do it was kind of like bullying. I used to be mean right back to them, and it didn't feel very good. I learned that there are better ways to stand up for yourself and other people. Bullying doesn't make you cool or more popular, and people will respect you more if you're nice.

Describe yourself:

My brother and I grew up in Steamboat and so did both of my parents. I recently turned 15 and got my permit, so I really like to drive. I used to do gymnastics for a few years but then switched to cheer, and this year I'm on the high school competition cheer team. I mostly like to hang out with my friends. I want to go to college and maybe be some sort of nurse or maybe go where I can study marine biology. I love anything to do with sharks!

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