Rachel Weintraub, 13, of Trumbull, Conn., an eighth-grader at Hillcrest Middle School, started an anti-bullying initiative to draw attention to the plight of bullied children in her community through speeches, special events, and the arts. Like so many kids today, Rachel was once the victim of a bully. “I didn’t know what to do,” she said. “But I came to find out that many of my friends had been bullied as well.” Rachel wanted to put a stop to this kind of behavior at school and give voice to all students who are afraid to talk about what is happening to them, so she came up with the “Words Can Soar” initiative.
Rachel began by speaking in classrooms about the issue. She then created flyers and recruited volunteers to help spread the word, organized anti-bullying events, solicited corporate donations, painted an anti-bullying mural at her school, and even wrote a song about bullying. Her biggest event was a cabaret in New York City that featured fellow Broadway actors and raised more than $5,000 for anti-bullying efforts. In addition, Rachel has made public service announcements denouncing bullying, sought coverage by news media, and appeared at numerous venues to raise awareness and funds to fight this pervasive problem.