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State Honoree

Shayla Montgomery

Milwaukie, Oregon

Shayla Montgomery, 17, of Milwaukie, Ore., a junior at Clackamas Middle College, uses social media and speaking engagements to spread awareness of bullying, imploring both teens and adults to come together to find ways to stop this all-too-common destructive behavior. “I was severely bullied and as a result struggled with self-acceptance and depression,” said Shayla. Luckily, a family member finally noticed something was wrong and confronted her. As she began to feel better about herself, Shayla wanted to help others who were going through the same torment, but she couldn’t find an organization that was speaking to boys and girls directly. So almost two years ago, after spending hours researching and brainstorming, she decided to launch her own initiative, calling it “#Standup.”

Recognizing the power of social media, Shayla began inviting people affected by bullying to post photos of themselves online holding a #Standup sign, and to describe how they had experienced bullying, how they had stopped it or had stood up to a bully, and how they think it could be prevented in the future. Then she started going to school and community groups to speak to children and adults about bullying and the lifelong effects it can have, and to brainstorm about ways communities can come together to solve the problem. “Too many people are committing suicide as a result of bullying,” said Shayla. “Together we can make a difference and end bullying!”