Bullying has become a major issue in America. Kids are dealing with bullying with it not just in the classroom but also on the internet. Lauren Washington, co-founder of ABC, felt a need to help children everywhere who are dealing with bullying. Her nonprofit, the Anti-Bully Crusaders, works with kids to combat bullying in schools and on social media.
Who is Lauren Washington and what does she stand for?
Although I spent most of my teen years in Atlanta, I always felt very strongly about the city of Flint, [Michigan]. Economically, the city is suffering and the children are left to survive without any help or resources. There are so many talented individuals [who] deserve a chance. Seeing all of the crime and suffering from the water crisis, I decided to start here first and give back to the community. It’s important to bring something positive to the children of Flint because they still have hopes and dreams.
I care about others and that is one of my best qualities. I am strong, independent and smart but it’s ultimately my kindness that’ll melt your heart.
As we grow mentally, spiritually, and physically, it is our job to become better, smarter and wiser. Every generation must prepare for the next generation. To live for today is shortsighted, to live for tomorrow is the vision.
You are a co-founder of Anti-Bully Crusaders, what prompted you to start this nonprofit organization?
Over the past several years the number of bullying-related suicides in America has grown. Acts of bullying, cruelty, intimidation, and violence among our young people are at an all-time high. I realized we can no longer allow this epidemic to continue while we do nothing! We must take a stand. After speaking on this topic with my father, we began to work on the Anti-Bully Crusaders project. This was no longer just an idea. We began to execute.
I co-founded the Anti-Bully Crusaders Organization, with my father Leroy Washington. A few years ago, I teamed up with my father to create a self-help curriculum. This curriculum was an effort to provide young people with the necessary tools to help reduce violence. Our focus for the kids was to [give them] educational opportunities and creative strategies.
With bullying being such a big issue both on the internet and in the classroom, how do you think the school could approach this issue?
The school is the foundation to saving our youth and to saving lives. [The] majority of bullying takes place on school grounds. If we can teach faculty and students how to handle the situations and what to do that will make the slightest bit of a difference. Always remember, knowledge is key. At times, though they may not admit it, the faculty may not know how to handle the situations.
Anti-Bully Crusaders (ABC) has the solution!
To combat this problem, we have developed a groundbreaking interactive experiential workshop that creates a dynamic [partnership] between members of the community and our young people in order to deepen the conversation about the bullying experience, and about how to change this mindset. The goal is to empower those who are affected by the bullying. We teach peace, acceptance and tolerance while encouraging participants to recognize their capacity as agents of change in their own lives, as well as in their communities and in the world.
Our program is focused on maintaining a negative free zone and promoting a friendly environment while the program is working in a place and to keep the momentum going even after the program.
What are your goals for Anti-Bully Crusaders?
The goal of the ABC Project is to change the world one person at a time, by providing educational opportunities and creative strategies that curtail intimidation, crush cruelty and eradicate violence.
Having had a tremendous amount of success with the curriculum, the authors now bring this dynamic message and opportunity for change to inner city schools and community associations that are on the front line in the fight to save the lives of our young people.
The ABC Project is a simple program, but it takes what the youth call “keeping it real” to walk this walk. We need your help, and so do the young people who are watching you. We want to take this program to the schools all around the world and provide an opportunity for change by education our young people.
What is your educational background? What are some of your academic accomplishments?
I was involved in the field of personal development for the past several years. I recently earned a degree in real estate and I hold a degree in business administration. I am currently working toward my MBA. As a member of the National Honors Society, I served as a Student Ambassador to Europe and sat on the board of the Future Business Leaders of the American Society. In 2016, I successfully launched my own online boutique, called Lolatee.com that caters to the needs of all women.
With so much experience as an entrepreneur, what is next for you?
Ultimately making sure ABC blossoms without a hitch. If I can have ABC in independent school districts nationwide that would be phenomenal!! Just knowing that I’m doing great work to better the lives of our youth in the communities and saving lives one day at a time is the prize.
Once ABC has established itself as a houshold name I will expand my other business, LolaTee.
What words of advice would you give to someone who is being bullied and doesn’t know what steps to take to curtail the issue?
If someone is a victim of bullying, my advice is to tell someone. Tell someone until you know they hear you. Don’t give up! There are people in the world [who] love you now and [many] more will love you in your future. If the ones you tell don’t listen, tell another. Or give us a call at ABC, send us an email or even a text, and we can help you. Just remember, you are not alone and people care.
Be sure to visit us at www.antibullycrusaders.org share your stories with us. We are here to help.