Since then I have been learning more and more about bullying and all the different types of it. As the title holder I am having big fun with all of the adventures and journeys this is taking me on. The word BRAVE reminds me of the phrase “brave and beautiful” in which makes me feel if I am brave I will be beautiful on the inside. Brave is important to me because I have been a bystander and I totally regret it every single day of my life.
Last year there was a lot of bullying happening in my class and it has given me a lot anxiety and problems with my mental health. To conclude I would tell you never be a bystander and stop what bullying you see.
Last year when I held the title of Miss New Hampshire High School America I was able to do a BRAVE presentation and we talked about how bullying is everywhere. There were adults who were telling stories of being bullied in adulthood by strangers and even doctors. I think this was an eye opening event for everyone who was involved in the presentation.
This year I have been working on my own platform and I have tried to incorporate BRAVE into it. My platform is for spreading joy to those who may be going through tough times and just need a light to make their day better. I feel BRAVE has taught me how to help those around me no matter your age, size, beliefs and so much more. BRAVE is so much more than an anti bullying campaign, it has helped so many find hope and know it is okay to stand up for yourself and to spread love.
As for me, I suffer from anxiety and PTSD and use to have awful depression and suicidal thoughts. The old version of who I use to be would have never shared that with anyone, let alone on a big platform! But now I'm not afraid to share the scars and wounds from my suicide attempts because others need to see that it doesn't stop you from becoming the best version of yourself. The past doesn't define your future. In this case, I was the one bullying myself. Until my best friend taught me to extend grace to myself. I'm working on my mental health just as everyone else because being a pageant queen doesn't separate me from being human. I'm a queen at heart.
B.R.A.V.E has allowed me to combine the national Miss Collegiate America bullying platform with my personal platform "Mental Health Matters".
Being truly B.R.A.V.E is healing. And I am healing with you.
I believe that B.R.A.V.E is the opportunity for all of us to stand up, be inclusive, and be kind to everyone around you no matter what, and rather then doubting someone because of their differences, we should celebrate them instead! What makes us different, is what makes us unique, and being involved with MHSA has given me the opportunity to promote this message to so many people!
I chose to join this system, because of this incredible movement! I knew that I would have the such an amazing opportunity to impact so many kids lives! I was beyond blessed to have competed and received the title of Miss South Dakota Jr High, and right after being crowned, I began thinking of ways I could promote BRAVE to the best of my ability, even in these difficult times!
I have recently created a TikTok page, where I will be posting 3 times a week, and educating my viewers on the B.R.A.V.E platform, and how we can put bullying to an end! I felt that this was such a great way to reach out and promote the platform virtually, because of how many kids have access to this app! I cannot wait to start visiting classrooms and speaking to kids in person about the importance of being upstanders rather then a bystander, and to always be kind to one and other!
A dear friend of mine introduced me to the school safety tip line in my state, SafeOregon. This tip line is for students, staff and community members to report school safety threats from the safety of their own homes, via an app on their phone, their computer or making a phone call. SafeOregon receives tips focused on what makes students feel unsafe or if a student knows someone who feels unsafe.
I have also spoken at a school leadership conference with middle school and high school students about the importance of the SafeOregon tip line. I shared with them ways they can promote the tip line and shared success stories of others who have used the SafeOregon tip line.
I am very excited to combine my passion for school safety and the BRAVE platform as Miss Oregon High School America. “BRAVE in Oregon, BRAVE in America.”
Many of us have experienced bullying and I’m no different. In elementary and middle
school I was relentlessly teased and physically attacked a number of times. Speaking up
was hard because I was terrified that calling attention to the issue would only increase the
chances it happened again. It was only with the backing of my friends that I had the
courage to finally say something; but I know there are so many kids that will never find
that same strength, and will continue to feel alone in their struggle.
That is why BRAVE can be life changing. If we teach every student to be aware of their
peers: ask someone new to have lunch or play with them, give someone a compliment, or
ask someone how they are doing, we will create an incredible domino effect to change
the status-quo. Respectful actions make a world of difference and the more we can
promote inclusion for everyone the less bullying can exist in our classrooms: being aware
of others, and looking out for everyone around us.
As Miss New Mexico Collegiate it’s my mission to continue my work with BRAVE on a
larger scale, and spread the message the ‘You Belong’. Presenting to classrooms across
the country, I want every kid to be equipped with the tools to help foster compassion in
their classroom. I’ve been the kid who was left out, who didn't fit it— so when I can walk
into a classroom with a shiny crown on my head, they see me as a ‘princess’; but when I
talk to them, and share my story, they understand they are not alone, and hopefully begin
to find the courage they need— and the support of their peers, to overcome.
Once we gain a better understanding of our personal values we can start conversations about differences we have with others. We also learn how to respect other’s differences and learn to value what others have experienced throughout the conversation.
Watching this platform come to life through others is truly inspiring and as Miss Nebraska Collegiate I will continue to educate others through the message of B.R.A.V.E and all of its connecting aspects with people of all ages as well as continuously looking into new ways to make an impact with this platform.
After recently being introduced to the brave program I see what a positive impact the national platform would have had on both my life and those who bullied me.
The BRAVE platform is very near and dear to my heart because of its close relation to my platform Kisses from a Butterfly which focuses on Inclusivity and seeing our differences as blessings.
I am honored to have the opportunity to teach and bring awareness to the message behind BRAVE and be the person that I needed during those times for others who are in need.
I began speech therapy and corrected my speech in six months when therapists said it would take two years. I worked hard day in and day out finding ways I could practice. I worked with my school’s speech therapist as well as a private one. I was driven. I chose to embrace my height because I was not getting any shorter.
My freshman year I began my own personal platform, “Your Uniqueness is Never a Weakness.” This teaches others that being different is what makes life interesting. I spoke to small groups and classrooms full of students as much as I could. The summer before my Junior year of high school, I published an illustrated anti-bullying children’s book, Shine Your Light. I now feel equipped to speak to anyone about the power of words and the power of one. By empowering our youth at a young age and instilling the ideas of respect and valuing everyone, I hope a younger generation will grow up loving who they are.
With this voice and power I chose to compete in the Miss High School America pageant. If I won, it would give me a national platform, BRAVE (Building Respect And Values for Everyone) to reach many more people all over the United States. In September of 2020, I shared my accomplishments and aspirations with judges. When pageant week was all said and done, I walked away with best in evening gown and the 2020 Miss High School America title. Throughout this next year I will travel all over the country speaking to schools and small groups. I also plan to start the first ever National BRAVE conference to promote anti-bullying in schools and prepare community leaders to speak out against this epidemic. I have learned in life to not let others define you and to use your voice to help others.
This is why B.R.A.V.E means so much to me. I never want anyone to have to feel the way that I did. B.R.A.V.E really helped me see that in order to be there for other people I really need to build respect and values for myself first. I learned that only I can define my own beauty and at the end of the day only my opinion of myself should really matter. I am now so confident in my skin (literally) and I encourage others to feel the same way with B.R.A.V.E. One thing to remember is that bullying has a lot more to do with the bully and less to do with us. Always be kind and treat others the way that you want to be treated!
Welcome to the BRAVE Blog, I'm Carly, Miss Houston Collegiate America and I am working together with other titleholders in the MHSA organization to share the message of BRAVE and why it is so important!