[box]Bullying wears many disguises and it can cause a life time of ache. Bullies can be found just about anywhere—on the playground, at the dinner table, or even in the office. The harm can be physical or psychological. Today we feature Elayna Hasty, a rising humanitarian star. When we first met Elayna, she was only eleven years old, but she was already mentoring us on how to be confidentgenuinecompassionatesupportive. Elayna is the perfect example of a young woman living her life well. Girls against Bullying (G.A.B.) is her “anti-bullying” support page. Take a look at all she has done since we featured her last, all while managing a full-time schedule at school! [/box]

DSC_0221My name is Elayna Hasty and last year Over My Shoulder helped me by supporting me with my G.A.B. Girls. Girls Against Bullying was started three years ago, and G.A.B. Girls are girls that stand together against bullying. They know that they are uniquely beautiful, inside and out. I started G.A.B. for several reasons. Going into a new school, I was being bullied by kids, but I was also being bullied by and an adult. One of my best friends was also so having issues at her school—and those girls were so mean that she is now being home-schooled, and I hardly ever see her.

I went to my mom for help and advice.  She knew I was hurting and did what she could do to help. She told me to take the negatives and turn them into positives because, she said, every experience can be made into a positive learning experience.  It wasn’t easy, but she was right. I decided that I wanted to help others avoid being bullied and to support my friends, because that’s what friends do.

Mom and I came up with a facebook page and a website. I did a lot a lot of research on how I could help others by giving them support and advice, as well as sharing statics about bullying. I have also been writing to moms and their daughters who reach out to me for advice, and have been giving workshops whenever possible. My mom bought bracelets and t-shirts to help support G.A.B, and workshops help with costs for these projects.

Because of G.A.B. I have helped others and grown a lot in the process. I still believe “Bullying is a real problem but it has very real solutions. Sometimes girls feel down and not always confident in themselves. I want girls to know they are uniquely beautiful both on the inside and out.” I am now trying to help others have enough self-confidence not to be another bystander.

Last year, I was blessed to be part of Kids Are Heroes last year. My hometown paper also did an article and I was able to talk about G.A.B on a Christian radio station, on Super Girls Radio, on the Inspire Me Today site, and in BYOU Magazine. I am now also a mentor in school for kindergartners and help coach the youth team for competitive cheer. I am on a level three competitive cheer team and I feel good knowing that I can help younger girls not only with their cheering, leadership, and team-building skills. My work on G.A.B. has made me want to be a Pediatric Psychologist, so that as an adult I will be able to help girls stand against bullying and be a support system to those who need it. I had a great support system, but not everyone does.

Thanks to OMSF for supporting me. I am very grateful I have had people to pull me up when I was down!

[box]Without positive influences, we become lost, both as individuals and as a society. That’s why our dedicated team searches for stories of people who use their talents to fuel greater confidence, self-esteem and self-worth in others. We look for exquisite examples of individuals who are moving us all towards a society of greater inclusion. The heart of the OMSF mission is to find a cure for hopelessness, and we believe that mentoring can help solve many personal and social issues.

Today, Marissa Ranahan introduces us to a vibrant new artist, Gemini Wired, who wrote this amazing song to stand up to bullying. Haters be gone. Let this song and all the stories we publish inspire you to get involved with mentoring. One simple way is to share the mentoring stories we write each week with all your friends—you never know how a story might inspire someone else. If we feed creative minds, they just might discover solutions to the many problems we face in this world.

—Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Director

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“If you can dream it, you can achieve it. I wouldn’t be where I am today if I listened to people who didn’t want to see me prosper.”

We all have dreams. They might be to inspire, to educate, or simply to do well in this life. At Over My Shoulder, we believe in dreams, and in the unique combination of music and mentorship. Kristian Bryant of Brockton, MA, also known as Gemini Wired, dreamed of being a talented musician; recently, merging that dream with a powerful message has inspired thousands.

When I cought Kristian’s music video, “What Now,” I was entranced by her anti-bullying lyrics. The song’s focus is on overcoming the negativity that’s so often thrown at the younger generation. In her own words, she explains her inspiration behind the video “What Now”:

“I want my ‘What Now’ video to inspire as many people as possible. There are kids who have so much to offer and do not know it because they want to hide their talents or intelligence. I don’t want them to be ashamed anymore. I want them to know people like myself and these organizations have their backs. What now!”

The video, which was posted just a few months ago, in fall 2013, has already exceeded over 30,000 views. “I plan on bringing awareness to bullying through my music but also sharing my message to many kids.” Kristian hopes that the sing will give hope and strength to the victims of bullying. She will be visiting schools in the New England area over the coming year, sharing her video and encouraging children to support one another.

“When young people are busy being positive and supportive, you see less cases of (kids) being bullied. I feel compelled to spread the message.”

So, who are her mentors? She described her family as her “greatest” inspiration, constantly providing Kristian with their support and encouragement. “Everything I do is for them (her family).” She also cited her musical support, the production team Lyve City: “They were kind of that missing piece to my puzzle,” she said.

Kristian has been passionate about music from a young age, when she formed a small, short-lived all-girls group. In college she gained knowledge about “producing music, writing music, and beginning to record my own songs.”

Music with a powerful message has the ability to touch us all. Kristian has done an incredible job of inspiring others through her musical ability. With her talent, she’s spreading a positive message of hope. In her unique song, the essence of music and mentoring come full-circle. With inspirational songs like these, mentorship through music becomes a reality.

At Over My Shoulder, we thank Kristian Bryant for her positive messages through music, and all those who continue to write inspirational pieces for all ears to hear.

Marissa Ranahan, OMSF Team Member

[box]Today’s amazing mentoring story is written by our Over My Shoulder Foundation (OMSF) resident poet, Marissa Ranahan. Marissa sheds some light on the anti-bullying work being done by an 11-year-old named Elayna Hasty. Young minds do great things, and it is part of the work we do at OMSF to help YOU to start thinking about those first glimmers of brilliance in your own career – and recognizing them in young minds waiting for mentors. Waiting for someone to watch over their shoulder.

You can see sparks from such a young age. From Elayna’s passion for spreading the anti-bullying message to 7-year-old Carly Connor’s expertly executed interview with American Idol singer Ayla Brown, Over My Shoulder Foundation is rooting for them – for mentors. If you don’t take our word for it, take the word of Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour. In a promo for “The Fashion Fund” (a new mentor-centric TV show) she says, “I love seeing people at the beginning of their careers. It is then when they have their first spark.”

Let Elayna’s spark ignite your inspiration for mentoring and don’t wait to make Mentorology (the art and science of mentoring) a part of YOUR life today.

Dawn Carroll, Over My Shoulder Foundation Co-Founder and Executive Director[/box]

11 Year Old Elayna Hasty, GAB Girls Founder

“Stand up for what is right, even if you’re standing alone because it just takes one to make a positive difference.”

– Elayna Hasty

The “GAB” Girls Inspiration- A Young Girl’s Fight Against Bullying in the 21st Century by Marissa Ranahan

“Bullying has turned into a battleground of intolerance, and I want girls to know that anything that they set their minds to can happen” explained Elayna Hasty, the founder of the website and organization “GAB” Girls.

“GAB” Girls, or “Girls Against Bullying Girls” is a website entirely dedicated to helping girls overcome the countries’ bullying epidemic. The website displays accounts of girls who have been bullied and their progression towards self-confidence. GAB Girls features tips for parents and girls who are struggling with bullying. The website’s guest book features words of praise from girls and parents all over the world.

Elayna Hasty’s GAB Girls Website

It All Started as a Young Idea…

What started as an idea has become a safe haven for an increased number of young women. The comments are united with the love of Elayna’s positive message; it is possible to overcome bullying. The kicker? For developing this touching movement, Elayna Hasty hasn’t even reached middle school.

At the tender age of eleven, Elayna’s intellectual personality shines brighter than her visibly beautiful looks. For a competitive cheerleader and avid church volunteer, Elayna has a mature head resting on her shoulders. In the future, Elayna aspires to be a veterinarian or pediatrician. Elayna’s drive for helping others shows in her future aspirations. However, inside this bright and bubbly personality, Elayna has her own personal inspiration behind the development of GAB Girls.

“It all started when I was in the first grade.” Elayna began to recall. “I walked into the room and one of the girls was just standing there and mocking me. I was thinking to myself, what in the world is going on? I finally took a stand and said knock it off, but it didn’t really quite work.”

The next day Elayna bravely approached her mother, Laura Leese, to tell her what was going on. “My mom and I agreed it was bullying. So then I got the idea to help other girls, and maybe also help myself.”

Elayna’s Anti-Bullying Inspirations

In addition to her own bullying experience at school, Elayna’s other inspiration stemmed from a close friend who was being bullied. In terms of comparison, Elayna’s friend’s case was very different. Elayna realized her friends bullying was becoming increasingly severe. “My friend was bullied to the point where she had to be taken out of school and become homeschooled. I never understood why they bullied her.”

Elayna also witnessed cyber bullying in her own fifth grade classroom. A fellow classmate was writing mean emails to her friends, as Elayna describes; “She was calling her stupid, I tried to tell an adult, but my friend was too scared.” Elayna agrees it is always important to tell an adult when you are being bullied. “They think telling an adult will make it worse, but it will actually make it better. Just try to stay confident even if you’re scared.”

Through her inspirations, Elayna has reached out to Facebook where users can virtually “Like” her GAB Girls page. The GAB Girls Facebook page features positive quotes and inspiration for young women and adults. The page has acquired likes from different people around the world. The positive statuses are something for girls to look forward to when they open up their news feed, as a reminder that they do not fight their bullying battle alone.

The Growth of GAB (Girls Against Bullying) Girls

As the comments and likes continue to progress, Elayna has become increasingly proud of her GAB Girls accomplishments. The pride comes from every comment or like that she acquires on her page. Every comment she acquires makes her beam with pride. Right before her eyes, she is witnessing a generation being touched by her message.

What Elayna Wants YOU to Know about Bullying

“Bullying is a real problem but it has very real solutions. Sometimes girls feel down and not always confident in themselves. I want girls to know they are uniquely beautiful both on the inside and out” she says.

Bravo, Elayna.

Don’t forget to visit the GAB Girls website!

[box]If you like Over My Shoulder Foundation, please SHARE your mentoring stories, consider donating to our non-profit and don’t forget to follow Over My Shoulder Foundation on Facebook too.[/box]