Grafton, Mass. students learn about bullying's consequences

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February 25, 2014, 6:31 pm
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(NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Anthony Hayden knows what it's like to be bullied.

"I felt really alone - a couple of times I was almost close to taking my own life and I regret it," he says.

He shared his story in front of his peers at Grafton Job Corps Tuesday, where students are being challenged to be kind to others.

"It makes you think about what you could lose in one day, what you've been doing with your life and what you can do to change it," Hayden says.

Students listened to a presentation called "Rachel's Challenge." Rachel Scott was the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. She left a legacy of reaching out to those who are different and those who were picked on. Her story is now told to inspire others to make a positive difference in the lives others.

"It's rewarding to see the power of the story and how it affects different people," Eliana Reyes says.

Reyes goes around the country telling Rachel's story. She teaches students strategies to combat bullying and how to create a climate of kindness.
 
"It really touched me - made me aware of how powerful my words can be," Natwona Smith said.

Smith says Rachel's story made her think about things she has said to people in the past.

"That means a lot to me and if I can change a person's life by one kind word or give them a compliment, then that's what I want to do," she says.

To date, more than 19 million people have been touched by Rachel's story and that number grows each year. Reyes believes people that see the presentation will help make the world a better place.

"The real change happens when I leave and how each individual adopts Rachel's philosophy and starts making their own chain reaction in their life, so we can't measure that change, but it's happening," Reyes says.

Tags: massachusetts, Grafton, Kristen carosa, Anthony Hayden, Grafton Jobs Corps, Rachel's Challenge, Rachel Scott, Eliana Reyes
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