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OREM — Five students at UVU are addressing the issue of bullying with a new group called "Pick on this, Make a Change." They invited Miss Utah to join them Monday.
Kara Arnold, the current Miss Utah, said she accepted the invitation from the UVU students because she has met too many children who have been bullied. Together, they plan to reach out to as many schools in our state as possible to try to deliver their message.
The group came together when a UVU competition asked them to create and execute an anti-bullying campaign. They understand bullying from personal experience.
"Thankfully, someone took a stand and helped me take care of the bullying," said Sydney Tycksen, "and if it wasn't for that, it probably would have gone on for a really long time."
"When I was in high school, I happened to be a bully," said Abraham Hernandez "Unfortunately, I didn't have a program like this that told them that bullying was inappropriate."
Monday, the group prepared to take their message to junior high and high school students throughout the state.
The National Education Association reports that one in three children from sixth to tenth grade in the U.S. is a victim of bullying.
"I've really seen to where it can lead to thoughts of suicide and that is what we are trying to prevent," Priscilla Silva said.
To help spread the word, the group invited Arnold. Part of her responsibility takes her to schools.
"It's those little moments that really make the biggest difference," said Arnold. "And I've seen that, being Miss Utah, there's been quite a few children who've been comfortable enough to come up to me and trust me and telling me about some of the hardest things they're going through."
They all agreed — there is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
"We can address this issue and we can change it." Arnold said.