Thoughts from the team

WAYVE does a lot of good in the community but what are the experiences of our team members? Here is what WAYVE has meant to them.

It is humbling to watch these youth change and to think you might have been a part of what helped them to grow and take command of their lives. Last year, I was on the presenting team and shared my personal story. This year, I returned to WAYVE as a coach. On their way off the stage, they often turn back and say, “I couldn’t have done it without you.” As a presenter, I know the feeling. WAYVE is so much more than a team, it is a support network of youth who are full of love and ready to take on the world. I owe it to them each and every day that I was able to take my personal struggles and become empowered with my life. As a coach, I have so much respect for every one of my teammates and those words have brought me to tears time and time again.” – Stephanie LR

I made the decision to share my story because I knew how depressed I had been after being bullied, and if even one person hearing my story has the confidence to stand up to their bully or bullies, I have achieved my goal. I have also realized that I am important and I matter. I have heard the stories of other people who have been bullied, and where they are now. I have recognized that my life has drastically improved since joining WAYVE, and I have the skills to deal with a bully in my future, whether the victim is myself or someone else. WAYVE has helped me to become stronger, tougher and braver than I would have ever imagined, and for that I am eternally grateful.” – Graeme Smith

By joining WAYVE, I decided to no longer be a bystander. I wanted to take the initiative to innovatively make a difference in my community, instead of passively letting bullying, intimidation and abuse continue. In the 5 years that I have been involved with this program, I’ve spoken to adults, teachers, community members and students, and after each time I share my personal story, it never ceases to amaze me how many people will come up and say that they have had the same experiences I did. I’ve seen students who have been suffering in silence find their voice, adults who were bullied find the courage to share their stories, and I’ve witnessed bullies find the strength to apologize to those they hurt, and their victims find the compassion to forgive them.

I’ve also realized that I am just the beginning. This is a movement, not a singular event. Over the 5 years that I have had the pleasure to be involved in WAYVE, I’ve seen the foundations of change in my community. In my school, our WAYVE team went from just 5 of my friends to over 20 new students this year, from diverse backgrounds, religions, grades, and ethnicities all coming together, putting aside their differences and truly striving to change the “bullying-is-a-part-of-growing-up” mentality.” – Rachal Bolger