Galesburg teens take a stand against bullying

Four Galesburg teens hold a meeting of the minds on Thursday. “I used to be scared to come to school,” said Katie Dunbar, 13. That’s why she f...

Four Galesburg teens hold a meeting of the minds on Thursday.

"I used to be scared to come to school," said Katie Dunbar, 13.

That's why she formed the Take A Stand Club at Lombard Middle School.

Seventh graders like Katie know what it's like to be bullied.

Now, they're reaching out with kindness in a big way.

"I feel like we have got less bullies now," said Dejanae Matthews, 13.

The club began in January to promote random acts of kindness.  The tally stands at 540 and counting.

They're attracting attention in 38 states and nine foreign countries.

"I didn't think that I could make this much of a difference in people's lives," Katie said.

For Lombard's 500 students, these are life lessons.  It matches the school's emphasis on positive behavior.

So far, it's dramatically reducing discipline issues according to principal Nick Sutton, who guides the after-school club with several teachers.

"These people are trying to help," said Brianna Sullivan, 13.  "These people are trying to stop bullying.  These people are trying to stop a daily problem."

While teens take a stand one project at a time, they're learning that helping others also helps themselves.

"We're doing a good job of keeping people feeling happy about themselves and not feeling so bad about themselves," said Ali Aldridge, 13.

Middle school years can be intimidating, even frightening.  This effort helps kids to know that they aren't alone.

"We have people feel like they have someone for them," said Dejanae.

These are role models on a mission.  They're starting simply and delivering an empowering message about self esteem.

"We're not just a bunch of seventh graders," Brianna concluded. "We're taking a stand for what's right."

And that's inspiring solutions at Lombard Middle School in Galesburg.