Jenna Braaten takes a donation from Alice Tylutki Friday during the Community Against Bullying's "Take it to the Streets" drive at the corner of 14th Street NW and Eighth Avenue NW. — Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

CAB takes push to end bullying to the streets

Published 8:30pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

Kids and adults alike flooded the streets Friday.

They wore simple signs, proclaiming things like “more than 50 percent of kids in Minnesota are bullied” and “Stop bullying now!”

They were part of the Community Against Bullying’s “Take it to the Streets” event. Volunteers stood at street corners accepting donations and selling T-shirts, hearing stories from passersby and thanking residents that gave to them.

“It’s an issue that speaks to a lot of people,” said Danielle Borgerson-Nesvold, CAB chairperson.

From noon to 7 p.m., volunteers took their first step at raising $20,000 to bring in The Scary Guy, a renowned anti-bullying and tolerance speaker that CAB members hope will talk to students, teachers, and the public about bullying.

Tanner Steene, from right, Jaren Steene and Tanner Steene collect money at the corner of 14th Street and First Avenue NW for the Community Against Bullying's "Take it to the Streets," drive Friday afternoon. - Eric Johnson/photodesk@austindailyherald.com

“It’ll be different than anything that’s been tried,” said Peggy Young, volunteer.

The group brought in about $5,500, which included a match from the local Modern Woodmen group of up to $2,500, meaning the group earned about a quarter of its goal from its first fundraiser.

Though volunteers won’t know how much they’ve earned until Tuesday, they’re excited to get so many donations before rush hour.

“It’s getting on a roll,” volunteer Polly Jelinek said.

The adult volunteers had plenty of help from students like fifth-grader Jenna Braaten, who with her mother Tracy earned the first $1 of the day at CAB’s donation post near Riverland Community College.

“We got one!” Jenna said.

Third-grader Kaitlyn Ronning and sixth-grader Sam Borgerson were hard at work towards the end of the fundraiser, working cars that pulled up to the four-way stop at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue NW and earning plenty of donations.

“(I’m) helping to get bullies out of school,” Ronning said.

“So we can make school be a better place,” Borgerson added.

There were plenty of supporters, as people walked up to each stop to buy T-shirts and share their stories of being bullied, or their kids being bullied.

Borgerson said she was in tears after a woman told her about how the woman’s 12-year-old and 14-year-old girls quit Austin Public Schools to live with their father in Florida after being relentlessly bullied. The woman told Borgerson the 12-year-old used to cut herself after bullies told her almost every day in school to go home and commit suicide.

“It happened in Austin,” Borgerson said, sounding stunned. “I told her, I said ‘Don’t worry, we won’t let this end.’”


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  • Lebowski

    While I fully support the aims of this group, I cannot support their methods. Spending $20,000 on a speaker is a foolish way to address this issue. Listening to a tattooed speaker at a school assembly will not change behaviors in the long term. I suggested several common sense uses of money to address this problem when the last article was published. Does the leader of this group really believe flying in a speaker will change the current environment for kids? It’s like putting a $20,000 band aid on a severed artery.

    The only thing scary about “The Scary Guy” is his price tag.

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  • CEW

    Dear Mr / Mrs / Ms Lebowski your comments here suggest a nature to be judgemental and prejudiced based on looks (in this case Scary’s tattoos) And, it may be that no matter what information you hear, your prejudice will cause you to stay fixed in your negative and inaccurate opinion. However, I hope this is not the case, so I will share some accurate data regarding The Scary Guy to give you a wider picture of the breadth, impact, and continued success of Scary’s programmes in schools, communities and organizations around the world. I am a high school teacher myself with 23 years teaching experience. I have witnessed first hand Scary’s capacity to share the theories and concepts that he has developed, showing students and adults alike exactly what to do when they are faced with rotten negative energy from others around them. Scary makes tangible the actions for them to be able to apply that knowledge in their daily life, without reacting with negative to achieve it. Scary has dedicated his life to sharing this information as widely as he can. To that end he has been on the road for the last 13 years and has dedicated his life to the elimination of hate, violence and prejudice worldwide. Today Scary is supported by a small team of people, which I form part of. His programmes are extensive – way more than an assembly (!) – they are a series of 90-minute shows. They are fully supported by curriculum that I have specially written based on his theories and concepts so that the schools themselves can integrate and sustain the programme beyond the shows. We train the teachers, students and parents, management and employees, law enforcement and military, including the United States Airforce Academy. We are brought in by schools and corporations around the world, including USA, UK, Luxemburg, Sweden and Germany – in most cases on a repeat basis. That alone may cause you to ponder … what is it that he is delivering that would motivate so many people and establishments in so many different places to book him …? Could it be something that is working? A solution? You bet it is a solution! I have archived every single letter that has been written to Scary following his shows, and those letters describe in peoples’ own words exactly how they are using the information they have received and just how that is enabling them to make changes in their own lives. They are all uplifting feedback to read – but the ones that really cause you to keep going forward are those that are written by the school kids, describing just how horrendous living every day with rotten words and abusive behaviour from others has been and how they now know they do not have to do it anymore because they have learned how to not live as a victim of that energy. Expensive Price tag?? The expensive price tag is on the millions of pounds spent on dealing with the spiraling outcomes of the negative energy: School exclusion, police, court, rehabilitation, sickness … the list is endless. This programme invests in teaching people how not to become that energy in the first place. So I say well done CAB for having the vision to step up and invest in your own community to create your own change. I hope we see you soon.

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    • leftthehatebehind

      Thank you for posting this CEW!

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    • Lebowski

      CEW, If you read my previous message and came away with the idea that I care one bit about the Scary Guy’s tattoos or piercings then you need to work on your reading comprehension. I have been quite clear in my comments here that my opposition is based on the enormous waste of money this venture represents. But then again you already know that.
      As part of the “team” you stand to gain financially from every visit Scary makes here in America. As part of the “team” you are going to predict grand results from a short term visit to our town, and will have no accountability when said results don’t occur. This is an shameful scam being perpetrated against our community, and you are complicit in that scam.
      For years we pumped thousands of dollars into the D.A.R.E. program here in Austin. We thought we could pay speakers to come into our schools and talk kids out of substance abuse. That approach failed miserably then and will fail miserably again with the Scary Guy.
      This is a massive waste of money. There are people with practical and proactive ideas about how to fight this problem right here in our city. We’re cheap! We’ll share our ideas with you for free, and some of us even have tattoos! LOL

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  • Sheenasmith

    It is really important to take the bullying seriously to stop the issue. As a parent, I don’t want to see my child suffering from bullying. I am a big fan of this one site called anationofmoms which is all about parenting and just Mommy life. I also just read this blog by them about a service called SafeKidZone that can protect my family. They said I could get 6 months free of that service by posting a comment on a forum. If you want in, check it out here: http://anationofmoms.com/2011/08/protect-your-family-giveaway.html

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