CAB takes push to end bullying to the streets

Published 8:30 pm Saturday, August 27, 2011

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/

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.

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“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/

“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.’”