Sunday, December 4, 2016

Blue Hearts 💙

"Blue hearts for her beautiful blue eyes," is what students at Texas City High School are saying about Brandy Vela. Brandy was 18 years old and took her own life due to bullying.

Brandy was relentlessly bullied about her weight and the bullying became worse in April. People would make up fake Facebook pages and say mean things about her. She would ignore them, but they were very persistent. Brandy even changed her phone number and went to the police who said they could not help her. The Texas Police Department could not trace back to the source of the bullying due to the bullies using an untraceable app.

She shot and killed herself in front of her family as they pleaded her not to. Bullying is serious and is taking innocent lives every single day. This is a really strong message to stop bullying and to simply be kind. We do not want anymore innocent lives to end.

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💙

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Love Trumps Hate

Since the election of the 45th president took place over 600 hate crimes have taken place. About 65% of the crimes took place three days after the election. The examples are countless, but I will name a few. In Washington a racial slur was spray painted on the side of Spokane's Martin Luther King Jr. Family Outreach Center. The director of the center said that children saw the graffiti before going to school. Another example is a teen in California said that white students painted 'whites only' above a few water fountains.

The hate crimes are not only race related, but they surround the LGBTQ community, women, immigrants, and other religious groups as well. Many of these hate crimes are to intimidate these groups and dehumanize them. I believe it is safe to say that Donald Trump has a part to play in this. During his campaign he said things such as, " We have to have a wall. We have to have a border. And in that wall we're going to have a big fat door where people can come into the country, but they have to come in legally." He also talked about women and how it is very hard to be a 10 if you are flat chested.

During a time like this many people are scared. Scared for the future and scared that people they thought were on their side were secretly supporting someone against them. So let's spread love and inclusion! Let us use this time to become stronger and build together. Lastly, remember that love always trumps hate!

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Off The Grid

Off the grid…
Hey everyone! I know I have been off the grid for a while and I am so sorry! As you know it’s my senior year of high school and it has been busy and hectic to say the least! Where do I start, I was one of the cheer captains for my school’s football cheer squad, I am a member of student council, I am a Peer Minister at school, I’m in TASH a program through Planned Parenthood and a college prep program Strive through Washington University just to name a few things. I’ve also been finishing up college visits, college applications and searching for scholarships opportunities too, every day I have a to-do list with a goal of marking off as many tasks as possible!

While I have been off the grid as for as writing on my blog, I still try my best to post on my social media pages and re-share stories about bullying and neat and interesting articles about positive friendships. I’ve also had several speaking engagements with various youth groups sharing my story about being bullied and spreading more awareness about bullying. The last two groups that I spoke with were so interactive and engaging, you would be surprised to learn how many people are affected by bullying. No matter how you try to look at it, justify it, make sense of it, it’s just not right. No one wants anyone being mean to them, excluding them, teasing them, bullying them via social media, it’s all cruel. One thing that doesn’t fall off the grid are the numerous inbox messages that I receive from others asking for advice, tips, and suggestions on how to deal about bullying and on how to decide who would be a genuine, nice person to consider a friend. I also reach out to families who may have suffered a loss because of being bullied, when will this senseless mess stop, too many people are losing their lives.

Me and my parents are going out of town to Atlanta this upcoming weekend to visit some more colleges, I am looking forward to seeing friends that I have down there, and meeting the new prospective students on the college visits! I am working on selecting a person who has experienced being bullied or even the bully himself to give them something special! So if you know someone send them my way!

Some key takeaways that I have learned since my last writing:
-I will always continue to treat others how I want to be treated.
-I love working with the youth and hearing their stories it warms my heart because “bullying” is something that is swept under the rug.
-Bullying affects everyone we have all seen bullying in our recent polls between candidates and even on professional sports teams.
-People still don’t care about this mean epidemic until it hits close to home for them, but what ever happened to doing the right thing?


Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Back To School Bashers

Hello Bashers!

I am so sorry that I haven't posted, but school has started! This is my senior year of high school and it is already filled with so many things to do. I have so many Bash Out Bullying presentations, football games to cheer at, student council meetings, peer ministry meetings, and many other things. I will try to blog as frequently as possible, and will looking for people to join the BOB team and help out! If you are interested or know someone who may want to contribute some stories to my blog please let me know! With that being said, I hope everyone is having an awesome school year so far! 

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Future Leaders !

Hello Bashers! I had the opportunity to attend the YWCA Future Leaders Program and had an amazing time! I met 13 other beautiful young women leaders as well as met so many positive women in the YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) community! We had several team building experiences and my personal favorite was rock climbing at Upper Limits! We had to do many group challenges which involved trust and problem-solving. Everyday we had the chance to speak with powerful women all over the St.Louis community and I learned so much! I am so grateful for the connections I made at the program with not only influential women, but the young women in the program next to me! The last day we had to explain what our favorite part of program was, I chose the relationships I built with the girls. I read this poem to everyone:

Wherever life takes me
Whatever hills I may climb
Or tumble down:
Whatever joy I feel
Or whatever makes me frown:
 I'm so glad I met friends like you to along:
To have a friend like you through it all

~ Anonymous 

 

 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Big Apple

Good Morning Bashers! It has been two long blog-less weeks so I hope you are all ready! I am very excited to tell you all about my trip in New York that will be broken up into a few blogs!

Day 1:

So for those of you who don't know, I was picked for the ANNpower Vital Voices Leadership Forum in New York! I had never been to NY so I couldn't wait! I woke up on Tuesday morning ready to embark on my new adventure. My mom drove me to the airport and I waited about an hour before boarding my flight to Newark! Once I arrived in Newark I had a bit of a challenge finding my bags, but with a little help everything was okay! I then met about 10 ANNpower fellows as we boarded a truck to our hotel, Intercontinental Times Square!

After about an hour drive (due to traffic) we arrived at out hotel to meet the other ANNpower fellows! I initially found my roommate named Leigh from Louisiana! Once all 50 of us were situated into the hotel we were told it was time to go to the ANN Inc. offices, which is the office for Ann Taylor, Loft, and Lou & Grey. We stepped into Times Square and I was immediately overwhelmed with happiness! I loved the atmosphere of so many people and there was music everywhere. The walk to ANN Inc. was only 8 minutes (probably should have been shorter, but I kept stopping to take pictures lol.)

We then entered the building with hundreds of floors and found our designated room that said, "Welcome ANNpower Fellows." I spotted a light purple name tag that had my name on it and realized that this was all real! The first person we met was Mr. Gary Muto the CEO of ANN Inc., who welcomed us to the program! Throughout the rest of the day we had group activities to get to know each other, which us where I met a girl named Caitlyn and we immediately clicked! We then met our Vital Voices mentors who were women who have done extraordinary things in their community! Our last presentation for the day was about how to present yourself online and offline. After a very long day we went to dinner at Carmine's! The first day of my trip really opened my eyes to so much and I could not wait for the rest of the trip!

Stay tuned for Day 2 of my adventure!!

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Call On Me

Hello Bashers! 

I wanted to let you all know that I am always here if you need to talk! Part of my mission is to provide tips and suggestions on how to deal with bullying! If you are being bullied, are a bully, a parent, or anyone who feels like they are involved in bullying you can contact me. You can email me at bashoutbullying@gmail.com or send me a direct message on any social media site! I will keep everything you tell me confidential unless you tell me otherwise. I am ALWAYS here to give advice on anything and everything I know about bullying. 

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Skin I'm In

Hello Bashers! I am very eager about this weeks blog topic and hope you all enjoy!

I am sure you have heard of the book, The Skin I'm In by Sharon G. Flake. I have read that book so many times and it is truly empowering. I say that to say how much it contributed to my confidence and to tell you all a story about a teen in Pennsylvania. Tayja Jones-Banks is a junior and decided to go to prom this year! She said she felt amazing and posted pictures after she left the prom that night. The next morning her pictures were all over the internet and not in a positive way. People commenting on her prom outfit saying she looked "fat" and "shouldn't have been wearing that." Tayja was hurt because she felt so confident the day before. She then updated her status and said she wish she had never gone to prom or posted any pictures. This situation hurts my heart because I can relate to that feeling of humiliation.

My heart truly goes out to Tayja and her family! I actually responded to Tayja on Twitter and told her how pretty she looked! You should always be careful what you say online because words can hurt. Even though you may not know someone that does not mean you can say whatever as if they are not a real person. Tayja saw the negative comments about her and everyone who left a comment probably was not thinking about Tayja's feelings. So everyone, think before you act!

Tayja, I hope you to continue to be the beautiful girl you are and I hope to see more prom pictures next year! If anyone knows her social media sites please share this with her!

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rest In Peace Amy Joyner

Hello Bashers! This weeks blog is something very close to my heart and I wanted to talk to you all about it. This is a serious issue and incidents like this are unfortunately are becoming more common.

I am not sure if you all have heard the story, but on April 21st, 16 year old, Amy Joyner was  to death and many stories are reporting it is over a boy. The fight broke out in the school bathroom and she was jumped by two girls. The fight was recorded by several students and put on social media. Amy was rushed to the DuPont Hospital in critical condition, but was sadly pronounced dead on the way.

This situation really hit home with me because she is my age. Everyone who knew her described her as nice and kind. The details are still very unclear and the girls were suspended from school. Someone died as a result of this fight and they were only suspended? The two girls who allegedly who beat Amy to death are being interviewed. My mom and I were devastated when we heard about this story because yes, it is bullying. Those girls did not have to do what they did to Amy, a fight never solves any problem. I hope killing her was not their intent, but this is a good example of how a quick decision can last a lifetime. Her life could have possibly been saved if a bystander would have said something, attempted to break up the fight, or immediately went to get an adult. The students who were recording this are just as guilty of playing a role in this unfortunate situation.

I keep Amy and her family in my prayers everyday. I am in the process of trying to contact her family to let them know that Bash Out Bullying stands with them in their mission to bring more awareness to bullying. I also hope this story allows other people to see the seriousness in bullying and being a bystander. I hope at least one person learns from this story to think before you act.

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Same Love

Today's blog is something I actually spoke with some students at school about today and felt the need to tell all of you! Happy reading!

The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) teen community is always growing, but are we growing with it? By that I mean are we opening our minds to realize everyone is different and we should be making everyone feel included. I attend a parochial school so we NEVER even bring up the discussion of the LGBTQ community. On the other hand you all know me and know that I strongly believe in everyone expressing themselves as best as they can so I joined TASH (Teen Advocates For Sexual Health). TASH is a club at Planned Parenthood that teaches high school students from all over St.Louis about understanding healthy sexuality based on teen rights and responsibilities. At TASH I meet so many people, some being in the LGBTQ teen community. It is very interesting to hear their side, the mean things other teens say or looks they give. Teens of the LGBTQ community who are bullied are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol. After doing some research I found that 9 out 10 LGBTQ students are bullied and/or harassed. In schools kids and teens often use terms such as; fag, gay, faggot, or lesbo to name a few. These words may seem harmless, but they are hurtful to those around you who truly identify as apart of the LGBTQ community. You should always make everyone feel included no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Everyone is different and we should learn to appreciate it rather than make fun of our differences.

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A Letter To The Bashers

Hello Bashers! So today's blog will be a little different and is truly something that comes from my heart.

 I simply wanted to talk about never giving up. No matter what the obstacle is you should never let anyone or anything stop you. I was told to kill myself and I continued to stay strong and am here to tell you all this today. While being bullied I struggled and let things get me down and since then I have truly learned that just makes it harder. Right now I am looking at colleges and people will tell you you "can't" go to a certain school and that only makes me want to work harder. You have so much in this world to prove and don't ever let anyone tell you otherwise.

Stay strong & stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

(P.S. I am always available if you need to talk, vent, or even hear my stories; email me at bashoutbullying@gmail.com or you can inbox me on any of the B.O.B social media sites!)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Spring Break Part 2

Hello Bashers!! Get ready for the second part of my spring break!

After my mom and I finished all of our college visits we decided to have some fun! If you know my mother and I personally you know we LOVE shopping! We went to so many different malls in Georgia; Cumberland Mall, Atlantic Station, and Lenox. We had the chance to see Toya Wright's store, called Garb Boutique where we met the nicest employee! We ate at an abundance of new restaurants since we have a rule  that we do not eat at any restaurant we have in St.Louis! We even had the chance to try King Of Pops which is a family owned all natural Popsicle business and they were delicious. My favorite place to eat in Atlanta is Zaxby's because we do not have one in St. Louis lol! We went to the World Of Coca Cola and tried soda from different countries!

Some of you may not know, but my best friend Jurnee lives in Atlanta. Her spring break was different from my spring break so we were not sure if we would have a chance to hang out. I then talked to her mom and arranged to pick her up from school on Friday! When I pulled up she was so excited and surprised to see me. While picking her up I saw a girl I go to camp with named Kaylah! We all went shopping at Lenox Mall and had so much fun. The next day was our day to travel home from our busy and fun week!

Thank you for reading bashers!! I have something very exciting coming up and I cannot wait to tell you about it next week! Stay tuned!

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sping Break Part 1

Over spring break my mom and I took a road trip to my favorite city, Atlanta, Georgia! I always say I should have been born there lol. I went to visit colleges, spend time with my friends, and shop of course! On our way to Atlanta we stopped to get breakfast in Nashville, Tennessee. While we were there we stopped to look at Tennessee State University and Fisk University. I met some very nice students who told me how their transition to college was. We arrived in Atlanta later that day, stopped to get dinner (crab legs, which is our favorite) and went straight to bed!

Our second day in Atlanta I had a couple of school visits! First we had the opportunity to see Emory University, a liberal arts college in Atlanta, Georgia. I met some extremely nice people and my mom and I even met another mother/daughter duo on a college road trip too! We then had the opportunity to meet a family friend at Agnes Scott, an all girls college in Atlanta, Georgia as well. We saw the campus and had an amazing tour. My tour guide, Fatimah (who I wish was my big sister lol) really explained the knowledge that Agnes Scott gave her. After our business part of the day we had fun at the Ponce City Market, a small area with shops and food!

Our third day consisted of more college visits that I was particularly excited about! We were going to see my dream school, Spelman College. Two of my mom's best friends attended college there and have always instilled in me that I should become a Spelman woman. I had the chance to see Spelman's campus last spring break and simply fell in love! This being my second time you're probably thinking was it as exciting and the answer is yes! I again fell in love with the campus and met more inspiring young women. It is such an empowering community and I truly feel like I belong there! Our second school of the day was just next door, Clark Atlanta University. I really enjoyed my individual tour and was able to meet a lot of the students. I even got to meet a student from St.Louis!

If you're enjoying learning about my spring break then you will LOVE next weeks blog, part two of spring break! I had such an eventful spring break I decided to break it into two blogs! So stay tuned for the second half!

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Work It Out

When you hear bullying you may automatically assume children are the only people that get bullied. That is simply not the case, bullying can happen as an adult too. This weeks blog is about bullying in that workplace. How does it happen? What do you do?

What is workplace bullying? Some things that can happen in a workplace could be spreading rumors, undermining someone, unwarranted or undeserved punishment, withholding helpful information, etc. Being bullied at work can decrease work moral, increase stress, increase absenteeism, etc. If you are being bullied at work there are a few things you can do, keep a journal to document every act of bullying, keep copies of emails (or any form of communication) between you and the bully, and report the harassment to a manager in your workplace. Your workplace should be a kind environment, you should encourage and uplift your coworkers! Always remember to treat others how you want to be treated! 

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Boys Will Be Boys

As I said last week, this weeks blog is about boys and their behavior in bullying. If you have a little brother, son, or mini-me this blog is for you!

Here are some things to look out for if you suspect boy bullying:
- physically harassment among each other (pushing, shoving, etc.)
- intimidating each other with threats
- shaming victim in front of others

The difference between boy and girl bullying is boys are more likely to bully in person while girls bully more online. Boys commonly gang up on one victim and use physical violence.  By talking to them you can help them through their situation. If you know a boy who is being bullied or even a boy who is a bully simply talk to them and remind them the effects bullying can have. If you are the older brother or mentor to a boy share this with them and provide some words of wisdom!

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Girl Fight

You may have a little sister, "mini-me", or a daughter. Are they being bullied? Well this blog is for them! Girls bully very differently than boys which is why I split these blogs into two weeks. 

Here are some things to look out for if you suspect girl bullying:
- they spread rumors 
- they often verbally harass 
- girl groups gang up on one individual
- emotional violence 
- cruel jokes or mocking 


Look out for these common factors among your daughters, "mini-me", or little sister. By simply talking to them you can help them through their situation. I am very close to my mom and she helps me with her words of wisdom. I have little cousins who I help as much as I can as well. Next week we will talk about boy bullying so stay tuned!  


Stay Strong & Stay Positive, 
Courtney Jay 💜

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Effects Of Bullying

Hi Bashers! This week we are going to talk about some lasting impacts of bullying. There are so many people that think the victims gets over it which is not always the case. Bullying can cause long term issues that may require counseling or therapy.

- More than 4,000 teens commit suicide a year due to bullying.

- Some people suffer stress related illnesses such as: anxiety, panic attacks, stomach issues, and depression.

- Many students who are bullied have a decrease in their academic performance, and have a desire to skip school or drop out.

I hope that simply after reading these few facts, you will understand that bullying is harsh. You should always be kind to others because you don't know their situation. Thanks for reading and stay tuned next week for another letter! 

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Letter To My Bystanders

This weeks blog is a letter to my bystanders. As I stated a few blogs ago according to Merriam - Webster dictionary a bystander is: a person who is standing near but not taking part in what is happening. 

Dear Bystanders,

You all were my friends, but you were also the friends of my bully. You saw me be tormented, embarrassed, and humiliated daily. I'm not sure if you ever told them to stop, but it didn't seem like it. I understand if you were torn on choosing friends, but why did you always choose the bully over me. Is it because you wanted to be in the "in-crowd"? When we were in private you would express your sympathy, but made excuses about why you never said anything. You said things like you don't want to be picked on too or left out. I looked to you all for a shoulder to lean on, or some support, but you were never there. 

Looking back on it, you all really made a difference in my life. You all taught me another important life lesson, to always stand up for yourself and others. You all helped shape the pledge for Bash Out Bullying where I prominently state that you should stand up for everyone. Maybe at the time you simply did not know what a bystander was or maybe you didn't think you were one. Whichever the case may be, please remember that standing up for someone can help so much, you can help the bullying stop or you can even save a life.

Stay strong and stay positive,
Courtney Jay 💜


Monday, January 25, 2016

A Letter To My BFF Turned Bully

Dear BFF Turned Bully,

     On the first day of 7th grade I knew we would be the best of friends. We did so many things together we were almost like sisters. We had sleepovers on school nights, went to concerts together, carpooled to school, and dressed alike to school pretty often. I trusted you and would tell you every detail of my life. I knew you would never leave my side and you soon proved me wrong.

     To this day I have never really gotten a chance to talk to you. To tell you all the pain you put me through, the tears you created, or the trust issues you caused that I am still getting through. You made me feel so small, like I was worthless. I spent many lunches in bathrooms, the library, or just by myself. I want to know were all those mean things you said and did worth it? I often wonder, how does this make you feel? Why did you turn all of my friends against me? To this day you still never told me exactly what I did to you.

     October 31, 2014 is the last time I saw you. I have grown so much and have even brought myself to forgive you in a way. I actually want to say thank you. Thank you for making me learn the valuable life lesson that everyone is not going to like you. As crazy as it sounds I developed thick skin, gained perseverance, and I now realize you had your own anger to take care of, and you took it out on me. I realize that no one is perfect and we all regret something we have done every now and then. I can honestly say I have moved on, maybe you have too, or maybe you do not feel any remorse at all. Either way life goes on and the world goes around, I now have an understanding of what friendship is and what it isn't.

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay💜

Monday, January 18, 2016

You've Got A Friend In Me

"Friendship... Is not something you learn in school. But if you haven't learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven't learned anything." - Muhammad Ali 

My mom always taught me,"To have a friend, is to be a friend." I take that saying so seriously in all of my friendships. I have had a few challenging friendships, but more good ones and I just wanted to share with you all a few pointers that I have learned over the years. 

1. Don't be afraid to tell your friend the truth no matter how difficult it may be, whether it's about school, clothes, boys, etc.
2. Don't always make everything about yourself, aways listen to each other and make sure the relationship is balanced. 
3. Be a loyal, genuine, and trustworthy friend that goes a long way. 
4. Forgive your friend if they do something wrong, everyone makes mistakes.
5. Be positive in your friendship, you don't want to be known as a Negative Nancy.
6. If you have an issue in your friendship talk to them directly, don't go to outsiders because sometimes that starts drama. 
7. Always love and support your friend especially when they are struggling.

These are just 7 of many tips that I apply to my life and friendships. Hope these tips help you, feel free to share and pass along! 

Stay Strong & Stay Positive,
Courtney Jay 💜

Introducing my two best friends, Alida & Jurnee 💜

Monday, January 4, 2016

Bash Into 2016!

Happy New Year Bashers!! I hope you enjoyed your holidays with your family and friends! One of my favorite Christmas gifts was a customized rose gold B.O.B bracelet from my god mom! Last year was amazing, and I was blessed with so many great opportunities. Such as being presented the Educated Girls Rock Award in August, speaking to my peers at school during anti-bullying week, being invited to attend the Cardinals Care Grant Ceremony with the Megan Meier Foundation, and being featured in the On The Money STL Magazine in November (linked below). I have been working on so many new and exciting ideas that Bash Out Bullying has coming for 2016. Just to name a few; I am finalizing the Basher Pledge, starting a monthly conference call, and my planner is quickly filling up with speaking engagements! Thanks for your continued support and remember you can donate $1 for a B.O.B wristband! Make sure you are following us on all social media!

Facebook: Bash Out Bullying
Instagram: @bash_out_bullying_
Twitter: @bashoutbullying

On The Money STL Magazine: http://www.onthemoneystl.org/money-whisperer//e7cfd5laphnwjgviq2chtezs4olnxm

Meet Courtney On Megan Meier's Website: http://www.meganmeierfoundation.org/meet-courtney.html