HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Kaitlyn Isherwood wants to make sure what happened to her doesn’t happen to anyone else. That’s why she joined Rachel’s Challenge at her school.
“In middle school, I was cyberbullied,” said the sophomore at Lake Norman Charter High School in Huntersville. "They'd make me feel bad and look bad, but I knew they were untrue but nobody else knew they weren't true.”
As part of the Friends of Rachel club, one of the projects they’ve started this year is putting together goodie bags that were given to freshmen and will be given to new students, too.
Each one is filled with seemingly random things like a piece of chocolate, a cotton ball or a piece of gum, but they have a special meaning.
"A stick of gum so we stick together as a school,” said Allie Marinello, a junior.
"There's a penny like your thoughts matter. We're here to hear,” said Isherwood.
It’s a simple way to tackle what some may consider to be a complicated problem that could end in bullying.
"People don't understand what's going on in someone's life. They don't know what can put them over the edge," said Marinello.
That’s where Rachel’s Challenge comes in, teaching the importance of kindness and compassion. With more cases of bullying making national headlines and far too often leading to suicide, students say something needs to be done.
“I think it's very harsh and cruel and it can hurt people in so many ways," added Marinello.
Isherwood said it was painful for her, but she got the help she needed and she learned a lesson along the way.
"What people can be like in the real world, it can be brutal,” she said. “I learned that early. So, now I know."