Today we share with you one of our newest supporters, Katie, a 13-year-old from Glencoe, IL. We are so grateful to those who feel compelled to look behind the camera and support our work. We invite you to join Katie and donate to Not In Our Town.
Stories can move us into action. For 13-year-old Katie of Glencoe, IL, it was the story of a boy her age, Ryan, who committed suicide after being ridiculed and humiliated at school and online. Katie was so moved by Ryan's story that she dedicated her mitzvah project to the effort, raising funds for Not In Our Town.
The bat or bar mitzvah is a rite of passage for Jewish 13-year-olds that not only teach them how to read from the Torah but stresses “mitzvah,” or performing acts of kindness.
When looking for anti-bullying organizations she could devote her energies toward, she discovered Not In Our Town. Katie decided to put her jewelry-making skills to help raise charitable funds.
“I put a lot of hard work into it. I informed all of my friends, family friends and friends of friends,” she said. “I was really surprised how supportive they were.”
In all, she hand made 50 bracelets, a sign for wares that read “Help K8 Stop H8” and cards that would accompany each bracelet. The cards read:
Not In Our Town, a Bullying Prevention Organization
Friendships are very important to me. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect and equality and so I thank you for helping me support a cause that I strongly believe in!”
“I thought that whole experience was great,” she said. “I think I’m going to continue to do it, not just for my mitzvah project, but because I loved it so much. It makes me feel really good.”
“She sold out,” Katie’s mother, Julie said. “There were no bracelets left!”
Julie said her daughter learned a lot about running a business through her mitzvah project. Entrepreneurial endeavors run in the family: Julie runs an accessories business, CuffLuv. Katie set up a table at the summer sidewalk sale.
In January, Not In Our Town received a check for $600 from Katie. She continues to sell her bracelets at a local yoga studio and on her website, helpk8stop8.com.
For Julie, Katie’s desire to help others far precedes her mitzvah project. In her first year in school, she witnessed a classmate being teased on the school bus.
“She came home in tears. She said, ‘Mom, what can we do?’ So we organized a little rally in our basement. Early on, she was an activist.”
Katie donated to stop hate, will you? Support Not In Our Town today.
Learn more about Not In Our Town's anti-bullying efforts at Not In Our School.