Bridging the Bay Conference | Not in Our Town

Bridging the Bay Conference

"I was a victim and a bully and I could have continued that cycle of violence, but I didn’t. I chose a different path."NIOS Director Becki Cohn-Vargas met teen Melvin Mendez when he contacted her for support around his senior project on bullying at Lighthouse Charter School in Oakland, CA. Over the course of the year, she and Melvin met many times as he planned an ambitious project to research bullying and then proceed to educate his teachers, along with fellow students and parents. She discovered later that she was the first person who heard his story of being bullied, one that not even his mother learned until recently. Now Melvin has begun to train fifth graders at his school. Melvin received a standing ovation when he delivered this speech to afterschool coordinators and teachers at the Bridging the Bay Conference in Oakland, CA on Feb. 2. NIOS table at the Bridging the Bay Conference in February. By Melvin Mendez