“Awareness for bullying is such a hot issue right now,” Sievers said. “I want to get the message out there that we need to care for one another and start doing a better job of (that).”
Bridgeview’s continued effort in anti-bullying in schools is one reason why Walton actively sought out its support for the walk and her ensuing decision to donate all the proceeds to their school-based services.
The center currently offers counseling to students in every public school district in Clinton County, sending therapists to talk to students who feel they have no one else.
Jocelyn Meyer, a youth educator at Bridgeview, leads those efforts and is thankful for what Walton and others like her are doing.
“The glow walk is donating all of the money they raise to to offset costs of bullying prevention and suicide prevention,” Meyer said. “Their support helps to keep these school-based services functioning.”
Although there is no direct connection between bullying and suicide, Meyer and Sievers both recognize that bullying does cause issues of self-esteem and feeds into the overall mental health of a person.
“We cannot say that bullying causes suicide because it is just not (medically) supported,” Meyer said. “But I can say that 90 percent of suicide victims had a mental illness at the time of their suicide.”
Which is one of the reasons why Walton and her team have organized the glow walk: To raise awareness for an issue that too many young people suffer from.
“I just want to make a difference,” Walton said. “This is to help our kids, in our community.”