Courtney has now brought awareness to bullying on various spectrums. Bullying doesn’t just have one face. What Courtney experienced in her testimony was social bullying. Courtney describes this as, 'relational bullying' which involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Examples are: leaving someone out on purpose, telling other children not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public. "My biggest challenge is that teenagers don't outwardly support my mission, people text me directly or inbox or direct message me rather than show support via socialmedia. I want them to know it doesn't make you look weak or less popular for supporting a good cause," says Courtney. We all may have easily experienced some sort of bullying directly or indirectly. Though how we allow it to affect us is what is key.
"I was bullied for over three years. I've experienced cyber bulling, social bullying and I went through a very serious bullying incident, where I was told to 'go kill myself' via Twitter."
-Courtney Jay Harris
Courtney is now bringing awareness to not only social bullying but issues such as cyber bullying, homelessness, child abuse, depression and mental health. We asked her a few questions how she got Bash Out Bullying established and funded.
How do you fund Bash Out Bullying?
I use money from my part time job to pay for t-shirts, candy for the goody bags that I pass out, and flyers. My mom also helps out a lot too. My organization's name is registered with the state of Missouri, but I'm still working on saving my money to become a non profit which is around $700. My mother said she will give me half, so I've been saving my money from work, sales from B.O.B., my t-shirts, and donations from my speaking engagements. I also receive donations from people who just believe in my mission. [Also] my mother went to a workshop at SCORE, an organization that offers free business counseling. The seminar [she attended] was about how to become a non-profit organization.
What financial tips do you have for other teens who want to start their own organization?
Have a goal of how much money you want to save and also a date that you would like to have it, this helps you stay on track. Also consider the costs associated with starting your own organization. Consider paying for literature to promote [your business] such as flyers and business cards. Even [document how much] gas is used to travel to various venues. I document everything. Save money from [your] part time job, birthday and Christmas gifts. [Lastly, host a] fundraiser. For example, I sell Bash Out Bullying t-shirts. I don't charge for speaking engagements, but a lot of the organizations make a donation.
Where do you see Bash Out Bullying in the future?
My goal is [for Bash Out Bullying] become a non profit by spring 2016. I want B.O.B. to be a nationally recognized organization like, the Megan Meier Foundation and Keshia Knight Pulliam's Kamp Kizzy. I want to make a huge impact in regards to bullying, whether it's helping the bullied, the bully, or the bystander. I have so many people that have told me they have experience "bullying", whether they were the bullied, the bystander, or even the bully. Bullying is a huge epidemic that goes under the radar and I want to help get the information out!
Want to be a part of that change? Bash Out Bullying now via: bashoutbullying.blogspot.com, facebook.com/bashoutbullying, and twitter.com/bashoutbullying