DETROIT - A Metro Detroit business has launched a campaign to help children deal with bullying.
The Choose Friendship Company created the My Friendship Bracelet Maker that helps kids make their friendship bracelets. The company knows it targets a young audience which is why it's launched an anti-bullying campaign to teach kids to choose friendship and reject bullying.
"I know how important it is to encourage the kids to really choose friendship and bullying is so bad right now," said Julie Crorey from the Choose Friendship Company.
Her father, David Crorey created the bracelet maker.
The Choose Friendship Company teamed up with Mad Habit Media to write a song and produce a music video that helps combat bullying.
Marisa Nahas, 14, is a local entertainer. She wrote the song "Inside Out" with her parents.
"When you're being bullied, it's important to remember that you're not the problem; they are," said Nahas.
Her father is co owner of Mad Habit Media.
"We came up with the idea of, the theme of what is on the inside not what is on the outside," said Tom Nahas.
His daughter and about 100 kids filmed the music video for the song at Dakota High School.
"What we are really trying to do is tell those people who aren't bullied to reach out to those who are and kind of include them, and make them feel good about themselves," said Nahas.
A recent Centers for Disease Control study suggests about 27 per cent of middle school students and 15 per cent of high school students are bullied.
"They called me all different names and made me cry every day," said Alexis Stillwell at the beginning of the video.
The 14-year-old has dealt with bullying a long time.
"I've been bullied since kindergarten," said Stillwell.
She remembers one incident in particular that was happening up until just recently.
"She called me all different names, like fat, and I felt like I was worthless, but then I finally stood up to her."
Stillwell stood up to her bully just a few weeks ago.
"It feels like you want to cry inside and it just makes you kind of feel like down," said Stillwell.
The friendship bracelets are featured in the music video as students step in to help other students who are being bullied.
"There's so many, the bullies out there, and then there's the kids that are the victims. but who we are really trying to talk to is the larger group of kids that are just the witnesses," said Crorey.
Both the Choose Friendship Company and Mad Habit Media want the message out that the witnesses have power.
"The ones that are just witnessing this everyday, they have the choice to do something about it," said Tom Nahas.
Stillwell said kids need to stand up against bullying, no matter what the situation.
"If you don't want to be friends, just feel good that you stood up for somebody and it makes them feel better about themselves," said Stillwell.
Brendan Ryan plays a student who is bullied in the video. He said being bullied has motivated him.
"It wasn't a good time, but I held my head up high and I got through it," said Ryan. "I know that its inspired me, because now, every time I see someone who is in need of a friend, I think, 'Wow, you got to choose your friendship inside out.' And so I try to help them and be friendly."
The kids in the music video now sport blue friendship bracelets with the word "fab" on them. It stands for friends against bullying.
"They're friendship bracelets so that's kind of the point. you know, choose friendship, and this kind of symbolizes that," said Nahas.
The kids in the music video are proud of the song and feel it will help others.
"When you go anywhere with a bunch of kids, you do see bullying and it's just important for you to just step up and just say, that's not cool," said 13-year-old Harper Hodgson.
The song "Inside Out" is available on iTunes and other music stores.
The companies said proceeds from the sale of the song will go to an anti-bullying non profit. They also plan to sell the t-shirts the kids are wearing in the video.
To see the video and the T-shirts, click here.
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