Throwback Thursday

#TBT: Bullying – The Visible vs the Invisible

I can hardly believe it has been 6 years since I started this blog.  For those of you who don’t know, it was started as a result of a challenge by Vanessa Coppes as a way to grow my business.

For those of you who have ever thought about blogging – do it!  It hasn’t just been good for my business but it has been good for my soul.  Sharing my strength, hope and experience with others has been amazing.  I’m not sure what the future holds for my when it comes to blogging since my MS plays havoc on processing thoughts BUT I will continue in some way!

So, as I celebrate heading into year number 7, here is a throwback to my very first post:

I wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

I was a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things I had when I was growing up and give my daughter, Belinda, more. Isn’t it every parent’s wish – to give their child more?  We lived in a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area with a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and affordable.  My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to change to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

It was then, the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker who loves working with troubled kids (she now works for the State helping disabled individuals). As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park which as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talked about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports.  Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came.  Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t head in that direction. 

Many believe if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community.  She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all I have both professionally and personally. 

I wanted to share this to let people know bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent and confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. 

I know this was a a LONG post but it will always be a part of my story.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Blogging

How It All Began

I has been 4 years… four years of blogging daily sharing my strengths, hopes and experiences.  Sometimes I wonder if I should continue.  Sometimes I wonder if anyone would notice.  Then I think back to what started it all and the response I got from the first post.

This is my first blog post from March, 2013.  Thank you Vanessa Coppes for encouraging me to not only share my story but to start writing again.  I know in my heart, I make a difference to at least one person each day with what I write.

I just wanted to share how “bullying” can be hidden by our children. It doesn’t mean you are a bad parent, it just means that you may have taught your child coping skills to help deal with the bullying from school mates. Bear with me as I share some background information..

As a single mom for 14 years who worked full-time trying to provide all of the things that I had when I was growing up and more for my daughter, Belinda. Isn’t that every parent’s wish – to give their child more? I moved to a double wide trailer in a trailer park in an area that had a good school district, lots of children my daughter’s age and it was affordable. My daughter was involved in a lot of activities outside of school – first competitive gymnastics, then field hockey then all-star cheering. This was my way of making sure Belinda stayed away from the “wrong crowd”. She went to public school until she was a Sophomore in HS when she asked to be changed to a private Christian school where our Pastor’s family taught and went to school. Her reasons made sense so we juggled the budget and Belinda graduated from Pilgrim Academy – smiling, happy, ready for college & still living in the trailer park. Belinda traveled 13 hours to go college – Western Carolina University. I was heart-broken that she was so far away but after the first semester, she excelled – graduated with honors in the Honors College program.

Here is when the “clueless mom” found out what had really been happening…My daughter is a social worker that loves working with troubled kids. As she was preparing her applications for grad school for her Masters in Macro-Social Work, she had to write some essays as to why she felt she would belonged in this field. Since I am a grant-writer, she asked me to review her essays (like she usually did) to check grammar, etc. This is when I found out the “horror” of my daughter’s school years….

Belinda recounts many tales of verbal abuse from school mates because we lived in a trailer park that as the years passed became like the “projects” of the Township. She only invited her closest friends back to our house for sleep overs, parties, etc. I never really thought about it since I was working, juggling her activities and making sure that her homework was done. The truth was very few parents wanted their children to come over because of where we lived – not necessarily our home but the neighborhood. Belinda talks about how people used to call her “trailer trash”. The outside sports activities along with my example of what a strong woman could do is what she attributes to her success. Some called her a “snob” because she was involved in outside sports. Then when she became active in church, more verbal abuse came. Some of her friends from the trailer park fell into the lives that people expected – sexually active, lots of unsupervised parties, drugs, alcohol and more. I was blessed, Belinda didn’t do any of that.

Many believe that if I was clueless about the verbal abuse, I would be clueless about everything else…My daughter and I had and still have an amazing relationship. When I asked her why she never told me, her response “I didn’t want to hurt you because I knew you were doing the best you could. The material things didn’t matter because you were always there for me”. My daughter has amazing attributes – self confidence, speaks her mind (sometimes without tack) and is forever looking to help the underserved youth in her community. She tells me on a regular basis how she hopes to accomplish all that I have both professionally and personally.

I wanted to share this to let people know that bullying isn’t always visible, it can happen to any child. As I travel back to our old hometown, I look around and ask my husband – was I that “clueless” about what life was like. His response is always the same – “You did what you had to do to make sure that Belinda had everything she needed even if it wasn’t always what she wanted. As a result, she is a bright, intelligent & confident woman who wants to take on the world to make it a better place”.

Since signing up to be a part of the Family Wellness & Beauty Day for Kickin’ It Kids AntiBullying, God has pressed on my heart to share this story. This is an amazing cause and I truly believe that children who are visibly and “in’visibly” bullied can benefit from this type of program.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

Hope Wissel

AntiBullying – Support a GREAT Cause

Looking for something to do TODAY on what is supposed to be a nice Saturday afternoon.  Come check out the Family Fun Day for theNEW AntiBullying and Leadership Center being held at Park 33 in Freehold.  The venue was changed due to the overwhelming support that this event has gotten from vendors, businesses and the community.

Anti-Bullying has become a cause near and dear to my heart after learning that my daughter, Belinda, was a victim of bullying when she attended public high school several years ago.  Hers was a positive outcome and I attribute a lot of it to to the various sports activities that she was involved with OUTSIDE of school.  

I will be partying Thirty One style with 20% of all orders taken being donated to this AMAZING non-profit organization.  Stop by the table and you will also have a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to purchase your Thirty One favorites.  There are over 25 vendors who will be joined by celebrity supporters like:

*Rocky MARCIANO JR *Boxing Champ Ray MERCER *UFC Legend Dan SEVERN *Broadcaster/MMA Journalist Mike STRAKA *Bellators’ Phillipe NOVER *NJ State Athletic Commissioner Chief Counsel Nick LEMBO *Actor Josh FLITTER *Actor Jose HERNANDEZ Jr *Handicapped Heroes Wrestlers Zach GOWEN & Greg IRON *Actress/Entertainment Reporter Chelsea LINDER *Miss Teen NJ 2010 Erica SYZMANSKI *Miss National Sweetheart 2012 Courtney BAXTER *MS NY United States 2012 Jeannette JOSUE *Miss NY 2011 Kaitlin MONTE and many more

For those of us who grew up thinking that bullies were the BIG kids on the block that beat kids up – they were the easy ones to spot.  The bullies today are so different and the victims range from our children in the community to adults in the workplace.  

Check out my very first blog – Bullying: the Visible and the Invisible to read our bullying story.  Stop by the table and say hello.  Come out and support a great cause.  Can’t join the fun but would like to place an order to support Kickin’ It – go to my Thirty One website under parties and shop for “Kickin It Kids Anti-Bullying Grand Opening”.  Orders can be placed until Sunday, May 19th at 10pm.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day.


Hope Wissel

More Thoughts on Bullying

Last night while I was at my part-time job, I overhead a co-worker telling the story of an incident that happened in her daughter’s pre-school.  Yes, I said PRE-SCHOOL.

It seems that her daughter has a favorite pair of boots, they are pink and she wears them a lot as well as a favorite blanket that she likes to take when she naps.  One of the boys at the school teases her, calls her names and torment her by trying to take her blanket.  When she cried, she was told to just “ignore him”.  I listened to the mom talk about how she didn’t want to cause a problem at the school or with the other child’s parents since it was just pre-school.  She did talk to her daughter about how children can be mean at which point a child’s favorite question “why?”.  On the surface or in the past, as parents and/ or teachers, we would just brush it aside and say “kids will be kids” but this is bullying.  

I think back to a time in my life when my family moved from the first home I grew up in to a “new” bigger home.  I think I was in 5th grade, and I definitely did not want to move. I remember going on vacation with my grandparents and returning to a new home with new bedroom furniture – all kind of exciting. Then I had to go to school!  UGH!  A new neighborhood but the same school district.  Different bus, new kids a lot of whom were the “popular” kids or the “nerds”.  I never really felt like I fit in.  The popular kids were mean – visions of the movie “Mean Girls” comes to mind.  I made friends with one girl in the neighborhood but all of my other friends were in other parts of the township.  As I think back, I was bullied – made to feel like I didn’t belong, not invited to many of the parties in the neighborhood and just a general lack of confidence developed in me that has haunted me for years especially when needing to step out of my comfort zone.  A desire “to be liked” set in and created years of turmoil.  Did I think I was being bullied?  NO!  Did I tell anyone?  NO!  On the surface I was a normal child but on the inside there were many ghosts.

I share all of this because “bullying” comes in many forms and effects everyone differently.  For some, it creates low self-esteem or the need to be accepted.  For others, they withdraw and become depressed.  While for others, they hide their feelings and learn to cope with the bully and the situation.  Maybe if we started talking to our children when they are younger (pre-school age) about being nice to one another – you know “treat others like you would want to be treated”  we could effect a positive change in the lives of our children.

Check out We’re Kickin’ It – AntiBullying Program.  Kickin’ It® is created to empower & inspire childrens’ creativity, imagination, self expression, passion, dreams and aspirations, positively impacting them to overcome negative obstacles that would inhibit them from developing into strong, independent, healthy functioning members of society.   

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!


Hope Wissel

Girl Talk

No, we are not going to “dish” about friends or family… what I want to share about is another GREAT program that is attacking “bullying” in a unique way…..

Girl Talk is an international non-profit program with a very simple premise..high school girls mentor middle school girls to help them deal with the triumphs and trails of the early teenage years.  I first found out about this program at our National Conference last year when they were presented with a check to help with their efforts.  In February of this year, they became a National partner with Thirty One and part of the Thirty One Gives Foundation.  As a result, they received an additional $50,000 to help them in growing from their current 43 States with programs to all 50 States.  

Girl Talk’s mission is to help young teenage girls build self-esteem, develop leadership skills and recognize the value of community service. Since 2002, the organization has served more than 40,000 girls in 43 states and 7 countries. Girl Talk’s program is twofold: high school leaders have the opportunity to share their experiences as positive role models. And middle school girls have the chance to learn that they are not alone in the issue they face and that understanding, kindness and compassion can be the foundation for better relationships with others. Research consistently reveals that grades 5-8 are the most formative years of a young person’s life. We believe that the lessons learned in Girl Talk contribute to girls becoming more confident, service-minded women with better relationships. Girl Talk also helps women become stronger leaders in the work place and more effective as parents.  I found only one chapter in my immediate area of Girl Talk – Toms River East.  

Bullying comes in many forms – visible and invisible.  Those who are bullied are not just from low income or single parent households – they come from all walks of life, even adults in the workplace.  Your support of these programs is vital to the development of our future generations….   

Check out these anti-bullying programs: Girl Talk  ; Kickin’ It, and Ringside Resue.  You can hear all about Kickin’ It at the Family Wellness and Beauty Day hosted by Entrepreneurial Think Tank for Moms on April 13th.  Tickets are still available with all proceeds going to Kickin’ It.