PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Once a month, students at Parkrose High School meet at least once a month at Elevate Oregon, a non-profit local mentoring program, to talk about issues they face.
This month, the discussion revolved around bullying, in recognition of October being National Bullying Prevention Month. These days, bullying can come in many forms, including online and in person. At Elevate Oregon, Donell Morgan is helping students understand bullying and the effect it has on themselves and others.
“We try to take a leadership group of kids and really discuss it,” Morgan said, “(Really) get your feelings on the table, and as each one of those kids come through they’ll have 2 or 3 friends and it starts to permeate through the group that, ‘Hey, let’s change this and really have more discussion on it.’ Just bring more awareness to it — that’s the biggest thing.”
Morgan also mentors on the basketball court, where he coaches players like freshman Damontae Burns, who also attends the Elevate Oregon meetings.
“In high school it’s a lot of ups and downs with grades and a lot of stuff going on,” Burns said. “Helps you stay on track. And coach Donnell and everybody from Elevate are really helpful make sure my grades are always in check.”
Part of fighting bullying is ensuring that people feel comfortable. Elevate Oregon’s cause for awareness is something Burn Cycle, a local cycling studio, also identifies with. So much so that they’ve joined Elevate Oregon in raising bullying awareness.
“When we opened Burn Cycle, the vision was to yes, create a space for a great workout, but also create a community where people could come and feel supported and encouraged, it’s very much in line with the ethos of our brand and our community.”
This month, Burn Cycle is asking people to sign an anti-bullying pledge, which as of Wednesday night had gathered over 770 signatures. They’re also selling apparel with messages like “Actually I can” and “Can’t stop won’t stop,” with all proceeds going to Elevate Oregon.
“Elevate Oregon is there, building relationships with kids. They’re promoting things like leadership, self- reliance, education — they’re paving the way for the “Actually I can” moments.”