Good News Fridays: Jetset Getset / PACER Working To End Bullying


Geek Alabama Good News Fridays

Even though we are nearing the end of October, October is a very important month for some people who have gone through something that they wish other kids will never have to go through while in school.  October is National Bullying Prevention Month and PACER has developed the National Bullying Prevention Center which aims to raise the awareness of bullying and put an end to bullying once and for all.

Bullying is not only physical like punches or kicking.  Bullying can also occur via gossiping, name calling, leaving someone out on purpose, or even cyber-bullying.  A person being bullied does affect that person for the rest of their life.  Sadly, there have been many stories including some here in Alabama where teenagers have taken their own lives after being bullied.  Bullying is something that should not be tolerated in schools or anywhere else.  But it still happens today.  The country music band Jetset Getset has partnered with the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center to raise awareness of the bullying issue.

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The Jetset Getset song “Stronger” was made to raise awareness of bullying.  The song was written to help young people who are feeling discouraged.  The writer, Jennifer Eliason, shares, “The teenage years are a time when self-esteem can take a beating.  We wanted to write a song about how you can rise above the challenges and the experience can make you stronger.”  View the video below!

Did you know that a member of Jetset Getset was bullied while in school?  Tori Little knows what it’s like to be bullied while attending school.  I asked Tori a question about being bullied while in school and writing this song.  Here is her response.

“I was bullied in middle school and I had a really hard time with it.  I got beat up and was flipped out of my chair, and I was made fun of for the clothes I wore.  I really felt alone.  I wish the people I thought were my friends back then would have stood up for me.  My experience being bullied made me stronger because it made me more aware of bullying. If I see somebody else being bullied now, I can help stop it.”

“When Jennifer Eliason wrote the song stronger and I heard it for the first time, it meant so much to me. I know how it feels to be bullied but I also know that anyone can make it through being bullied.”

Question: What was it like to make the “Stronger” video?

“It was a lot fun making the ‘Stronger’ video.  We all made new friends and new fans while shooting it.  The video can inspire teens to stay strong and that there is a light at the end of tunnel.”

I then got to ask band member Avery Eliason about writing the song and the meaning behind “Stronger.”

“The song ‘Stronger’ explains that a person who has been bullied does not have to be defined by it; they can use their inner strength to rise above it, and actually end up a stronger person because of it.  It says ‘Though some people see coal, you are a diamond in the rough.’  My mom and brother wrote the song, and really, the message of the song is one my parents have always taught me– that everyone has inherent value, that trials can make you stronger, and to not let haters define who you are or bring you down.”

Question: What is your message to people who bully others?

“My message to bullies is this– treat others the way you want to be treated. If someone is different, treat that person with respect. They are somebody’s baby. And if you take the time to get to know them, it may make your life more interesting.”

I then got band member Sadie Loveland to talk about how to prevent bullying.

“Your words and actions should only lead to uplifting other people. It’s a chain reaction—if you’re nice to someone, they’re going to be nice to other people.”

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Julie Hertzog from PACER is excited to work with Jetset Getset to raise awareness and stop bullying.  I got a chance to ask about the PACER program, the song “Stronger”, and its mission to end bullying.

1.  Why did PACER choose this particular song?

The message of STRONGER is about resilience, which is very powerful
When peers deliver the bullying prevention message to others peers, it is very
influential.  The members of Jetset Getset seem very dedicated to making a difference.

2.  Why target adolescents as a population subject to bullying? 

Our work focuses on student to student bullying

3.  What messages does PACER hope to convey in using this video and song?

That you (as a young person) are not alone, that there are people who care what happens, and that there is hope.

4.  How does PACER promote anti-bullying and bullying prevention?

Founded in 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources. PACER’s bullying prevention resources are designed to benefit all students, including students with disabilities.

PACER offers digital-based resources for parents, schools, teens and youth,
including:

*   PACER.org/Bullying<http://www.pacer.org/bullying>: This is the portal page
for parents and educators to access bullying resources, which include
educational toolkits, awareness toolkits, contest ideas, promotional products
and more.
*   PACERTeensAgainstBullying<http://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org/>:
Created by and for teens, this website is a place for middle and high school
students to find ways to address bullying, to take action, to be heard, and to
own an important social cause.
*   PACERKidsAgainstBullying<http://www.pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/>: A
creative, innovative and educational website designed for elementary school
students to learn about bullying prevention, engage in activities and be
inspired to take action.

In addition, we provide peer to peer resources, such as STRONGER at
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/toolkits/student/jetset-getset.asp

5.  Who works with PACER in advocating these messages?

Community, donors, educators, parents and students – we have broad support that ranges from donations, to people sharing PACER resources, to individuals providing resources.

A couple of examples include:
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/partners/
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/getinvolved/contributions/

6.  Who works with PACER in advocating these messages?

Community, donors, educators, parents and students – we have broad support that ranges from donations, to people sharing PACER resources, to individuals
providing resources.

A couple of examples include:
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/partners/
http://www.pacer.org/bullying/getinvolved/contributions/

7.  What does PACER hope to achieve in the future?

To continue to raise awareness that bullying is an issue that affects everyone,
that everyone has a role to address it – and to also provide the education,
inspiration and support to take action.

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PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center will continue to work year around to raise the awareness of bullying.  Some people think bullying is something that can be prevented by defending yourself, but they are so wrong!  Bullying is a complex issue that can be solved quickly, if the parents, school officials, and the bully parents are made aware of the issue.  Everyone must work to end bullying for good!

Learn more about the PACER National Bullying Prevention Center at: www.PACER.org/bullying.  Follow the center on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/PACERsNationalBullyingPreventionCenter

Learn more about Jetset Getset at: http://www.jetsetgetset.com/  Follow them on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/JetSet-GetSet/125139917520682 and on Twitter @JetSetGetSet.

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The Evening Post: Seven Questions With Savana Wehunt


Geek Alabama Evening Post

Don’t know who Savana Wehunt is?  Savana is a zombie walker in seasons 2 and 3 of The Walking Dead on AMC.  She played the Governor’s daughter Penny in the mid-season finale of Season Three.  She also has been Chandler Riggs’ (Carl) stand in, photo double and stunt double.  She even taught Madison Lintz (Sophia) and helped her learn to be a zombie in her final scene.

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Savana Wehunt has played roles in many other TV shows like The Following, Teen Wolf, Necessary Roughness, and other shows.  She has also appeared in indie films like Night of the Living Dead, Zombie City, Level 7, and she has been cast in The Hunger Games Sequel: Catching Fire.

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I got a chance to do a great interview with Savana Wehunt during the Alabama Phoenix Festival.  Yes, Savana Wehunt attends school at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton which is a part of Geek Alabama territory.  I hope AMC and the producers of The Walking Dead will watch this video!  You should too, enjoy!

Like the Savana Wehunt Facebook fan page at: https://www.facebook.com/SavanaJadeWehuntFanPage

 

Seven Questions With Jeffrey Leachman


Geek Alabama 7 Questions

I did a special video edition of Seven Questions with a person I know in Anniston who is homeless.  Jeffrey Leachman has come to the Anniston area from the Atlanta Metro and he thought he would find work but so far he has not.  He has stayed with a group of friends who are also homeless in the Anniston Area.  They have spent their nights at empty buildings and behind fences.

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Now in this video below, Jeffrey Leachman explains his homeless problem while living in Anniston.  He also has a plea to city and regional leaders in Anniston to do something about the homeless problem.  As of this post, I have not heard from any city officials even though they said they would do something.  This is a video you must watch!

Seven Questions With Lesley Carter


Geek Alabama 7 Questions

My Destination is running a contest offering one lucky person an opportunity of a lifetime!  The contest is for a 6-month trip around the world with all-expenses paid.  The winner will get to experience and document their amazing trip around the world for everyone to see!  To learn more about the prize go to: http://www.mydestination.com/bbb#tab

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Lesley Carter from Bucket List Publications has lived her dreams of accomplishing bucket list items.  And yes, she has done just about everything you can think of.  When she heard of this contest, she decided to enter and has been at the top of the vote counts!  After the end of the contest on March 31st, the top five vote winners plus five people selected by judges will get a all-expenses paid trip to the U.K. where they will enjoy activities and meet the My Destination judges.

The winner will be announced on May 24th!  And the winner’s trip will be from June to December 2013.  Lesley Carter took some time to answer some questions about this contest.  To vote for her go to: http://www.mydestination.com/users/lesley/bbb#tab

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1. Why did you decide to start doing bucket list items? How did you start the blog?

When I was 10 years old, I created a list of things I wanted to do in my life.  It just kept getting bigger and bigger so I decided to create a yearly list.  It was as simple as that.  I loved the idea of writing it down and figuring out ways to accomplish things.  A couple of years ago, my husband and I were talking about if we could do any career what would it be and if we could live anywhere in the world where would it be.  With travel writing/blogging and California in my mind, we sold everything we owned, packed the car, and moved to California to continue our dream life.  I quit my permanent teaching position and started the blog.  I’ve been blogging ever since.

2. What has been your best bucket list experience? Your worst experience?

There are many answers to this questions depending on how you look at it.  Obviously, my best bucket list item would be having my daughter, but outside of family events and accomplishments, I’d say doing a press trip in Fiji.  In ten days, I was able to experience the food, culture, activities, environment, and people on a whole other level.  It was like the ultimate vacation on steroids.  I went white-water rafting, skydiving, hiking to waterfalls, dune buggy racing, jet boat riding, and surfing all in one trip.

As for a worst experience, I can’t say I have one.  Every item on my list is there for a reason.  Regardless if it was exactly as I expected, every event/item was an experience worth living.

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3. How will this trip around the world change your perspective on the world?

I’ve always loved learning about new countries, cultures, and experiences.  A trip around the world will give me first-hand knowledge and understanding of countries and cultures that I never dreamed of experiencing.

4. You talked about Fiji on your submission?  How did that change your views on life?

Fiji was my first official press trip. It made me realize that I’m capable of experiencing it all! With continued determination and hard work, I can continue experiencing new countries through blogging.

5. How do you plan to document your adventures during this amazing trip? What places do you want to visit the most?

I blog almost daily already so it won’t be much of a change for documentation.  I’ll continue to utilize all forms of social media including blogging, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube.  The countries I want to visit most are: Iceland, Russia, India, South Africa, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand, and Brazil.  I chose these countries because I haven’t seen them yet and they’ve been on my list for years but there are dozens more.

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6. Since you are a mother with Athena, did having her change anything about your life?

I still want to live a life without restrictions, one where I’m completely unrealistic with my dreams and goals, yet find a way to make them happen; I just have a sidekick to do them with me now.  She’s already been on countless planes and watched as her mother flew abiplane, a jet pack, a glider plane, and a helicopter.  She’s joined me on press trips and she has a smile on her face all the time.  She’s the perfect travel companion.  She’s given me more of a reason to strive for greatness and accomplish all of my dreams.

7. After you return from your amazing trip around the world.  Have you thought about what you are going to do with the $50,000 prize?

If I win, Athena will be traveling with me and I’ll pay for a friend to come as her nanny.  I’m certain this will eat most of the money.  Whatever is left will go into an account for Athena’s education.

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Thanks to Lesley Carter and Bucket List Publications for answering questions for Geek Alabama!  You have until Sunday March 31st to vote for Lesley Carter on the My Destination’s Biggest, Baddest Bucket List contest!  To vote for Lesley Carter go to: http://www.mydestination.com/users/lesley/bbb#tab

Learn more about Bucket List Publications at: http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/ and http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/

Seven Questions With Brant Locklier


Update:  This is the series of questions that I have sent out to the Anniston mayor candidates that I have been able to contact so far.

 

Today’s seven questions is with Brent Locklier.  Mr. Locklier is currently running for the mayor seat in Anniston Alabama.  Brent Locklier moved to the Anniston area from south Alabama and he is currently working at Tyler Union but has worked in China as president of Perdue Farms China.  Brent’s Family was involved in the 2007 Enterprise tornado.  His wife was in the destroyed elementary school.  And their daughter was in the band room at the high school that was destroyed.  They were all okay.  For more information on Brant Locklier for mayor go to: http://lock4mayor.com/

1.  With the extremely high crime rate in the City of Anniston. What are you willing to do to help lower crime in Anniston and to keep police from leaving Anniston?

We need to form a team to evaluate all aspects of the public safety employees and make sure we have the best facilities, equipment and pay in order to attract and keep the best people. Then we need to implement any changes needed.

I want to form a group of volunteers, called block mayors, to help the mayor keep up with crime, clean up of areas and other potential problems and needs. We as citizens, also, need to get involved and take back our neighborhoods and block mayors will help create awareness and trying to stop crime before it happens.

I also believe that as we revive the local downtown area and create jobs that crime will drop. With more activities going on downtown there will be more people there and less chance for crime. We have plans to help re-educate citizens and that will help reduce crime.

2.  What are your plans to help the Anniston City Schools from failing the kids? What are your plans to keep kids engaged outside of school?

We will gather the BOE, school officials, parents, council and put together what it will take to be the best school system possible. We will then take the best of everything we are currently doing to form a plan and then we will figure out where to get the funds from to help fund it.

I want to put together a city wide plan of increased recreational team activities in sports and use church leagues as the medium to build these leagues. Our kids and youth need easier access to sports facilities and I want to take part of my first year salary to help build a ball park downtown. Let’s build a few more basketball courts etc to increase access to these leagues. Then we need to have these activities year round in different sports to keep kids involved.

There are great people coaching teams and we must help them as a city to get kids off the street. Using churches to sponsor teams and helping the churches will help kids spiritually, physically and mentally.

3.  What are your plans to clean up corruption in city government? What are you willing to do to make the departments inside city government-run more efficiently?

I prefer not to call our city government corrupt as there are a lot of people doing a good job among our city employees. Our city leaders are not performing as they should be and those are the people that were elected by us in a small turn out in the last election.

I do believe that my experience with running budgets of $550 million in private industry for 30 years will enable me to set up accountabilities and measures to track our spending on a more timely basis and determine if we need it or not. The Anniston City budget is only $30 million and I can see the potential for $750,000 savings when I look at the current budget. Reviewing the numbers on a timely basis reduces the potential for corruptness and easily points out ways to be more efficient. My expertise is in turning around businesses.

Another step is to make accountabilities and goals more public, by posting on a web site will also reduce the chance for corruptness. We will do that in my administration. The more eyes the better control you have over the potential for corruptness.

4. What are your plans to recruit new jobs and businesses into Anniston? What are your ideas to transform the downtown area into a place people would want to visit?

The most important problem we have is that revenues have been falling by over $4 million in the last few years and if we do not figure out a way to get more revenues, we will not be able to fund any programs or address any problems we have.  We have been raising taxes and taking money out of reserves to fix the problem and that will never last for any long period of time. We have to change that now.

I propose to bring in revenues by making the downtown area as a key part of my revenue plan.

  1. We will gather all the best minds a put a strategic plan on the direction of our city.
  2. I want to create revenues for the city based off of this plan and will propose to take part of my first year salary to start the process of building a ball park downtown. We will then move  a few games being played outside the downtown area to downtown and thus have activities planned for many nights a week.
  3. Then we will put together a plan to have events in Anniston every weekend that we can  and fill up the calendar. These activities will be bike related, concerts, cultural and many other things that we are currently doing.
  4. We will put a brochure of the activities together to use to help draw people to Anniston and to also attract business to Anniston. We will market our city with these activities .
  5. We will develop some incentives in order to attract business and set goals on how to pretty up our city. Thus, we will using recreation, culture  and our ball park to get people downtown spending money.
  6. I will then bring my international business contacts to town to seek investment opportunities. McClellan will be a key part of that. I have some people that are interested in building an auto parts making plant.
  7. I will then seek to market Anniston products  in China with my many contacts over there. If we can sell our goods over there that will help revenues.
  8. I will seek to bring a Water Park to Anniston. There is an interest in this and my sources tell me that this has a great potential for bring jobs and people to Anniston.
  9. These revenue building projects will increase revenues and will bring jobs.
  10. Then we need to take the people and fully fund our Education plan and then fund programs for the Adults to be able to get a GED and learn a vocational skill. This will prepare our citizens for the jobs as they come to Anniston
  11. The Block Mayors I will create will help with city clean up and reduction of crime and the youth programs we will create can be fully funded and help improve the lives of  our young people and prepare them for better futures.

I would like to see the Ladiga Trail come on into town and nice little park with shops to greet riders. I would like more parks and trees downtown and a Civil rights plaza near the Trailways station. There are so many  opportunities and directions we can take.

5. How do you plan to bring the people of Anniston together? What are your plans to keep people and neighboring communities engaged and working together?

I have spent my whole business career turning businesses around and found that each person is of equal importance and bring something to the table. I have turned around companies in China by bringing people together. You treat people with respect and help them succeed then anything can be done. I will get many people involved in turning our city around. I will do what I can do to help each council member and each person be a success. I will work with other cities on ways to improve the quality of life.

I have been in this area for four years and believe that we should all work together for the betterment of our area. I have no past wounds with people to overcome and bring a fresh global prospective to leading Anniston into the future.

6. There are talks of transforming Anniston into a eco-tourism hotspot. What are your plans to promote biking, hiking, and other outdoor activities in Anniston?

See question four above as it is all part of the plan for increasing revenues by making our town a place where people will come.

7. What are your plans to help improve infrastructure in Anniston? What will you do to our streets to make pedestrians, cyclists, and other people safe?

I think we need to list all of our road needs and prioritize and start finding funds to fix the roads. I would like to see walking areas and places for bikes to be used around town. We would need to evaluate what we could do to improve the safety of bikers. That is going to be the focus of our Marketing plan for Anniston and we need to make sure that bikers are kept safe.

This where you can add any remarks and make a statement on why the citizens should vote for you on August 28th.

Citizens should vote for me for the following reasons. These are experiences that I feel have uniquely prepared me for the job of turning Anniston around.

  1. I have 30 years of managing budgets much larger than the City of Anniston.
  2. I have 30 years experience of managing much larger numbers of employees than the City of Anniston, up to 900.
  3. I have led 3 companies in turning around their businesses in the last 15 years and saved $27 million.
  4. I have assisted the states of Alabama, Virginia, Maryland and Nebraska in marketing products in China.
  5. I can bring international business to Anniston to help increase revenues.
  6. I will donate part of my first year salary to build a downtown ball park to help create revenues.
  7. I bring a fresh global approach to the city and have no special interests.
  8. I have used my campaign to help local charities raise money.
  9. I have 30 years of experience in bringing different groups of people together to be successful in business.

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