WASHINGTON — Alasia Smith was bullied by a girl she thought was a friend. Jordan Anderson was the victim of a stepfather’s violence.
The two Las Vegas students from Canarelli Middle School wrote about their experiences and what lessons they learned from them. Their essays brought them to the nation’s capital this week as Nevada’s representatives to a conference sponsored by the National Campaign to Stop Violence.
Alasia, who turns 13 at the end of July, said it was difficult to put on paper an experience that shocked and confused her. “Why did I have to be the one bullied straight for a whole month? Why do I have to go to sleep crying?” she wrote.
She decided it was important to let young people know they need to stand up for themselves, and for others.
“I wanted to make a difference,” said Alasia, who likes to sing and sees herself as a performer when she grows up. “Youth violence is hurting people and making people harm themselves. I just wanted to spread the word of standing up and helping.”
Jordan, 13, has vivid memories of a stepfather who roughed him up and beat his mother. “From 6 to 12, my life has been about violence,” he wrote.
His purpose in writing about it was to send a hopeful message to other kids suffering through similar home lives. He recently was adopted by a new family and is enjoying Boy Scouts and cooking.
“I just got used to the fact that it is history now,” Jordan said. “It already happened and now I’m just trying to get to the future.”
Contact Stephens Washington Bureau Chief Steve Tetreault at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-783-1760. Follow him on Twitter @STetreaultDC.