Bullying, whether in school or outside, is a problem, causing psychological and physical harm to the victims. According to stopbullying.gov, 20% of students aged 12 to 18 have experienced bullying nationwide. Of those students, they also thought that their aggressor had the ability to influence other students to join in the bullying, exacerbating the situation.
Locally, the Long Island Coalition Against Bullying (LICAB) fights bullying through education, increased awareness and therapeutic outlets. They are a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that offers a variety of programs and services such as subsidized therapy, school assistance programs, care packages, and youth leadership programs.
Recently, the LICAB joined up with Long Island tie-dye company, To Tie-Dye for Clothing, in a fund-raising collaboration for National Bullying Prevention Month this October.
The collaboration consists of a blue tie-dyed shirt, representing the color of bullying prevention awareness, with the quote: “In a world where you can be anything, be kind.”
The 27-year-old founder and owner of To Tie-Dye for Clothing, Marion Schwaner, thought of the idea after being the target of a bullying incident earlier this summer.
He said that speaking up and telling people about what he went through will help bring more recognition to community leaders and officials about the issue.
“My experience has made me realize how widespread bullying really is and the damages it could bring to someone's life and the lives of their loved ones,” said Schwaner.
He hopes to turn words into actions to prevent the same thing from happening again in the future.
The shirt will be available for purchase on To Tie-Dye for Clothing’s website in either short sleeve ($30.00 each) or long sleeve ($40.00 each). A portion of the proceeds will go directly to LICAB.
Joe Salamone, Executive Director of LICAB said they were excited about the venture.
“People of all ages, genders, backgrounds and creeds are susceptible to bullying,” said Salamone.
Salamone was inspired to launch the non-profit organization in 2013 after witnessing a person with a disability and his family be bullied by visitors in an emergency room. Reminded of his own experience as a victim of bullying, he was spurred to action.
“Our organization is founded on the idea that it only takes one person to change – or save – a life. Considering the rough year we’ve endured and an uncertain future, it’s more important than ever to put positivity and kindness into the universe. The shirt we’ve created with To Tie-Dye for Clothing is a reminder of that.”