WAVERLY- Coming next month, a local nonprofit ministry will be hosting a virtual event tackling the challenges of bullying in the classroom and beyond.

Behind the event is 2018 Eastern High School graduate Abriella Lykins, who will be among the speakers at the Change For Love event on Friday, Oct. 15.

In years past, Lykins said Change For Love has been promoting its message in-person but, due to COVID-19, they will be going virtual this year.

That message of drawing attention to bullying, suicide prevention, and mental health applies to all ages, she says.

“If you are going through hard times, you can overcome it and become a better version of yourself,” Lykins said, now a teacher at Pike Christian Academy Pre-School.

What makes this platform so essential, she says, is it allows anyone with a personal account with bullying to come forth and share. Many however do not share their experiences, despite more than 20% of students reporting being bullied according to 2019 research from the National Center for Educational Statistics.

Having been bullied, Lykins says sharing her experience has helped herself but also others. She believes it helps people realize they are not alone in their struggles.

“If I can touch one person with my story, then it’s an inspiration for other people to open up and tell their story,” she said.

Lykins started Change For Love while still in middle school and has previously hosted events such as “Share your Closet, Share your Heart” and several collections of school supplies.

The Change For Love event will take place live on their Facebook page between 6 and 8 p.m. on Oct. 15. Those with more questions or wishing to participate as a speaker can contact the ministry at their email Changeforlove14@gmail.com

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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