So, what do a bunch of pretty, talented girls know about bullying? A lot more than you would think.
Kaylin Roberson was attacked by a dog at the age of nine. She had multiple facial reconstructive surgeries and still has visible scarring. As a result, Kaylin experienced name calling and ridicule which severely undermined her self-esteem. Music became her refuge.
Now, Kaylin and other talented singers from North Carolina are participating in the One Voice Project with teens from across the country. The goal of the project's national anti-bullying tour is for young artists to reach out to students and let them know they are special and unique, and to give them the confidence and strength to overcome adversity in their young lives.
Friday, Brooke Hatala, 14, of Cary, Caroline Dare, 15, of Greenville and Kaylin, 17, of Raleigh took the gift of music to West Lake Middle School to share their stories and their message of hope. They were greeted by a wildly enthusiastic audience.
"By getting involved in positive activities like this where you can discover your inner strength instead of focusing on other people's weaknesses, I feel like I can make a difference," Brooke says. "I feel that the bully is usually someone with very low self-esteem. He or she sees other people's flaws and makes a good target for their aggressions."
Brooke, who is new to the project, was incredibly moved by the students she met on Friday who let her know after the concert what a difference she had made to them. At her very young age, she is already writing, recording and performing her own songs. She believes that music is a powerful tool to reach people in an emotional way and helps them get through tough times.
"All kids love music," Kaylin says. "They relate to the messages in our songs. I think watching their peers perform on stage singing to them, followed by our positive message, helps let them know they aren't alone, that we've all been in their shoes, that we are still cool (despite having been bullied) and we hope it makes a difference in at least one life. Music is a universal language."
Kaylin has already done several tours with the One Voice Project in Raleigh, San Antonio and Myrtle Beach.
"Stand strong, strive to survive," is Kaylin's motto in the face of bullying.
Caroline says she has been picked on, labeled and left out many times in her school years. She believes she can use her music to help encourage others to give them the courage to stand up for themselves.
"I want my lyrics to inspire others and to make them happy," Caroline says. "Music is very therapeutic. Music can bring people together. If you want to get involved, spread positive vibes and happiness to everyone around you. Be kind and stand up for yourself, as well as others."
And the beat goes on…
Brooke says she is still getting messages of thanks on social media from the students she met Friday. Whether or not any of these girls go on to have successful music careers, and they appear to be well on their way, they are already a success in the most important arena in life - helping others.
Listen to the song Brooke and Kaylin performed as part of the program.
Amanda is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including some on motherhood. Find her here on Mondays.