continued Tips to combat bullying is another issue Rhodes tackles during presentations. She said she uses “children’s lingo” to address bullying and things like the “no snitching rule.” She tells kids that they have a voice, so use it.
“You have to speak up. You’ll be a better and bigger person for standing up,” said Rhodes. “I try to express to look more at the long term.”
She also encourages students to find a dream and focus their energy on reaching it.
“Whatever their goals are, you need to find it. If you’re not getting the support at home … do something to find the inner strength to succeed,” said Rhodes. “You can be anything you want to be.”
Tyler knew a little something about dreams. She said before his death at 17, he had plans to go to Hudson Valley Community College for two years and then move on to SUNY Albany to get a degree in psychology.
“He was always there for his friends. … He just had those ways and words about him,” said Rhodes.
If her story touches just one student, one teenager or one parent, Rhodes said she’s done her job.
“If I can change one child’s life, if one child’s listening, then I’ve done my part,” said Rhodes.
Sand Creek Middle School is located at 329 Sand Creek Road in Albany. Other schools or organizations interested in having Rhodes visit can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.