Youth Ambassadors

Youth Ambassadors

Program Overview

Students who join the Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors program participate in the following ways:

  • Gather virtually every month to build community, develop new skills, and learn about a variety of issues related to bullying and cyberbullying. Students also gain perspective by learning about the experiences of a diverse group of peers.
  • Promote Upstander behavior, kindness, and inclusion in their community by implementing Tyler Clementi Foundation’s Upstander pledge and #Day 1 program.
  • Meet individually every month with Tyler Clementi Foundation staff for advising, coaching, and support related to their anti-bullying projects. 
  • Learn from the experiences of current and former Youth Ambassadors.
  • Develop a portfolio of anti-bullying milestones and accomplishments. 

Learning Experience

Students who join the Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors have opportunities to learn and discuss the following topics:

  • Anti-bullying 101, best practices for preventing, interrupting, and reporting bullying behaviors, and tools for promoting Upstander behavior;
  • Tyler’s story and the history of the Tyler Clementi Foundation;
  • Strategies for creating a more positive school culture;
  • Promoting acceptance and inclusion among their peers;
  • Youth organizing tactics for policy change;
  • Effective communication and public speaking;
  • Safe and productive social-media use; 
  • Coordinating transformative events for education, raising awareness, fundraising, and community building. 
  • The basics of starting a student organization and mobilizing students to volunteer; 
  • Addressing implicit bias and discrimination;
  • Awareness of issues related to systemic inequality; 
  • Mental health as it relates to individuals’ experiences with bullying;
  • Writing and teaching lesson plans that address bullying and group dynamics;
  • Creating and publishing anti-bullying digital content including audio, video, and writing. 

How to Apply

At the Tyler Clementi Foundation, we believe that achieving our goal of ending bullying in schools should be led by ambitious, talented, and compassionate youth across the country. We welcome applications from High School and College-aged youth (13-20) who are interested in volunteering their time to coordinate anti-bullying projects in their community. International students are welcome to apply, however, they are required to attend evening meetings held between 5-7 pm EST. 

The application window for the fall cohort is August 1 – August 31 and March 1 – March 31 for the spring cohort. The fall program runs from September to July and the spring program runs from April to February. In order to participate, applicants must sign and return a consent form along with a recent photo of themselves. Participation requires an internet connection and computer with video conference capabilities or a mobile phone. In order to be considered for Youth Ambassadors, applicants must be enrolled as a student at the high school or college level. Tyler Clementi Foundation is not currently accepting applications for its Youth Ambassadors program. We expect to begin accepting applications again in August 2021. Please email Program Manager Ryan Smith (Ryan@tylerclementi.org) to be notified when the application becomes available once again.

Spring 2021 Cohort 

These dedicated students will be volunteering their time as Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors from April 2021 – February 2022 to plan anti-bullying projects in their communities. Learn more about Annabelle, Aya, Caelyn, Caroline, Dylan, Eman, Emma, Gabrielle, Jaylyn, Jeff, Joel, Justin, Karley, Lindsay, Maddie, Maya, Paloma, Rakshit, Sara, Sean, Yema, and Zoey.

Annabelle Bagdon

YA - Annabelle

Annabelle Bagdon became a youth ambassador because she believes that change starts with one person. Her friends describe her as a friendly, outgoing person who is always there for the people in need. As a YA, she believes that working toward the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s goal of ending bullying will bring about positive change in her community. Annabelle is active in both the performing arts and visual arts including digital design, drawing, and painting. She is eager to increase her own understanding of topics such as social justice and environmental issues and hopes that her life experiences will allow her to be an advocate for those in need.

Aya Moughni
Aya M.

Aya Moughni is an Arab-American student from Dearborn, Michigan. She enjoys being involved in her community and participating in athletic activities including soccer, basketball, volleyball, and track. Aya plans to pursue one of these sports in college and at the professional level. 

She is a member of several school and community organizations. Her favorite subject is Algebra but she enjoys Biology as well. Aya has two brothers, one sister, a mom, and a dad. She is the youngest in her family.  In her first year as a Youth Ambassador, Aya is excited to meet others with similar interests, personalities, and goals. The Tyler Clementi Foundation caught her eye because she stands up to bullying as an Upstander and leader in sports, school, and clubs. Through this program, Aya believes that she can have a vast impact on her community.

Caelyn Osbern

Caelyn Osbern has been a performer since she was two when she discovered her love for singing, and along the way, also discovered her love for acting and dancing as well. She describes herself as a raging feminist and black lives matter enthusiast. She does Leman Mainstage (the musical) as well as The One-Act Play every year. Although she wants to be a Broadway and film star, she’d love to study law and psychology as well, because she is a politically active person and she also considers herself the therapist friend. She was baptized at Middle Collegiate Church, a progressive church where she sings in the chorus, which never fails to make her feel welcome. She wanted to become a Youth Ambassador because she wanted to uplift and help people (especially kids) to become their best selves after being bullied, and also to help others be Upstanders who prevent and interrupt bullying.

Caroline Esquivel

Caroline YA

Caroline Esquivel attends West Hall High School in Oakwood, Georgia. She participates in dance, jazz, tap ballet, acrobatics, and baton, and cross country. In her free time, Caroline enjoys sculpting, cooking, baking, making jewelry, and hanging out with friends. One of Caroline’s aspirations is to become a graphic designer. She joined Youth Ambassadors in order to make her community a kinder, more accepting place. She plans to do this by raising awareness for the harmful effects of bullying and encouraging her peers to be Upstanders.

Dylan Fetterman

Dylan F YA

Dylan Fetterman is a freshman at North Broward Preparatory High School in Florida. He is very passionate about inclusion and diversity and believes in listening to other’s unique and diverse perspectives, while also standing up for those who don’t have a voice. This is Dylan’s first year as a Youth Ambassador and he is excited to learn more about leadership and being an advocate for others. Dylan wanted to be a part of the Tyler Clementi Foundation because he wants to make a difference in his community and decrease the rate of bullying. Serving as a Youth Ambassador, he plans to use his voice to make a positive impact on his community.

Eman Sedqi

Eman YA

Eman Sedqi is a Yemeni-Turkish student who was born and raised in Dubai and moved to the USA with her family to pursue a better education. Having such a diverse background, and living in a very diverse country-Dubai-has reflected a lot on her personality and character. She is also the oldest sister in the family, meaning that she is responsible for her siblings. Despite her diverse background, she was never a bully and has never been bullied, however, she believes that a person doesn’t have to experience bullying in order to be an Upstander. An example of this happened when Eman interrupted a bullying scenario in order to stand up for a friend. Since she moved from a country that is like a hometown to her for better education, she came here with plans to attend her dream university—The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. To achieve this goal, she will need to positively impact her community. At first, this sounded impossible, however, she has found many new opportunities to affect change. These opportunities have turned her dream into a realistic goal. Eman wants to show her interest in helping others since it’s been a huge part of her life and transformed her into who she is today. She decided to become a Youth Ambassador because she would like to use her abilities to make the world a kinder place.

Emma Goss

Emma G YAEmma Goss is 15 years old and is a freshman at Johnson High School in Flowery Branch, Georgia. She is very determined and eager to end bullying and is honored to be a Youth Ambassador for the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Emma has a special needs brother, Ben, who is one of the many reasons why she applied to become a Youth Ambassador. She helps her family take care of her brother and she has a strong passion for caring for others. Emma is also very passionate about being a leader in her community and, along with being a Youth Ambassador, is involved with a leadership program called Georgia 4-H where she participates in many community service projects throughout the year. In her free time, Emma enjoys painting, writing, photography, and kayaking. She also likes to connect with new people and share experiences with others. One of Emma’s many aspirations is to go to college at Emory University and become a prosecution lawyer or a forensic psychologist.

Gabrielle Busi
Gabi YA

Gabrielle Busi is a Junior at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. She enjoys adventures and traveling to exotic places, while also adoring outdoors because of her experiences attending and working at a sleepaway camp each summer. In addition, playing sports is a thrilling outlet for her. Gabi’s friends describe her as humorous, friendly, optimistic, independent, and extraordinarily passionate. As the independent teen that she is, Gabrielle hopes to collaborate with other Youth Ambassadors to make her school environment mentally, physically, and emotionally safer. Gabrielle aspires to graduate from a pristine college and pursue a career in medical science. Science and medicine have always been a passion of hers due to a strong desire to advocate for communities and children in order to change the world. Gabrielle expresses her passion for change through leadership in school clubs and activities. To name a few, she serves as Secretary of the Suicide Awareness Prevention Club, Junior Captian for her Girls Varsity Lacrosse Team, a Holocaust Memorial Ambassador, and a member of the Psychology Club and Wishing U-Well club. She also volunteers for Boca Helping Hands to provide food for less fortunate families in her community. Gabrielle applied to become a Youth Ambassador for the sole purpose of encouraging her generation to take a stand against bullying! Gabrielle hopes that by joining Tyler Clementi Foundation’s advocacy work, she will continue to bring about positive change by discouraging bullying and teen suicide across the country, and hopefully the whole world.

Jaylyn YAJaylyn Morales

Jaylyn Morales is a junior at High Point Regional High School in New Jersey. She loves making desserts and crafts for friends and family, playing Field Hockey and Lacrosse, and meeting new people. For as long as she can remember, Jaylyn has been passionate about helping others. She has been able to do so through volunteering as a member of organizations such as Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) and Peers Rejoicing In a Drug-Free Environment (PRIDE) at her school. However, Jaylyn wanted to be a part of something much bigger than just her school. The Tyler Clementi Foundation offers Jaylyn an amazing opportunity to spread a message of kindness and acceptance towards others in order to prevent the harmful effects of bullying. Jaylyn decided to become a Youth Ambassador to pursue these ambitions and to have a positive impact in her community.

Jeff - YAJeff Hafendorfer

Jeff Hafendorfer is a senior at Trinity High School in Louisville, Kentucky. He was recently accepted into the University of Louisville and will begin as a freshman in Fall 2021. Jeff will be studying exercise science with the goal of becoming a professional athletic trainer and coach. An extremely caring person, Jeff joined Youth Ambassadors in order to help individuals experiencing bullying or cyberbullying. As someone who has experienced bullying, he wants to encourage young people to reach out for help. During high school, Jeff participated in the Culinary Club, Kentucky Youth Association, Kentucky United Nations Assembly, and played several sports. Jeff is passionate about sports and is a loyal University of Louisville Cardinals fan and University of Florida Gators fan. He enjoys playing and watching basketball, football, soccer, and volleyball.

Joel Morales

Joel Morales is a 15-year-old sophomore at High Point Regional High School in Wantage, NJ. Joel is the vice-president for both his school’s S.A.V.E. (Students Against Violence Everywhere) club and for his sophomore class in Student Council. He is a Social Media Ambassador and Peer Counselor for his school, High Point Regional High School. Joel is also a part of the Center for Prevention & Counseling Youth Advisory Board and participates in Interact, Pass It Along, and Peers Rejoicing in a Drug-Free Environment (PRIDE) clubs. Outside of school, Joel enjoys filmmaking, cooking, and volunteering his time. Joel decided to become a Youth Ambassador because he believes that it is important to promote inclusion, make a change in society, and end online and offline bullying for all. After high school, Joel plans on attending college and continuing to work for a better future.

Justin - YAJustin Grossman

Justin Grosman is a Junior in high school at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida. His hobbies consist of playing basketball and cooking. He enjoys taking leadership roles in his community and making an impact on the lives of others. After discovering the Tyler Clementi Foundation, he found that the mission of the foundation directly aligns with his interests and morals. He joined Youth Ambassadors in order to encourage his peers to be Upstanders by interrupting and preventing online and offline bullying. Justin is eager to impact change by promoting kindness and inclusion among his peers. 

Karley Martelli Dobronski

Karley M YA

Karley Martelli Dobronski is a Junior at Cliffside Park High School who was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. From a very young age, Karley was introduced to mindfulness and awareness. Since age eight, she has attended the Landmark Forum four times, this transformative learning model allows people to become more mindful of the fundamental processes that govern how they know, perceive, and behave. As a result of this knowledge, individuals can be more deeply in tune with their own and others’ potential by noticing that they can think and behave in ways that go beyond their preconceived notions and limitations. Then at the age of 11, she moved to south Florida, where she struggled with suicidal thoughts and depression before discovering the Peaceful Minds Center: a place where anyone in the world can learn from teachings about their mind and what it is to be human in order to end their pain and suffering. There she was mentored and educated on subjects like awareness, ego, and meditation. This past September, she was hired as an intern for the Peaceful Minds Center. She joined The Tyler Clementi Foundation as a Youth Ambassador to spread kindness and awareness in order to help stop bullying in her community.

Lindsay Orellana

LindsayLindsay Orellana is a 15-year-old sophomore at High Point Regional High School in Wantage, New Jersey. She is involved with multiple volunteer clubs at her school like Interact, Passing it Along, and Pride. In Interact, Lindsay organized a toy drive for the Goryeb Children’s Hospital’s “Treasure Box”. She is also a part of the Youth Ambassadors Board from The Center for Prevention, located in Newton, New Jersey. In this organization, they work to promote health, hope, and recovery among all people by fostering a community in which individuals and families thrive. In the future, Lindsay hopes to go to school for either business or marketing, as they have been major interests of hers since she was little. She heard about the Tyler Clementi Foundation through her friends in Pride and decided that she just had to apply. She decided to become a Youth Ambassador because she wants to become a great leader for her community so that it can become a better place for people of all ages. Lindsay hopes that being a part of the Youth Ambassadors Program will allow her to apply her passion for helping others.

Maddie McGreevy

Maddie YAMaddie McGreevy is a junior at Pemberton Township High School in Pemberton, New Jersey. She applied for Youth Ambassadors in order to end bullying once-and-for-all. Maddie is very passionate about inclusion and diversity and believes in standing up for others as an ally to those who may not have a voice. This is Maddie’s first year as a Youth Ambassador and she is eager to discover more about leadership and being an advocate for others. She currently serves as the President of her school’s chapter of the Interact Club as well as class secretary on the student council. She has also participated in school musicals as a cast member. Outside of school, she spends her time working as Burlington County’s Leader for #Day1 and running her own student organization: poZitive.vibes! She aspires to be on the board of directors of a nonprofit organization that leads the youth of America and beyond to a better future.

Maya Slatoff

Maya S. Maya Slatoff is a native of South Florida, and you might say that her sunny disposition is a perfect match with the climate of the area. She is well-liked and respected by her peers and her teachers because of her honesty and hard-working nature. Maya’s extracurricular activities include dance, orchestra, robotics, and participating in civic organizations. Maya is the co-President of the Feltingoff Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE) club at her school, which strives to create an inclusive environment to help prevent school violence. Maya is passionate about helping others in her community and beyond. She believes in teaching and spreading kindness and trying to help others see that diversity is a strength. One special interest Maya has is in Holocaust education and in making sure that the lessons of this atrocity are never forgotten. Maya really enjoys learning and is an IB (International Baccalaureate) diploma candidate at her high school. Maya decided to apply to be a Youth Ambassador so that she can learn more about ways to interrupt and prevent bullying in her school and community. In the future, Maya hopes to work in the medical field.

Paloma Alonso

Paloma YAPaloma Alonso is a 14-year-old New York City native attending the Léman Manhattan Preparatory School. She began studying cello 7 years ago and has pursued her passion for dance at New York Theatre Ballet since the age of four. In 2017, Paloma joined the New York Philharmonic Young Composers Program. On December 7th, 2019, during the Young People’s Concert series, the New York Philharmonic orchestra performed Paloma’s original composition for orchestra. She joined the Youth Ambassadors program in order to raise awareness for the harmful effects of bullying and the importance of inclusion and acceptance. She hopes that her efforts will result in bringing about a positive change in her community.

Rakshit Sridhar

Rakshit Sridhar is a 19-year-old student from New Delhi, India who is studying remotely at New York University. His hobbies include singing, listening to music, playing soccer, and playing chess. He joined Youth Ambassadors because he wanted to take the initiative to help many people across the globe. As a student growing up in India, Rakshit experienced bullying in school and therefore knows the harmful effects it can have. He is looking forward to the opportunity to help raise awareness about these harmful effects of bullying and harassment, and he would like to encourage his peers to prevent, interrupt, and report bullying when they see it.

 

Sara Elkoussy

Sara Elkoussy is a 16-year-old student from Dearborn Michigan. Her family is predominantly Egyptian and Scottish.  She enjoys studying Business, Mechanical Engineering, and other courses in the STEM field. She decided to apply for Youth Ambassadors with the goal of preventing and interrupting bullying in her community. Through Youth Ambassadors, she hopes to connect with people who have experienced harassment and bullying scenarios similar to her own. Sara would like to prevent others from experiencing this pain and sadness alone. She admires the Tyler Clementi Foundation’s ambitious goal of ending bullying, to which she hopes to contribute by working to prevent bullying, abusive behaviors, and discrimination. After graduating from high school, Sara hopes to study mechanical engineering with a minor in aerospace engineering or astronomy.

Sean K. YASean Keiser

Sean Keiser is a 15-year-old student at the Sanford School in Delaware. He enjoys performing in musicals and plays at his school and he is passionate about all things related to performing arts. He currently studies and performs for both voice and piano. He joined Youth Ambassadors to stand up for kids who don’t have anyone to stand up for them and strongly believes that if acting with empathy and kindness helps others to do the same. He is a kind, empathetic and compassionate person who takes pride in helping others in his community feel accepted and comfortable. He looks forward to working to making his school a more positive place by encouraging his peers to prevent and interrupt bullying. 

YA YemaYema Kangaju

Yema is a sixteen-year-old from Cherry Hill, New Jersey who enjoys dancing, cheerleading, playing clarinet in her school’s lab band, volunteering, and cooking. Yema spends her summers volunteering at her city’s public library and loves being involved in events that occur at her church. She also enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, and having movie nights together. Yema decided to become a Youth Ambassador because she has always loved to help the people around her by promoting acceptance, compassion, and open-mindedness. Through Youth Ambassadors, she hopes to make long-lasting positive impacts on as many people as she possibly can. Yema is also proud to be one of the #Day 1 leaders for Camden County. When she grows up, she hopes to be a successful businesswoman and open a chain of restaurants worldwide.

ZOEY YAZoey Van Peppen

Zoey Van Peppen is a junior at the Miller School of Albemarle in Charlottesville, Virginia. Her hobbies include baking, theater, and looking at restaurant menus from around the world. Her favorite class in school is Sustainable Agriculture, where she learns about how our food choices can shape the environment. She is currently working on a project to rebuild her school’s 100-year-old farm. She is a member of the Friendship Circle Teen Leadership Board, an organization that promotes inclusion by fostering friendships between teens and individuals with disabilities through advocacy, Birthday Circle events, Friends at Home and Friends with Pens programs, and social media. She decided to become a Youth Ambassador because she has experienced firsthand the painfulness of bullying and does not want anyone else to have to go through that, especially alone. She wants to create change in her community and inspire other teens to be passionate about the goal of ending bullying.

Fall 2020 Cohort 

This talented group will be serving as Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors from September 2020 – July 2021. Learn more about Ryleigh, Brianna, Giancarlo, Isabella, Danna, Jake, and Alina. 

Ryleigh Bateman

YA - Ryleigh BatemanRyleigh Bateman is a junior at Columbus North High School in Columbus, Indiana. She heard about the Tyler Clementi Foundation and their Youth Ambassador team through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program that she is involved with. Throughout her life, she has always wanted to find a way to better the lives of other people. She has done this by volunteering at free meal sites, joining her school’s Key Club, and with other organizations. For the past two years, she has been a Youth Ambassador for her county’s Council of Youth Development. In this role, Ryleigh has helped organize community events and a week-long Youth Summit that promotes community awareness and youth wellness. When she heard about the Tyler Clementi Foundation, she decided it would be a great way to apply her passions: volunteering and kindness, on a broader level while collaborating with other fantastic people. As a Youth Ambassador, she hopes to implement kindness programs into her school and make people more aware of bullying and mental health issues. After high school, Ryleigh aspires to attend college and eventually earn a Doctorate degree in order to become a college professor.

Brianna Moreno

YA - Brianna MorenoBrianna Moreno is a 16-year-old Junior from Riverview Senior High School in Riverview, Florida. Since growing up as an Army brat, she was always the new kid in school every 2-3 years and consequently was subject to bullying. She has always valued how she dresses, talks, and carries herself around others; however, her peers did not always prioritize the same things. In the past, Brianna has been pushed to give in to peer pressure a lot, but she has learned to stay true to herself,  focusing on academics and developing self-confidence. Today, Brianna is an Upstander and does not tolerate bullying of any kind because she knows all too well the effects of bullying, harassment, negativity, and bigotry. Brianna likes to challenge herself academically but is also reliable, determined, and energetic about service and her talents in the band and student leadership. She is an Ambassador in  Girl Scouts of Central Florida serves as a youth representative in her faith community by attending regional conferences. Her upbringing taught her to value love, kindness, and humility, which is what she wishes to instill in her community. Brianna is very excited to be working with other Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors and hopes to continue to be a role model for those around her.

Giancarlo Trotti

YA - Giancarlo TrottiGiancarlo Trotti is an eighteen-year-old student presently residing in New York City. Giancarlo is attending American University’s School of Arts and Sciences in Washington, D.C. in January 2021, wherein he will pursue a music degree. Giancarlo is a saxophone player who has frequently used his music to express important issues such as civil rights, anti-bullying, and mental health matters. Over the last six years, Giancarlo has performed in the prestigious New York City All-City Jazz Band, the New York City All-City Marching Band, the Queens Borough Wide Salute to Music Program in addition to six different school bands. He has also written and performed solo pieces for several different fundraiser events. Additionally, Giancarlo has been an active participant in his local community soccer program, the Forest Hills Youth Athletic Association. Over numerous years with this organization, he has held many roles ranging from the Master of Ceremonies at its year-end fundraiser/awards night, event planner and organizer, and office assistant. However, most fulfilling was Giancarlo’s work as a soccer referee wherein he taught teamwork, cooperation, soccer skills, and sportsmanlike conduct to young children. Currently, Giancarlo is an Island Harvest volunteer whereby he assists in food distribution to the elderly, veterans, and children. Giancarlo is honored to be a part of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. Its mission speaks to him as he has personally overcome bullying and often speaks up for individuals who are being bullied, harassed, or humiliated. He believes that if people work together in movements and programs by pooling their strengths and sharing their ideologies, this societal problem, in its most dangerous form, can be eliminated. As a result, Giancarlo is eager to join this Foundation because he aligns with its ideals and desires to make a difference by being an Upstander.

Isabella Ellison

YA - Isabella EllisonIsabella Ellison is a 15-year-old high school student in Wilmington, NC, who attends New Hanover High School. Along with the Youth Ambassador program, Bella also works with TopSoccer, which is an organization that provides children with disabilities the ability to become a part of their community through sports. Additionally, she is on the board of her local chapter of the National Charity League, which is a mother-daughter-based program focused on volunteer opportunities within the community. Through all of this work, Isabella strives to help individuals of all backgrounds and abilities feel included and welcome. Isabella is also an avid soccer player, playing for her local club, the Wilmington Hammerheads, on their ‘04 Girls ECNL team. In school, she is a member of the student council, where she and her classmates work to make the school a better place for all students. Bella believes that the best way to combat bullying is to dismantle traditional stereotypes of the aggressor and target, and what that relationship looks like, as well as providing educators and parents with resources on how to stay connected to their students’ needs. As a Youth Ambassador, Bella hopes to create a safer, more inclusive space within her school and to make a difference in her broader community.

Danna Mejia 

YA - Danna MejiaDanna Mejia is a hard-working 14-year-old freshman student at New Tech Hillside High School in Durham, North Carolina. She has attended various schools and programs and has experienced both sides of bullying. Danna was part of Emily K, a college access non-profit organization in Durham. She also participated in camps such as Drama Camp, Basketball Camp, and Summer Scholars. As a Pioneer Scholar with Emily K, she tutored students from different cultures and backgrounds and was embraced by her students. Danna also participates in the Women and Math (WAM) tutoring program. She hopes to become a member of Scholars to College- an academic college-access program organized by the Emily K Center. Danna was bullied in elementary and entered middle school filled with anger at what others had done to her in the past, as a result, she herself bullied others and pushed everyone away. Her community helped her realize that bullying was wrong and that having a positive mindset was the best thing to do. Danna reminds herself that no matter how hard things are you always have to look at the positive side. Danna is proud that she changed her ways and apologized to everyone she had hurt. As a Youth Ambassador Danna wants to spread awareness about the harmful effects of bullying first at her school and eventually to all Durham Public School students.

Jake Summerill Bizzell 

YA - JakeJake Summerill Bizzell is a 15-year old sophomore at Marin Academy in San Rafael, California. Adopted at birth by his two dads, he is passionate about helping children caught in the nation’s foster care system. Starting at age 10, Jake served as the Youth Ambassador for the Heart Gallery of Washington, DC and Baltimore City, MD. The gallery is a traveling exhibit of portraits of foster children seeking permanent homes. Jake lobbied local, state, and federal officials in order to provide greater visibility for the gallery, and he also met with local celebrities to educate them on the issues. Jake joined the Youth Ambassador program to develop a student lead anti-bullying program at his school and then encourage other Bay Area students to start similar programs. When not cheering on the Denver Broncos, Jake enjoys hiking in the Marin Headlands and team sailing on the San Francisco Bay.

Alina Devian

YA Photo - AlinaAlina Devian is a 15-year-old sophomore at New Milford High School in New Jersey. She is very passionate about inclusion and diversity. She believes in standing up for others and being an ally to those who may not have a voice. Alina considers herself very empathetic and understanding. This is Alina’s first year as a Youth Ambassador and she is eager to learn more about leadership and being an advocate for others. Alina wanted to be a part of the Tyler Clementi Foundation because she has experience with bullying and knows how painful it can be; she would like to decrease the rates of bullying at her school in order to limit the harmful effects of bullying. As a Youth Ambassador, she plans to use her voice to make a positive impact in her community.

 

Program Impact

Tyler Clementi Foundation Youth Ambassadors prevent and interrupt bullying in schools across the country. Their actions create lasting change by raising awareness about the harmful effects of bullying. The Fall 2020 Youth Ambassador cohort collectively achieved the following milestones:

  • Shared the Tyler Clementi Foundation #Day 1 program with over 1,000 students
  • Recruited over 2,000 individuals to sign the Tyler Clementi Foundation #Upstander pledge. 
  • Raised awareness on social media with messages reaching over 5,000 users.
  • Founded clubs and local organizations with a total membership of over 100 students.
  • Created original content including videos, lesson plans, and musical performances shared with over 500 individuals
  • Visited elementary and middle school classrooms to facilitate original lessons and projects promoting kindness and empathy. 
  • Volunteered over 500 hours of their time toward interrupting and preventing bullying in their communities. 

This amazing group dedicated themselves to promoting #Upstander behavior each day. Individually, they completed a variety of anti-bullying actions by starting clubs,

volunteering in classrooms, organizing assemblies, producing videos, coordinating social media campaigns, and much more. Learn more about their efforts and accomplishments below. Keep reading to hear about the great work of Anushka, Katherine, Shreya, Jared, Melissa, Abby, Michael, Pelin, and Emma.

Youth Ambassadors participate in monthly research-based, interactive, virtual learning sessions on various topics including cyberbullying, effective communication, and #Upstander strategies. They also develop relationships with peers and receive 1-1 coaching for event coordination and production. They turn inspiration and learning into action by coordinating two anti-bullying actions.

Anushka Dalvi

“I joined the youth ambassadors program last year because I have always been in a safe space and have never experienced bullying. Reading the news, it upsets me that not everyone has a safe and comfortable environment. This is why I want to take an initiative to help others live in a positive community”.

Background: Anushka is a first-year student at the University of Michigan where she is studying Biology pre-med. She aspires to become a medical professional. 

Anti-Bullying Achievements: 

  • Created the Kindness Grows program at her High School in Troy, Michigan. This innovative program promoted a more positive school culture by providing students the opportunity to publicly share kindness and appreciation for one another. 
  • Raised Awareness at Health Occupation Students of America chapter meetings, through which Anushka educated young people on issues related to mental health and bullying. Aligned with her interest in a medical career, she is interested in how experiences with bullying have the potential to affect anxiety and depression. 
  • Produced an educational video series on bullying, kindness, mental health, and stress response. 
  • Influenced her peers through the use of social media by posting about the need for kind actions and #Upstander behaviors. 
  • Recruited over 100 of her peers to sign the Tyler Clementi Foundation #Upstander pledge.

Katherine Gelshenen

“I believe that the best way to prevent bullying is to begin teaching acceptance, respect, and inclusion from a young age. My goal is to help children build awareness of how to help others and themselves deal with bullying and to be positive role models in their communities.”

Background: Katherine is a Junior at Ridgewood High School in Ridgewood, New Jersey. Through a variety of volunteer roles, she has dedicated herself to promoting awareness of acceptance, respect, and inclusion among young children.

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Co-founded #Day 1 Reps of Bergen County, trained a group of eighteen Bergen County High School students to coordinate #Day 1 events and other anti-bullying actions in their schools. 
  • Co-founded #Day 1 Leaders of New Jersey and #Day 1 Reps of New Jersey, a program that works with over 60 students from around New Jersey to coordinate #Day 1 events and other actions. 
  • Co-created the #Upstander Challenge, a bullying prevention video challenge along with #Day 1 Reps from around Bergen County. 
  • Facilitated several #Day 1 Reps meetings and events that raised awareness about the harmful effects of bullying and the importance of #Upstander behavior.
  • Coordinated a #Day 1 assembly at Ramsey High School in which over 500 students participated in #Day 1 and signed the #Upstander pledge. 

Shreya Krishnan

“Bullying is a serious issue that we can address through kindness, compassion, and empathy, but also by exploring the impact of hurtful words and actions through art.”

Background: Shreya is a Junior at Discovery Canyon Campus in Colorado Springs. She is a musician and dancer who volunteers her time teaching these skills to young students.

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Advocated for anti-bullying policies as the spokesperson for the anti-bullying and suicide prevention campaign spearheaded by the Colorado Springs Conservatory. Through this program, Shreya spoke to over 10,000 elementary and middle school students in the Pikes Peak region. She also delivered her anti-bullying message to the Colorado Springs City Council and El Paso County Commissioners meetings.
  • Served as Young Champion Ambassador for the City of Colorado Springs, a youth leadership program, through which Shreya was selected to be a torchbearer for the Tokyo Olympic Games in Ancient Olympia Greece, the birthplace of the Olympics.
  • Composed and performed original music and dance performances for students that address the dangers of bullying and the need for kindness, compassion, and empathy. 

Jared Orlov

“I believe that my personal mission is to help others to the best of my ability, thus ensuring a better future for the following generations. I do this by preventing and intervening in bullying, working to end prejudice, bias, bigotry, and by raising awareness about its implications for suicidal thoughts and actions.”

Background: Jared Orlov is a 16-year-old social activist in New York City who hopes to become a kindergarten teacher and model behaviors that help kids develop and nurture kindness, which he believes can create profound change. Jared believes if children develop kindness and thoughtfulness at a young age, they will be less prone to bullying others and more prone to working to understand others.

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Created original lesson plans for elementary and middle school students about social-emotional learning and anti-bullying skills. Available for download here.
  • Volunteered at his Taekwondo Dojang to deliver the #Day 1 program and #Upstander pledge to over 100 students.
  • Taught lessons to younger students about how to be kind and supportive to each other, and how to look out for kids who feel isolated. He emphasized the value of cooperation and the concept of the “indomitable spirit” – when you get knocked down, you get right back up again; you may have a bad day being bullied, but hang on to your self-worth and keep moving forward.

Melissa Reifman

“Combating bullying became an important cause for me after seeing its devastating effects in the news, particularly in the form of youth suicides. Seeing kids younger than me taking their lives because of others’ mean words and actions broke my heart and motivated me to start making a difference.”

Background: “Melissa Reifman is a High School Senior from Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. At her school, she is Editor-in-Chief of the school newspaper, a lead defense attorney on the Mock Trial Team, and President of Rotary Club. Outside of school, Melissa enjoys teaching and practicing taekwondo, as well as volunteering with her town’s historical society.”

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Created an initiative called P.A.S.T. Bullying, which stands for Putting A Stop To Bullying. The week-long campaign included daily PSA’s (public service announcements), hand-outs, as well as an evening program. At the program, she interviewed Mrs. Clementi about her son Tyler, as well as Jenna Rose, who faced bullying as the result of a viral YouTube video.
  • Facilitated an anti-bullying workshop for middle school girls as well as made cards and bracelets for victims of bullying. In addition to preventing bullying, Melissa is passionate about her schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
  • Co-founded #Day 1 Reps of Bergen County, trained a group of eighteen Bergen County High School students to coordinate #Day 1 events and other anti-bullying actions in their schools. 
  • Co-founded #Day 1 Leaders of New Jersey and #Day 1 Reps of New Jersey, a program that works with over 60 students from around New Jersey to coordinate #Day 1 events and other actions. 
  • Co-created the #Upstander Challenge (below), a bullying prevention video challenge along with #Day 1 Reps from around Bergen County. 
  • Facilitated several #Day 1 Reps meetings and events that raised awareness about the harmful effects of bullying and the importance of #Upstander behavior.
  • Coordinated a #Day 1 assembly at Ramsey High School in which over 500 students participated in #Day 1 and signed the #Upstander pledge. 
Abby James-Vickery

“I have always had an interest in raising awareness of bullying, especially when it has to do with race, gender, sexuality, and religion. I believe that people deserve to be themselves without fear of what others will do and that kids should live their life to the fullest and be accepted.”

Background: Abby James-Vickery is a 17-year-old high school student in Hackensack, New Jersey. Abby is president of the Social Justice Club at her school and serves as treasurer of the student council and is a member of the Spanish Honor Society. She became involved in TCF by joining #Day 1 Reps.

  • Designed and implemented a two-week anti-bullying Instagram campaign in cooperation with her High School’s guidance department. Anti-bullying posts reached over 3,700 Instagram users and her stories were viewed by nearly 5,000 individuals.
  • Currently coordinating an anti-bullying digital design poster contest in tandem with her high school’s art and digital design departments.

 

Michael Reifman

“I applied to be a Youth Ambassador after seeing the amazing of the Tyler Clementi Foundation. I wanted to take part in their mission to stop online and offline bullying.”

Background: Michael is a sophomore at Northern Highlands Regional High School. He is involved in his school newspaper, A Capella, and Model UN.

Anti-Bullying Achievements

  • Co-founded #Day 1 Reps of Bergen County, trained a group of eighteen Bergen County High School students to coordinate #Day 1 events and other anti-bullying actions in their schools. 
  • Co-founded #Day 1 Leaders of New Jersey and #Day 1 Reps of New Jersey, a program that works with over 60 students from around New Jersey to coordinate #Day 1 events and other actions. 
  • Co-created the #Upstander Challenge (below), a bullying prevention video challenge along with #Day 1 Reps from around Bergen County. 
  • Facilitated several #Day 1 Reps meetings and events that raised awareness about the harmful effects of bullying and the importance of #Upstander behavior.

Pelin E. Cokuslu

“I have always had a deep curiosity for learning all branches of knowledge. I wanted to live out Tyler Clementi Foundation’s mission to prevent bullying by educating young children on the important virtue of empathy in my local community.”

Background: Pelin E. Cokuslu is a 15-year-old sophomore in Fairview, New Jersey. She attends Cliffside Park High School.

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Founder and President of Bergen Young Leaders for Kindness and Empathy (BYLKE). BYLKE’s mission is to put an end to bullying and discrimination by educating elementary school students about core values of acceptance, diversity, kindness, empathy, and respect.
  • Designed original lesson plans for BYLKE’s partnership with elementary teachers which focused on promoting social-emotional skills for bullying prevention.
  • Served as a program leader in the #Day 1 Reps program. 

Emma Balfay

“As a friend and ally to the LGBTQ+ community, I have dedicated my life and time to making the school environment a better place for teens of different gender identities and sexualities. Being born and raised in Texas, one of the most diverse places in the nation, but also one of the least accepting states in the nation, has become integral to my identity as well as my motivation for activism.”

Background: Emma Balfay is a 15-year-old sophomore at McKinney Boyd High School living in McKinney, Texas. Emma’s goal is to encourage inclusivity and diversity throughout all high schools in America. Emma first started taking action in middle school as a part of the YMCA’s Youth and Government program, which awakened her to the disparity in equality legislation towards LGBTQ+ people; forming her end goal of changing legislation in Texas to become more inclusive and fair towards all Texans. 

Anti-Bullying Achievements:

  • Founded Students for Diversity and Inclusion (SDI), which provides information, assistance, opportunities to students concerning issues of equal opportunity, microaggressions, racism, and discrimination.
  • Represented the student body on the district’s Equity board, advising on issues including curriculum and school policy. 
  • Served as a member of her local chapter of Diversify our Narrative, which works to bring more inclusive and anti-racist texts into schools.

Read more about the incredible impact the Youth Ambassadors made in 2019.

Read more about the incredible impact the Youth Ambassadors made in 2018.

#Day1 Video

#Day1 Across the Nation