Jesinta Campbell is this year’s National Buddy Day ambassador. Have a read below of Jesinta’s story in which she shares with us her personal experiences of being bullied as a child. You’ll see why she is proud to be leading the charge in celebrating friendship and raising awareness about the issue of bullying.
“I was brought up on the Gold Coast and lived with both my parents and my little sister in a happy and supportive home environment. My family is the most important thing to me, no matter what, they have always encouraged and been there for me, through thick and thin!
I remember the day my life changed. My mum had decided to send me to a bullying workshop. At the time I was experiencing tough times at school. I had few friends but I was struggling to fit in and I often felt lonely and excluded. I felt different, I wasn’t cool and I never got the invitations to the cool parties and the mornings before leaving for school were often filled with fear and anxiety at the thought of facing my fellow peers in the schoolyard. I was at a point where I needed a helping hand and this is when I attended the workshops.
The workshop was held at one of the sports clubs on the Coast and I arrived with another student from my school. We entered the foyer to be greeted by a bunch of kids from schools all around the Gold Coast. I can remember the feeling like it was yesterday - I was nervous, my heart was pounding and I felt sick in the stomach. I had no idea what to expect and being surrounded by a bunch of kids from other schools was not helping the situation!
Despite wanting to go home, we were ushered into the main conference room and our workshop began. Words cannot describe what happened next but for once in my life I felt the walls of judgment had been broken down and we were all sharing our personal stories, desires and aspirations. Those 3 hours inspired me to think differently. I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders; I had been given a perspective on my life I had failed to see before. I was in a room with kids who were experiencing similar things to me, if not worse! Most people opened up and shared their stories and I remember feeling like I was in a room full of friends and people who were there to support me. It was at this moment that I decided that no matter what career I chose or what I decided to do with my life, I wanted to work with teenagers and inspire them to see the greatness they held within them and to be able to live a life that fulfilled their potential. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to achieve this but I knew that was my goal.
From that day in 2004 I have tried to live a life that stays true to my initial goal. This was my motivation behind entering Miss Universe Australia. I was working as a model and saw the competition as an opportunity to get to a place where I had a platform to deliver a message and work towards making a difference in the lives of others. I am very blessed to be in a position today where I feel like I am living my dream and reaching my potential and through that I hope to inspire other young people to set goals and go after what it is they want to achieve in their lives no matter the circumstances.
I believe that when children and youth are encouraged to see the brilliance they have within and are supported by people who believe in them they will naturally treat others with kindness. If children and youth can feel empowered and supported then bullying will be eliminated.
I can now proudly say that I am truly living my dream. I have a job that is versatile and constantly challenging, I get to travel all around Australia and the world, I have had the chance to meet the most extraordinary and inspiring individuals and most importantly, I get to work with children and youth through various charities.
I am so humbled and honored to be an ambassador for National Buddy Day. I understand the need to raise awareness of bullying within Australia, I have experienced it first hand and believe that no child should ever feel isolated, alone or unsafe. As adults we have a responsibility to protect the generations below us and we have a responsibility to nurture them. Children are the future leaders of our world; we must ensure they learn how to treat each other with respect and kindness.
Everyone is different. It is our uniqueness that makes us special, through the National Buddy Day initiative I hope to help raise awareness of bullying and support children in appreciating difference and empower kids to care for other kids!
The kids that bullied me taught me strength, taught me courage and most importantly taught me that no matter what people say about you or to you, you can achieve whatever you set your heart upon.
Be a buddy, not a bully!