Saturday, February 5, 2011

Through the eyes of a bullied teen’s video saves a teen’s life

I first heard about Patrick Kohlmann in 2008 on Good Morning America. After a long battle with bullies at school and online, having his life threatened, and receiving a concussion which the Udall Road Middle School in West Islip, New York never even reported to his parents, Patrick reached out in a high-tech cry for help.

Patrick Kohlmann, then 13, was afraid to go to school because the violence got so bad. He was picked on, pushed and kicked and the death threats were abundant.

He was so upset and frightened that he told his parents and the school. After numerous complaints by Patrick and his parents to the school, they did little if anything to stop the violence.

So Patrick, created a seven minute montage video urging kids and teens to stop bullying! He posted it on YouTube attracting more than 15,000 viewers.

He even asked his school to show it to students there, but they responded to Patrick’s complaints in their own defense in a six page written document and sent letters to the homes of all of their students in their Long Island district.

That very day STOMP Out Bullying contacted Patrick’s mom and spoke with her to see if we could help. Ultimately the family moved to South Carolina and Patrick is thriving, happy and has become one of our Teen Ambassadors.

Fast forward to a few nights ago, Thursday night, February 3rd when Patrick called me and could barely speak.

His mother received a call from a woman on the West Coast who wanted to thank Patrick for saving her tween daughter’s life.

Patrick’s mom was a bit confused as Patrick was sitting right in front of her. The woman explained that hours before her daughter came to her telling her that she had a noose hanging in her room and something made her go to “YouTube” where she found Patrick’s repost video “Through My Eyes.”

After seeing Patrick’s video she realized she wasn’t alone and that there is hope and help. Patrick’s mom recommended they contact STOMP Out Bullying™ and seek counseling for their daughter, which one can only imagine that they sought counseling immediately.

Patrick, his family and all of us were deeply stunned and grateful that this young girl is alive due to his video. And it is our hope that every kid will watch it.

And my personal message to kids and teens: when it seems so bad that you can’t go on, that there is nowhere to turn, that you can’t take the pain and torment anymore – take a deep breath – think – go to the Internet, watch Patrick’s video, contact STOMP Out Bullying™, tell someone you need help … because there is hope, there is help and there are heroes like Patrick Kohlmann!