In her own words:
My name is Ciara Garahan and I want to be a Peyton Heart ambassador. I may be only 15 but I have been through a lot. When I was in about 1st-3rd grade I was bullied relentlessly. At the time I had no idea that I was being bullied until I realized later on that being made fun of and constantly put down is not what friends do. When I was in 1st grade it was when I realized that I liked school, I was a good student and I was smart, and that was why I was bullied. I was different, and I was studious and focused on school. When I was in 3rd grade I changed schools, not because of the bullying but it was a pro that came along with it. When I transferred schools I immediately saw a difference, people liked me, and I came out of my shell and I met one of my best friends. Up until now I used to care what people thought, but ever since I began high school I realized what people think of me doesn’t matter, and I stand up for myself and refuse to let bullies bring me down.
I heard about The Peyton Heart Project through a restaurant my parents and I go to every week, Humphrey’s Tavern. We are very friendly with everyone there so when we got these hearts we immediately asked why, and Margaret gave us a pamphlet explaining what they were for. As soon as I read through the pamphlet, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. The Peyton Heart Project to me is more than just raising awareness, it is a way for people my age to fully understand mental health issues, bullying, suicide, and self-harm. In the world that we live in today, full of bullying, violence, and suicide, we need more projects like this to help show people that it is okay to be different and that they are not alone. I want to be a Peyton Heart Project ambassador for every reason I stated above, I want to help show people that suicide, mental health issues, and bullying are not a laughing matter and that we need to show these people suffering from them that they are not alone.
Some ideas I have to bring The Peyton Heart Project into my community are to bring it first to my school and by hanging up hearts on the lockers and handing out pamphlets and suicide statistics to help show them how prevalent this issue is. My second idea is to bring it to my Irish dance school’s annual competition in June by setting up a table among the other vendors in which we will have hearts and pamphlets as well that we can hand out to anyone who feels they are interested, in order to help promote awareness among a different type of community.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my story and ideas with you. I have never told anyone about me being bullied so thank you for having a platform I am able to share this on.