Uniting for change: Teen pushes for national day of unity

By Kamryn Guye

Charles Kolin, of Greenwich, Conn., is lobbying Congress to support Unity Day and to recognize it as an anti-bullying prevention day nationwide. [Photo submitted

After being tormented day after day by bullies in middle school, Charles Kolin, of Greenwich, Conn., knew something had to change.
   Kolin contacted PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in Minnesota in order to bring Unity Day to his school. And it was a success.
    Unity Day was created by PACER as an anti-bullying day. After receiving permission from the center, Charles was able to, as he calls it, “Charles-ify” the day, to center it around coming together and accepting others, rather than the overplayed theme of anti-bullying.
    “All schools have an anti-bullying day,” he said in a recent phone interview. “Anti sticks out like a sore thumb, and pretty much points the finger towards the bully. The positive energy of Unity Day filters out the negative energy from the bully.”
    But Kolin didn’t stop there. After the success he saw from Unity Day in his own school, he began lobbying Congress to create a resolution to support Unity Day and to honor and recognize the anti-bullying prevention day.
    Kolin has received support from both political parties, including Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Tom Emmer.
    When asked about his message, Kolin’s answer was simple — unity.
    “I think everyone needs to come together for each other’s differences, no matter what they are.”
    Kolin also encouraged people to become involved by taking the Unity Challenge and visiting www.unitychallenge.org.
    “Everyone needs to be more respectful of one another. Everyone’s talking and no one’s listening,” he said.
    When asked about his bullies, Kolin said, “I never saw them as bad kids, I never saw them in that way. They were just lost. If they got behind the values of Unity Day, they could change.”
    And he wants those who are facing bullying now to know, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
    “Things get better. I didn’t have a lot of allies. They did it in a really sneaky way, so there was nothing the teacher could do to stop it. Just stay true to yourself and things will get better,” he added.
Kamryn Guye is a senior at Williams High School and a Times-News intern. 
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