SUMTER, SC (WIS) - Lift up. Stand up. Pick up.
That was the message for students at Chestnut Oaks Middle School in Sumter. Longtime Air Force veteran and Sumter resident Lefford Fate talked to the students about bullying as part of the John Maxwell Youth Initiative.
Sumter's mayor declared this week Youth Initiative Week.
The kids paid attention to his message, too.
"All you have to do is just stand up and be proud of who you are and just help people out," said 7th grader Sheriyah Hicks.
"Just because you're being bullied doesn't mean you need to find a permanent answer to a temporary situation," 8th grader Emily Helms explained. "You don't need to commit suicide."
Miquela Wilson said she was the victim of bullying when she was younger.
"I used to get bullied a lot," said the 7th grader. "I used to get picked on because how I look and how my family is and they used to pick on my parents and that really would annoy me a lot . . . With my friends and family, it taught me that I don't have to listen to bullies and whatever they say."
"Anybody can be a bully. It could be your co-worker, your boss, even your parents can be a bully sometimes," said 6th grader Jeykeel Allee.