Yahaira’s Story – Triumphing over Bullying
“The kids in buildOn are really nice and never judge me. They never pick on me. I feel really supported by everyone in buildOn. They are not there to judge you, they are there to support you and help everyone and everything.”
– Yahaira Read
Yahaira Read didn’t always feel good about herself. As early as the 5th grade, she was being bullied and teased every day by both her peers at school and her brothers at home. They would call her skinny, they would tell her that her breath smelled bad, and they would tell her that she looked sickly. The verbal and mental abuse became so bad that eventually Yahaira just shut down.
“I was always the girl who wouldn’t talk to anyone,” said Yahaira, “It made me feel so bad. I would just go to my room and be so upset that I would hit myself.” More than anything Yahaira needed a friend, someone who would support her unconditionally. Then, Yahaira went to high school and met Stacy.
Stacy would call Yahaira pretty and tell her that she was smart. She gave her the strength to look at herself in a different way; she was Yahaira’s rock. Stacy also introduced Yahaira to buildOn.
“For the kids that I tutor, I’m the thing that keeps them going. I think I am their rock, just like my buildOn family is mine.”
– Yahaira Read
Through buildOn, Yahaira began tutoring 5th graders every Tuesday – students that were the same age as Yahaira when she began being bullied. She would help them with their reading and their homework. She would tell them that they could do anything they wanted to when they grew up. She was helping children gain the self-confidence she never had. The students also made Yahaira feel good about herself. Every time she walked in to the classroom the students would call out for her; they all wanted to be the one to get to sit next to Yahaira.
“The students are always so happy to see me,” said Yahaira. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s so fun. I treat the kids I tutor like they are my little brothers and sisters. When the kids are calling out for me, it makes me feel so happy.”
buildOn and Stacy gave Yahaira a place where, not only could she be herself, but where she could become someone’s hero.
“Being in buildOn helped me to do for others, what Stacy did for me,” said Yahaira. “For the kids that I tutor, I’m the thing that keeps them going. I think I am their rock, just like my buildOn family is mine.”