Teens organize 103 mile relay to spread bullying awareness

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Three teens with the Josephine County Foundation have put countless hours into a project to end a pervasive problem.

“Bullying is a really big problem in America. I think 49 percent of grades 4 through 12 kids are being bullied every day,” explained student Garret Marculier.

Project H.A.L.T. — Helping All Local Teens — hopes to spread the message that bullying isn’t just a school issue, but community wide.

“Cyber bullying has become a huge problem. It’s definitely grown in our community,” added Marculier.

They — with the guidance of their adviser — banded together six local high schools to take action.

“This is an issue that we can stop if we join together. It’s uniting, not dividing,” said adviser Chris Pendleton, executive director of the Josephine County Foundation.

The three students — with the help of students from the other schools — are running a total of 103 miles between the schools in a relay.

Starting at 8:00 Friday morning, runners are taking off from Grants Pass Hidden Valley High schools, torches in hand, passed from student to student.

Their message: If you see or hear bullying happen, take a stand.

“I know people that have been bullied and it’s just not fun for them and they sometimes don’t have the voice or the confidence to speak up and tell somebody about it,” said project leader Averie Richter.

“For kids, they need to understand that they walk by stuff every day, they see kids saying stuff and they just walk by,” said project member Sayge Pereira.

To start project halt, the three ran one mile from the Josephine County Courthouse to Grants Pass High. They all say they look forward to their efforts tomorrow.

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