MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – Bullying has quickly become one of the biggest problems facing students, parents, and schools. It impacts students during school, and for many can have long-lasting effects as well.
It’s been a few years, but Katie Rogers knows exactly what it’s like to go to school every day when you’re bullied.READ MORE: NBA fines Miami Heat $25,000 for violating 'bench decorum'
“I just wanted to hide under a rock and never come out. I hated it, I dreaded it, and there’s no worse feeling.” 16 year old Katie shared with CBS4’s Nicole Maristany.
Katie’s mom Mindy grew concerned as time passed.
“Some of it was online, but most of it was right in the school. She was assaulted physically, emotionally and mentally,” Mindy said.
The bullying led to depression. Hoping to help her, Katie’s mom found National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment, or NVEEE; a local non-profit dedicated to helping families affected by bullying. Slowly, Katie started to improve.
“NVEEE has literally saved me. They know what it feels like and it takes one to know one,” explained Katie.
Founder Jowharah Sanders, can relate. In high school, she questioned her sexuality and was brutally attacked after coming out to some of her peers.READ MORE: Man faces several charges including pointing laser at BSO aviation unit
“I really did not think I would survive this attack. I was in a very dark place. I attempted suicide twice, I was hospitalized. I fantasized about dying,” Sanders described.
But out of that darkness, the idea to mentor both bullies and the bullied was born.
“Having experienced it myself, how can I, how dare I? I have a responsibility to do something,” said Sanders.
Katie said she’s learned a lot about why people bully and how to get out of it.
“The bully and the bullied, both need to get help in their own way,” said Katie.
To date, NVEEE has reached more than 3,000 parents, students and educators in classrooms across South Florida. One of those, Katie, is a success story that Sanders says she’s proud to share.
“In a year, she’s a completely different girl, I dare to think what would happen if no one was there to step in and listen, listen, listen to a kid and they will tell you what’s wrong with them,” said Sanders.MORE NEWS: Miami ex-Proud Boys leader Henry 'Enrique' Tarrio to stay jailed until Capitol riot trial
For more information on NVEE, click here; or call their hotline at 954-561-2626.