BY ZANAYAH PURNELL, AGE 12
I once tried to accomplish a goal, but I felt like I
wasn’t strong enough. I felt that I was going to cause
the volleyball team to lose if I joined the team.
I asked my best friend if he believed in me. We
talked for a long time, and I realized that I could
do anything I put my mind to. If God knows and
believes I could do it, then I should believe in myself
too. I imagined myself at the game and I knew I was
going to make the team rock! In our first game, we
won 24-21. The person who helped me the most was
my best friend. He understands me, and I know he
supports me, through good and bad, thick and thin.
He helped me a lot, and now I’m so proud of myself.
THE PAIN BEHIND
BY JULISSA PENN, AGE 16
I am a victim of revenge porn. It hurts.
Walking through the halls of high school during my sophomore
year made me feel like I was in some type of Netflix Original—
you know, the ones where everyone’s eyes are pinpointed on
the main character, who is dramatically played in slow motion?
Knowing that almost 600 people had seen what (literally) lies
beneath broke me. I swore that every laugh, smirk, and whisper
was about me. The pain was intolerable. I felt so alone and wanted
to give up on everything.
Someone very important to me said, “If you’ve hit rock bottom,
the only way left for you to go is up.” That was my moment of
truth. Here’s my advice to anyone who finds themselves in the
1. Forgive yourself. Do not blame yourself for what happened. The
person who shared the photos is at fault.
2. Surround yourself with people who love and support you. The
people who continue to be your friends after the “incident”
are true ride-or-dies. It’s best to be around positive people and
positive energy when you feel depressed.
3. Keep doing the same things you enjoyed before. Whatever your
passion or hobbies were before, continue those activities. Doing
what you enjoy is the best coping mechanism. You can also start
new hobbies. I recommend musical therapy.
4. Fake it ’til you make it. The way you carry yourself is important.
You don’t have to smile, but you don’t have to lay with your head
down in every class—even when it still hurts.
5. Decide to be happy. As the laughs and whispers fade with time,
reliving the past won’t get you anywhere. Forward is the only
direction life goes. Sometimes we wish there was a gas pedal.
Other times we beg for a brake. We can’t control the time we have,
but we should cherish every second, because sticking to past pain
will only make us lose sight of what we have.
6. Prevent it from happening again. Do not let anyone pressure
you into doing something that you are not comfortable doing,
including taking photos. If they continue to ask, they aren’t worth
showing your body to in the first place.
BY SEFANYA CHRISTIAN, AGE 9
Something that was impossible for me was riding
my bicycle. I kept falling. It hurt very badly. I
would get big scratches. My legs and my arms
would bleed a lot.
I was determined to keep practicing every day. I
would try not to fall, especially when I turned.
One day, I got on my bike and started practicing.
Suddenly, I noticed that I was riding my bike. I
couldn’t believe it. I was riding my bike! I went
faster. I could feel the cool air through my hair. I
zoomed to my dad to tell him the great news.