“Say No to Bullying”
After Joseph graduated from high school, we discovered that he had been the victim of bullying and often suffered in silence from emotional, mental and physical intimidation that caused him to withdraw and turn inward. He struggled at times to find his voice and feel comfortable with himself and others, impacting his educational journey in high school and resulting in his dropping out of college to avoid being around tormentors from the past.
As one who was bullied, Joseph wanted to share his experiences with those in high school who may be the victims of bullying. He wanted to encourage students to seek help to overcome bullying and achieve their goals in school and beyond. To realize Joe’s dream, the Fund has partnered with No Bully.
Over the last decade, No Bully has become the nation’s preeminent anti-bullying organization, eliminating incidents of bullying while serving hundreds of schools and over 250,000 students.
The all too familiar story of the insidious impact of bullying on a young person’s self-esteem is something we saw firsthand with Joe. Joe was a creative and musically gifted young man with a sweet spirit and gentle smile that left a lasting impression on all who came to know him, particularly through his talent as a poet and spoken word artist. His life ended far too soon on June 5, 2015 when Joe passed away at the age of 22 as the result of a brain injury from a tragic automobile accident the previous day.
The Joseph M. Fannell Memorial Foundation embraces the holistic and non-punitive approach of No Bully, which supports students as the primary partner in building an inclusive community where young people thrive as they find their voice and place in the world. The importance of being comfortable and confident as youth learn to realize their potential can be found in the profound words that Joe shared, “I don’t know what it is. Maybe I just need to grow into myself a little bit more, but for the 3-5 minutes I’m on that stage or performing, everyone in the audience gets to see the real Joseph. Sometimes I get so into it, that when it’s over, I forget that I was even saying anything. I feel different when I’m up there. Like … that’s what I was made for.”
You can help others like Joe, to find their voice, by making a contribution to No Bully in honor of Joseph and working with the Foundation to inspire young people all over the world. To make a donation in Joe’s honor, visit www.nobully.org/donate.