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Open letter to high school athletes


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Dear Student/Athlete:

I am writing to you today to ask for your help with this very important topic. As a long time teacher and coach, I am saddened by the great number of kids in your school who are being mistreated and ignored. There are kids all around you every day in your school who are struggling to find their place in the world. They are being made fun of, laughed at, picked on, disrespected, and completely ignored. Most days, a smile and a hello from their bus driver is the only attention they get. These kids are eating lunch by themselves and they don't hear one positive comment all day long. Why am I telling you this? YOU have the ability to change someone's life. I'm asking you, challenging you, to "change the climate" in your school for all students. As an athlete, whether you deserve it or not, you are looked up to by other students. You have the ability to change another student's life by just simply showing a little kindness to those classmates who are struggling. By just smiling and saying hello, you will change someone's day. YOU have that power. You also have the power to be mean and hateful and destroy someone's self image. It is your choice how you use that power. Most kids in schools are what I call "takers". They think everything is for them and about them. Then there are the minority of students who are "givers". They think of others more than themselves. They "include" all kids, rather than "exclude" certain groups of kids who they consider different from them. They are positive leaders in their school and they make it a point to impact other kids in a positive way. I'm asking you to use your power as a "giver". I challenge you find the students in your school who are being ignored and say hello. Sit with them at lunch. Ask them if they had a good weekend. You will be amazed how much you have in common. Please, share my passion and change someone's life in your school. You were given a gift to be an athlete with confidence and self esteem. Use that gift to change the culture in your school to one of empathy and kindness. YOU have that power. Thank you for reading this.

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