Successful year for Bega student's stand against bullies

HOW old were you when you started fighting against bullying?

Get up, Stand Up and Fight is a Facebook page that was founded by Year 12 student Imogen Pittolo of Bega High School and Year 11 student Katelyn Jensen of Tumut High School.

“We thought it would be something that could impact on our communities,” Imogen said.

She and Katelyn work in conjunction with Riverina Headspace and beyondblue to create programs in schools they hope will inform, inspire and motivate students. 

The duo has spoken to students at schools about taking a stand against bullying.

As of June 30 their page has almost reached 1500 “Likes”, and its popularity has surprised its founders.

“We weren’t expecting it really,” Imogen said.

“When we first started the page, we were like ‘oh, we got 50 Likes’.

“In one year we’ve had phenomenal responses.”

Next week marks the page’s first birthday and Imogen hoped to create a new video for the special date.

“[The video] will be kind of an introduction to our stuff, because we haven’t done that yet,” she said.

Imogen and Katelyn are having an impact, as after they speak at schools kids comment on their page to tell them they understand their message.

“Responses like that are what we really look for, it shows they took in, and were paying attention,” she laughed.

The girls have been recognised for the work they do in their community, both having received 2014 Australia Day awards.

Imogen received the Bega Chamber of Commerce Community Young Citizen of the Year, which she describes as being “pretty amazing”, while Katelyn was the Tumut Shire Young Citizen of the Year.

“I’d like to say we’ve done well in promoting the stuff on our page,” Imogen said.

“I know it has done a lot for me as a person, as far as community involvement goes.”

Imogen has a busy life, as she is completing Year 12 and is a member of the Bega Valley Youth Council, but hoped to get the page running a lot more this year.

Get Up, Stand Up is now looking at ways they can implement the idea of making a teenager’s life easier, and creating awareness around older generations.

Expanding organisational personnel involved in the page is also a future aim.

“I’d like to get more involvement with those who might have more skills and life experience than us,” Imogen said.

Imogen’s Bega High PDH/PE class joined the 10km Merimbula Fun Run, wearing singlets with Get Up, Stand Up’s logo on it and she and Kateyln have been invited to the Dramatic Minds Festival in Temora where senior students talk about mental health issues before turning these discussions into 10-minute performances as a way to work through the issues.

* If you are experiencing bullying or depression, support is available by contacting the services listed below.

Lifeline  131 114

MensLine 1300 789 978

beyondblue 1300 224 636

Kids Helpline 1800 551 800

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