Delivering the presentation titled “Stop the Bullying,” Cass High School head football coach Bobby Hughes is looking forward to taking part in Rebirth the Role Model. To be held Nov. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the event will be located at the House of Liberty Church, 10 Womack Drive in Cartersville.
“I was asked to [participate] by a relative of one of the players,” Hughes said. “I happened to have had a handicapped sister growing up and saw that other end of [bullying]. I see how different cliques in school have the ability to make other people’s lives uncomfortable, for lack of a better word. I just think it’s a good opportunity to talk about exactly what that is, and why it’s so important that it gets stopped because of the long-term effects that it can have on the other people.”
For his presentation, Hughes will be joined by four of his senior football players: Payton Chester, Edvonte Curtis, Boo Reed and Dexter Wilkey.
“I just think it’s a good opportunity for them to ... learn to be able to stand up in front of people and speak. It’s stepping out of your comfort zone,” Hughes said. “As people who have been athletes for four years and part of various different teams, [they will share] how they have witnessed [bullying] at different places, not necessarily just at school, but in the community, etc., and just to see [bullying] from other kids’ perspectives.
“I hope [those who attend will] understand that we don’t live in the same world we lived in 20 years ago. Things that happen now are not always perceived the way they may be intended. They need to be real cautious about things that you do and say, because they can be misinterpreted and put you in a bad situation. So I want to talk about what bullying is, but then I also want to talk about how kids being kids — sometimes they can be labeled as being a bully and it not necessarily be [the] case.”
In the past several years, Rebirth the Role Model has broadened its audience base. While the initial conference was geared to women ages 10 to 76, the upcoming event is open to everyone, 10 and older.
“The overall purpose of Rebirth the Role Model is to create mentors and positive role models in the Bartow County community and surrounding areas,” said event founder Methany Thornton. “Reflecting on the shows that are on TV and how they affect our youth, I felt an incredible burden to make a difference in the lives of all of the people I meet. I realized I was already teaching a lesson every time I got out of the bed, without having to say a word.
“After sharing my vision, I was encouraged to move forward by my pastor, Bishop Pete Smith, and the conference was birthed. I prayed, God spoke, and here we are today, coming up on the third conference. When the conference started, we ministered to about 100 girls and women whose ages ranged from 10 to 76 years old. Since then, we have added men and boys to the mix to make this a community effort. This is a free conference, because I don’t want financial stress to be the cause of someone not attending; however, a freewill offering will be received.”
Along with Hughes, the following individuals will speak at the conference: Georgette Watkins Bray, founder of WOW ministries; Bernita Lammons, Kingdom Armies; Darnell Jackson Jr. aka Jac Rip, Christian rap artist and owner of Christian Advisory Apparel, “Social Media Safety”; Gloria Linley, Covenant Christian Ministries Academy, “Laughing at Life”; House of Liberty Church Pastor Jean Smith and Lady Marla Coombs, Greater New Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, “It Starts at Home”; Erin Jones, LMSW, Georgia Hope and e.Piphany Concepts, “A Healthy Me”; Courtney Aiken, ShowKase Entertainment, “Finding Your Purpose”; Liberty Defined Ministries Pastor Sylvia Brodie and Cartersville Janitorial owner Tony Wilkins, “What Can I Do for Others” adult session; Demarcus Simmons, Shorter University psychology major, “What Can I Do for Others” youth session; and Vonsha Collins, Tallatoona Head Start, “Prayer Will Fix It.”
“The theme this year is ‘It Starts at Home,’” Thornton said. “Everything that our children learn and mimic begins at home. Of course there are teachers, pastors and community individuals that help to build us, but the bulk of who we are began at home. We want to make sure that we are building solid foundations in our homes that will cause our youth to be responsible and respectful in their homes, schools and community.
“... My goal is for the attendees to walk away from the conference confident that they can and will change someone’s life for the better. I want the attendees to know that someone is always watching what we say, how we react to things, how we behave in the face of adversity.”