On February 21, the Springfield Republican published a long feature article on Krysten Moore, a 22-year-old electrical and computer engineering major, national anti-bullying spokesperson, and founder of a non-profit organization called Students Helping Instill New Esteem. She has spoken at more than 100 schools about the dangers of bullying. Bullied in middle school, she now visits schools as a spokeswoman for Love Our Children and STOMP Out Bullying to tell young people about the pain and anguish caused by bullying. Moore is also the current Miss Bergen County in New Jersey and will compete for Miss New Jersey in June hoping to advance to the Miss America Pageant.
The Republican article follows.UMass senior Krysten Moore is beauty pageant winner and anti-bullying spokeswoman
Published: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 8:30 PM
By Diane Lederman, The RepublicanThe Republican
AMHERST - Krysten Moore is a 22-year-old computer science and electrical engineeringmajor at the University of Massachusetts who also happens to be “Miss Bergen County.” That means she will compete for Miss New Jersey in June – the last stop before the Miss America pageant.
But Moore’s life is more than beauty and brains. It’s also about bullying.
She was bullied throughout her life and now she visits schools to help ensure that others don’t feel her pain. “I want to be a role model.”
She has been on The Rachel Ray and the CBS Early shows talking about bullying and has talked to students in her native New Jersey and is now hoping to speak in schools in Western Massachusetts as well.
Moore was bullied when she was in middle school because she was overweight. "Krysten wants Moore food" was one the taunts or “move it whale” another.
She remembers going home every day and “sitting home on my mom’s lap and crying.”
Then in the eighth grade, she started competing in pageants and in horse shows. “I took control.” She started to “do what I wanted to do, (an accepted) it’s OK if I’m different.”
But the bullying didn’t stop then either but continued in cyberspace, she thinks because of her success.
She said her family helped her and she wants to help others because “I want to make sure that nobody feels that way.”
“You need to be proud of who you are,” she said.
She speaks to youngsters of all ages. She believes it’s most helpful to work with young children to help them identify bullying.
Sometimes they don’t even know they are being bullies, she said. She helps them understand that if they are being bullied “it’s not your fault.” She also “teaches them defense mechanisms, how you can stop it when no one is around.” But not violently, she said.
While there’s a far greater awareness of the issue than when she was in school, the issue is still huge.
Hearing about the suicide of South Hadley teen Phoebe Prince in January of 2010 “was heart wrenching. I wish someone was there to off help.”
Her organization along with STOMP Out Bullying, launched an anti-bullying hotline, open 24 hours a day. That hotline has field more than 1,300 students calls and save the lives of 33 kids threatening to commit suicide because of cyber bullying.
Moore said she has spoken at close to 100 schools and wants area teachers and parents to know she is available in Massachusetts as well beginning in February when she returns to UMass. She just asks that a school or group make a donation the Make-A-Wish Foundation or another charity.
Moore said often maintains contact with those she has talked to and youngsters e-mail her with questions or advice.
And her not surprising her platform for competing in Miss New Jersey “education and prevention of childhood bullying.”
And while she had few friends in high school, her life is quite different at UMass. “I have a great group of friends (from) all different groups.” At UMass, “there’s something for everyone.” That variety “was such a draw to come. To contact Moore, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. (February 2012)