B.R.A.V.E. is a non-profit organization that tackles the horrific social phenomenon called "bullying". Lisa Berry, founder of Brave Society, drives the need for awareness, education, prevention, and intervention of this sickness at all levels of educational institutions, legislative bodies, and community organizations, faith-based and otherwise. I met Lisa three years ago at a Starbuck's. Our meeting was a chance happening, she had gotten word through an academic adviser that I might be a good person to talk with. It was a dark, clammy afternoon - perfect for the dark, forsaken, despairing topic we had met to talk about. We both lost our sons to suicide -the most unbelievable, indescribable, terrifying act that could happen to a child, your child. Hours later we departed, forever entwined together by a thick noose, a constant reminder that the sorrow we shared would never cease to exist, hoping that our last breath would free us from bondage and allow us to forever embrace our boys. Bent on keeping our boys alive; Lisa set out to share, comfort and educate our communities; driven to never allow this to happen to another child, she collaborated, spoke out and embraced all levels of the public. Lisa has developed and delivered school curriculum; responded to many parents and children's angst; assembled a team of professionals to address school policy, social justice, and legislation; and, created the annual BRAVE Anti-Bullying conference to codify her daily efforts. Lisa leads her organization to great heights. As a member of the advisory board, I an honored to walk in her shadow. Her words, her message, her efforts and energy has saved lives. We'll never get our sons back; but she may save yours.
Brave is a great program that is advocating for change. Driven by Lisa Berry and a team of people that really cares about students. They seek to change policy and prevent self harm that can be a painful result to bullying. Their greatest strength is the passion that drives them. There motives are simply and pure; help create a safe environment in schools. It's rare to see people that have zero to gain and yet work so hard. They are truly an inspiration!
BRAVE Society is a non-profit dedicated to the type of culture change that liberates individuals, by providing instruction and guidance on the nature of bullying, how it escalates, and how the bully problem is a product of our own making.
For it is true that there is a villain and a hero in each of us; and it is possible to call upon the hero in every person to make a peaceful society.
BRAVE offers excellent guidance for parents and educators to advocate for the help children caught in bullying dynamics need to break free, to inspire changes in our laws and education culture for promoting the hero in each of us, and training for youth about the fact that every individual matters and makes a difference in creating a peaceful society.
It is a privilege to be working with Lisa Ford Berry and the BRAVE Society team to promote the culture change needed to equip our youth with the skills and mindset needed to make a peaceful society.
Peer abuse or bullying is a serious problem in our schools and in our community. Bullies Really Are Violating Everyone (B.R.A.V.E.) Society is a wonderful non-profit that will not only changes lives, but will save them. Under the passionate leadership of a mother who lost her son, this organization brings passion, education, and awareness to peer abuse. This is a societal problem and one that everyone should be a part of. The BRAVE Society is the catalyst to make that happen, as everyone is touched by someone who has been impacted. They have several programs that address youth, parents, schools, community members and society as a whole. Through all of their programs, outreach, and education, the BRAVE Society will make a difference in the lives of our youth!!!
There are many groups who pretend to understand this problem, but few really do. Lisa Ford Berry is a person who knows the damage this is causing to our society. Some will call it "Bullying" but its more than that. There is a point when it becomes criminal violence and we must think of it as such. Too many people jump on a bandwagon to promote themselves (Lee Hirsch) or to make money (Lee Hirsch) by making a movie (Bully), selling DVD's, shirts and other items to simply make money off of the tragedy that has effected too many in our country. Those like Mr. Hirsch do not understand this problem, sadly Lisa does. Mr. Hirsch has become the face of this "Bully" movement, but the person that people need to learn about is Lisa. She speaks for us parents who have paid the highest price, lost the most and suffer along side her each day. Her voice is our voice, her pain is our pain, her loss is the same as our loss.
Lisa Ford-Berry, Founder of the B.R.A.V.E. Society, has dedicated her life by forming this organization after losing her younger son to bullycide. A tremendous leader along with her dedicated supporters, she has strongly advocated for positive changes in schools, provided invaluable information in parent support groups, and is lobbying for legislation changes so authorities may have the power to hold the perpetrators accountable for their behavior and impose consequences. It is imperative to bring to the forefront the impact that this insidious behavior has upon children. Lisa's mission is to advocate and protect school-age children bullied by their peers that can lead to personal tragedy and loss of life. As a nation, we cannot and should not condone abuse against children, as adults, we need to protect children, prevent further devastating outcomes, and speak up for children who may not be able to do so during their young, formative years. Bullying behavior in the young should not be tolerated, as these individuals grow into abusive adults entering our society. B.R.A.V.E. stands for Bullies Really Are Violating Everyone. Everyone needs to be aware of the epidemic and the long-term effect that bullying behavior can cause.
I could write entire novels on why BRAVE is important to people in general and to me specifically. If I could change anything in my life, it would be that BRAVE had existed while I was in school. I am a survivor of peer abuse as well. First grade through the start of eighth. Every day. I was stalked, harassed, and mentally tortured as my peers did everything from calling my house to spray painting my driveway to belittling any little bit of self-respect I had. There was the physical as well: thrown into lockers, yanked by my ponytail, and--in the finale--physically beaten at the end of seventh grade. I am now thirty-one years old, a successful photographer and author, and I still have moments where I am that girl again. I had to claw my way to self-respect and self-confidence almost on my own; it wasn't until the last few years that I finally knew I had worth. When I met Lisa through social media, it was like finding a kindred spirit. I saw the pain and grief she had used to become the fuel of her mission. I knew that I had to do whatever I could to help her and BRAVE save other kids from my fate as well as her son's fate.
I have been with BRAVE for more than a year. There is no way to quantify how amazing this organization is and how incredibly important it has become. As the photographer, I am in the sidelines where I can observe people at our events and I see the same thing every time: hope. I've watched parents weep as they realize there is something they can do for their children. I've watched other survivors step up to share their story and show that bullying is NOT merely a right of passage. And most importantly, I have watched countless children of all ages begin to have the light of hope inside themselves that they are not alone and there are people willing to fight for them.
If there is anyone who can find a cure for this epidemic of peer abuse, it is Lisa Ford-Berry and the BRAVE Society. I am proud to Be BRAVE.
Although B.R.A.V.E. Society was founded due to the tragic loss of Michael Berry, the organization has since provided resources and information for families struggling in similar situations. B.R.A.V.E. Society founder, Lisa Berry, speaks throughout the United States to address peer abuse in the school systems and provide actionable solutions for educators, parents and students. The organization provides tools and resources needed to effectively handle and overcome adversity, define and understand peer abuse, and empower students to say something and do something when confronted with bullying.
Lisa Berry responds to requests for information and assistance promptly and with compassion. She utilizes her knowledge of the community to provide local resources and is a fantastic asset in improving student bullying outcomes.
I have had the pleasure to meet and work with board members of B.R.AV.E. who are dedicated commitment people who care about saving the lives of youth at risk. Lisa Berry and her team presented at American Lakes and Jefferson Elementary school enriching students lives by sharing with them how to "Say Something , Do Something", when they encounter Bullying. B.R.A.V.E. provides a service to help schools, teachers and parents become more aware of what confronts this generation of children. We are blessed to have such an organization in the Sacramento community.
In just a few short years, BRAVE has had a significant impact on our community. Lisa Ford-Berry has taken a personal tragedy and turned it into a force for education and social change.
If you have ever heard Lisa Ford-Berry speak, you can't help but be moved. At a recent book signing, many of those listening were brought to tears. I walked away committed to be a little kinder and more empathetic to those around me. Because you never know how deep negative words can cut someone.
Lisa's message also has a certain logic to it. If 18 year-olds in the work place would be fired for harassing co-workers, then shouldn't high school students at least be disciplined for the same behavior? How are we educating high school students when we give them the false impression that there are no consequences to sexually harassing or screaming epithets at those around them?
If asked, I would tell anyone that I was not bullied in school. But I remember not feeling safe, feeling like I need to conform, but not even sure what I was supposed to conform to. I thought the biggest lie I ever heard from a teacher was "Be Yourself" because I knew that being myself could have some really horrible consequences.
BRAVE is now in a position of major growth. Lisa Ford-Berry is being asked to speak at events throughout the United States. I've been amazed at how BRAVE has developed since inception, and I am proud to be a part of it.
For a while I happened on to the BRAVESociety.org web site and was moved by Lisa Ford Berry's story and about her son who school thugs, in my opinion, bullied Michael to death and the high school administrators who turned their heads when Michael came to them for help were just as at fault.
At that point I had never heard of B.R.A.V.E. Society and their founder, Lisa Ford Berry but from time to time I would check out her web site and "LIKED" their Facebook page and read about what the non-profit was all about and what they were doing.
As a youngster growing up in SE Texas I was bullied from early on, not so much because I was gay because I think I kept that hidden pretty well. I was bullied because I was not on the football team, rather I was in the band. I did not play basketball or baseball, rather I was a swimmer. I wasn't a guy that was loud or pushed other people around, rather I was quiet, and reserved and read a lot. All those things made me different and I was an easy target no matter how much I tried to keep to myself.
Bottom line, I wish I would have had an organization like B.R.A.V.E. Society to look up to, to gain strength from, to learn how to protect myself emotionally from a childhood of being bullied both outside and inside my home. I know if I would have read some of the things Lisa has on the web site I would have gained enough strength to stand up and do something about my situation. If I would have been able to contact Lisa as so many families and victims have done I know she would have done everything she could to protect me.
B.R.A.V.E. Society is an organization that is saving lives year-in and year-out and I am proud to say I volunteer for the organization because I believe in what the non-profit stands for in their giving information and shining a spotlight on bullying, peer-abuse, and cyber-bullying and all the adults that turn their heads.
I cannot think of a more worthy non-profit to cheer on and to vote for on this site. B.R.A.V.E. Society is saving young lives and giving them the tools to be strong in the face of adversity, and through heartache and pain, Lisa Ford Berry is teaching all of us to love unconditionally.
Public Relations Consultant
As a director of a non-profit where we are working daily to keep children actively engaged in school, it is paramount to have as many resources available as we can possibly obtain. BRAVE Society is one such resource that we find indispensable.
Lisa Ford-Berry's dedication and passion is evident and her focus is to not only create awareness about bullying in our society but, to truly educate people - From school-room presentations to lobbying the political circuit and advising on legislation, BRAVE is at the forefront of a movement that will change the way we, as a society, deal with bullying.
My young son James 17 years old was being bullied in school via FaceBook I found out after Christmas brake 2011, and after looking for hours on line for help I finally stumbled on to Lisa Ford Berry. Her story was frightening and alarming and it put me in full throttle.. Since loosing my oldest daughter to a violent car crash in 2005, I felt as though I had no time to loose. After reading Lisa's story I was determined to be successsful by making Facebook remove the "fake" profile of my son and then immediately contacted our school. After a week of conversations (without my son involved and I made sure that he was totally removed from the situation ) the bully decided to relocate and the principal was responsive, after I explained what happened to Michael Berry. Since I lost my daughter to a violent car crash in 2005 by the hands of a new friend and young, teen-age, auto-racing fanantic, and have dealt with all of the excuses from professionals in this field;
I know a couple of things about BULLY’s:
They are liars…
They are cheaters…
AND they are protected by adults that are just like them.
Since "Facebook" was developed in my hometown of Cambridge MA and I was just becoming familiar with the social network myself...I took on this task..
I was able to contact Facebook and have the fake- account removed…but it took hours for me because my browser would not submit the report.
NextAdvisor.com, which publishes a Facebook identity theft protection guide was my answer. The site warns that “someone setting up a fake Facebook profile in your name may be a sign of even more serious identity theft.” It is a criminal offence in California.
If the victim already has a Facebook account, they can simply visit the Facebook "Report a Fake Profile" page and enter the requested information. Those without a Facebook account can ask a friend that does have an account to report the fake page on their behalf, or send an email to email@example.com
The guide offers six steps to protect against a fake Facebook page including:
• Limiting personal information on a Facebook profile.
• Aggressively managing Facebook privacy settings.
• Accepting friend requests from people who are known.
• Limiting "time and place" data posted on Facebook.
• Considering a professional identity theft protection service.”
ALL of the bullies profiles fake and real were frozen within 24hrs.
I quickly explained to my son James that this is a common problem on Facebook to try and deflect his bad feelings that were probably eating away at his self-esteem. Typical 17 year olds have a lot of angst and conflict in their lives already: SAT preparation, school activities, anxiety about the future, and peer pressures. Peer-abuse however is the limit for my tolerance level; I was horrified when I found that my son had been a victim of this peer-abuse, because of our families’ recent loss, I felt like it was another attack on my own parental control.
The teachers and the principal were aware of the menace in their school and in fact I had contacted the English teacher about the bully in the beginning of the school year. Actually the school was very, very slow about resolving the original issue of bullying....I had no idea how bad it was until I saw the "fake" facebook page. That complicity changed after I confronted the problem head-on...All I could think abut was Michael Berry..and of course my beautiful 18 year old daughter, Emily. The school was probably totally clueless as to how to solve the issue, so that is why I am writing about it now . Bullies are everywhere in our society and my daughter certainly had her fair- share of encounters with the “mean girls” at lunch time in her school cafeteria. I was familiar with the "Queen-bees and Wanna-bee" syndrome but this cyber-bullying was all new to me, A cyber- bully thrives on the attention he or she receives from the victim, so our first thought is “it pays to remain silent.” Incidents of cyber- bullying should not remain a secret for long – the victim of this abuse should tell a parent or teacher about the messages they've received and any and ALL real-life names they can attach to the senders. It is my opinion that the online actions of a cyber-bully mirror offline events during the school day. I don’t really know what the scars from this episode are for my son, but I know that my son was relieved to have his personal control given back to him. His 3rd quarter grades went up and now he almost wants to participate in school activities. This peer-abuse is a very touchy situation with a 17 year old boy because at that time in a child’s life the parents are all trying to allow their kids some room for independence. A bully does not expect you to fight back and the “old-school” ideal was to do nothing and the problem will resolve itself. NOT TRUE.
Following through is a great message for parents…I was too late for my daughter because she was 18 and we thought she had good judgment. She actually had great judgment but the boy who drove her to her death, obviously did not.
Remember, our children are our business, and the world we live in today requires that they be protected…just like the new Health Care Bill has a provision for “adult children” up to age 24...The message to parents and teachers is weakened in this world of liberty that is only for some.
Peer-abuse is not new but it is growing with the speed of the internet.
I love that B.R.A.V.E. stands for Bullies Really Are Violating Everyone.
B.R.A.V.E. is in honor of Lisa Ford-Berry’s son, Michael, and the other children who have suffered at the hands of bullies.
B.R.A.V.E. is for the parent who feels they have been left behind because no one cares about the plight of their child. It’s for the students who are the bystanders, it’s for the victims who need help finding their voice, and finally it is for the abuser who wants to change the course of his life and behavior,” reads the Web site.
Thank you B.R.A.V.E. for your work on behalf of our kids. So sorry for your loss, also.
Again, I love how you are telling your sons story and shining the light on Michael’s life.
Faith, Hope, and Love,
In memory of
Emily Jasmine Ranyak February 26, 1987***April 02-2005
(Vehicular Homicide). ...illegal street racing victim …