Boston athletes are taking a stand against bullying, and Patrick Chung is using his platform as a Patriot to reach students who are hearing and witnessing hurtful words and actions.
The Sports Museum, an educational non-profit located at the TD Garden, has launched its updated Boston vs Bullies program which emphasizes bullying prevention. Schools, summer programs, classrooms and summer camps can enroll in the program, and the newest version increases its focus on cyberbullying.
Patrick, who has been involved with Boston vs Bullies for a few years, said that students are facing these issues daily, and if he can make a difference by speaking out, he will.
"People forget that bullying is a real thing … I feel that's just unfair for kids to deal with that. It's a real thing so whatever I can do to help that out I'll do it," Patrick said.
Boston vs Bullies assembled an All Star Team of athletes to tell their personal stories and speak out against bullying in all forms. This year's team is made up of Patrick, Red Sox Mookie Betts, Martin Bowes of the Boston Cannons, Andrew Farrell of the Revolution, Bruin Torey Krug, Celtic Evan Turner, Kristie Mewis of the Boston Breakers, Team USA Gymnast Aly Raisman and Cydney Ross of the Boston Athletic Association High Performance Team.
As professional athletes, the team has a chance to reach Boston students in a way that they can connect with, Patrick said.
"It's good because a lot of kids look up to you, you know, pro athletes or celebrities," Patrick said. "I feel that whatever we can do to put our word out that it's not right and certain things to take into consideration to try and make it better, we should."
Students who are seeing bullying, whether they are the target, the bystander or the antagonist, the important thing is to connect with them, he said, and encourage peaceful resolutions.
"I feel when you're a bully you've got a lot of things going on in life. If you just try to talk to them, be their friend and ease their mind a little bit maybe they'll come around. If you're witnessing bullying just still do the right thing, but still being safe by doing the right thing," Patrick said. "You can't just get into someone's bullying problem because now you've put yourself in the problem, so whatever you can do passively to try to stop bullying without having a physical or a verbal altercation then I think it helps too."