Cas and I met Joe the biker in April 2011 at a conference we attended in New York. Out of the hundreds of people in attendance, Joe immediately stood out. He was dressed in biker gear, all leathers and a bandanna, yet he was soft spoken, kind and quiet. He was the walking definition of ‘gentle giant’.
I immediately connected with Joe when I heard his work and passion was to educate kids on bullying, and to put a stop to bullying in schools. Having been bullied myself both in school and the workplace; I know how damaging those insults can be. I was lucky enough to have a loving supporting family to help me through, but many kids do not share the burden of bullying with their family; they carry the fear alone.
Joe educates school kids from K-12 in a somewhat unique way. He attends schools around the country dressed up as "Joe the Biker" a character he developed through trial and error. When he first started performing to schools he sang country music to the kids, and quickly noticed his performances were not getting the children’s attention. That's when Joe transformed and began communicating his meaningful messages in a rap performance. This got their attention.
As Joe described his personal success stories of children being empowered, changing their path and of bullies rethinking their actions tears rolled down his tough biker cheeks. It was clear to me how important the work he does is and the impact he will have, not only on these kid's childhoods, but also on their lives as adults.
Cooei just made a donation to help ensure Joe can get to his goal of reaching 80,000 students this school year. If you would like to help Joe too, on the last day of Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, your donation will go to travel expenses and various handouts given to the kids to create a lasting memory and impact. www.yubbiefoundation.org
Joe may have been called "Yubbie" as a kid, but this was not in vein. He has turned his bad experience and history with bullying, into a positive mission of hope for children being bullied today.